Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

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    Default Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Suppose someone writes a story that attracts regular readers and it contains a certain element that he/she like in particular but most of everyone else doesn't like it. Both sides are very passionate in their arguments but when is the author rejecting criticism, blindly defending his/her "bad" decision, or just expressing his/her own opinions?

    This is something I've never been too clear about and I'd like to hear from others.

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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    There's a phrase that George Martin likes to use that I think is appropriate here: "Art is not a democracy" The point here is that what fans of a story would like to see isn't always what makes an engaging story. I'm minded to agree for the most part - especially with fanfiction, where the whole point is to have fun writing it. In this situation, I think it's fine for an author to stick to their guns and write what they like - though it would be polite to take constructive comments on board.

    There's also the "art" part to consider. Telling stories is as much an art as painting, music, or sculpture. There are no rules, and there is no "right" or "wrong", "good" or "bad", except in the sense of expressing whether you like a story or not. I don't see that the majority opinion had anything to do with it, regardless of whose opinion it is.
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Rejecting criticism is when you're loud and rude towards others who are commenting on your work. Sticking to your guns is when you silently ignore it and carry on doing what *you* want. That's how I see it, at least.

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    Reader and Writer Legacy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    It's your story at the end of the day. You should do what you want as long as you aren't rude or too arrogant to at least consider the criticism/suggestions.

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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    People tend to forget that the author is in no way obligated to listen to and/or follow everyone's criticisms and ideas.

    Indeed, if they did that, the story would be a near unreadable mess.

    At the same time, the author should not just blindly dismiss critics.
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    I think it is worth saying that sometimes people's criticisms can be completely unfounded. I had one incident on FF.net where one reviewer told me that every character in a chapter should have died due to the circumstances, and when I politely pointed out that they were wrong they got very annoyed and angry about it. I feel that the reviewer probably thought I was being unreasonable or rejecting what they must have thought was helpful input, but it cannot be helped that they simply misread the story and refused to accept it. I think there exists a lot of stigma about authors being annoying and never accepting their reviews, but I find that many reviews (lets be honest, especially on FF.net) really aren't that helpful and sort of require you to reply to them in a way that paints you as being bad.
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    I like what @Drakon; wrote and like what Ace touched upon too.

    I think it's important to keep to what you're doing because at the end of the day you will know (roughly at least) where a story is probably heading and can direct that through your writing. At the same time though, you'll likely not want to disregard what your readers are saying because that can (in some way) help with some direction points as well.

    Now Ace also makes an interesting opinion that I think touches on the subject of interpretation. Everybody reading something won't just simply be reading it, but also interpreting it as well!!! I love the example someone gave me about The Bible, no matter who you are, whether you have a faith or not, if you read something from that you'll interpret it in a way that is relevant to you. Some may interpret it for a situation that they're in, others may interpret it for a reason against faith etc. but each will have their own thought. No-one will just simply 'read' it!

    And I think that applies to every other text out there. People interpret it for their use and their situation. Take a text book for example. Teachers will interpret it for material in which they can teach and know what their students must learn for their exams. Students will interpret it generally as knowledge they need to accomplish an exam they have. It's the same information but will have a different meaning or impact to them. Some boring, others intriguing, some inspiring and others provoking passion.

    I think fiction throws this into a wider scale. It's created realities that people become attached and involved in, and most of the time have at least formed a mental picture of where things are going or how they see certain characters and interact with them. Therefore when they read something it will be to them interpreted in light of their relationship with certain characters and the plot line.
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Harryheart just about took the cake.

    ...

    *obligatory mention of Farla*

    ...

    *watches thread burn*

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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Quote Originally Posted by AceTrainer14 View Post
    I think it is worth saying that sometimes people's criticisms can be completely unfounded. I had one incident on FF.net where one reviewer told me that every character in a chapter should have died due to the circumstances, and when I politely pointed out that they were wrong they got very annoyed and angry about it. I feel that the reviewer probably thought I was being unreasonable or rejecting what they must have thought was helpful input, but it cannot be helped that they simply misread the story and refused to accept it. I think there exists a lot of stigma about authors being annoying and never accepting their reviews, but I find that many reviews (lets be honest, especially on FF.net) really aren't that helpful and sort of require you to reply to them in a way that paints you as being bad.
    To be honest, in 8ES for example, Alaska at this point should probably be suffering from terrible PTSD. But I don't care. That's not the point of the story. That's the kind of "criticism" that should be ignored. If people are constantly complaining about their suspension of disbelief being shattered then it might be something to consider, but in general do not change the story you want to tell to cater to your reviewers.

    Like in Lord of the Rings. "Why don't they fly to Mordor with the eagles?" BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE AN AWFUL STORY THAT NO ONE WOULD READ.

    Seriously, who would have seen this movie?

    If you think accepting criticism will better your story, then accept it. But ultimately, tell the story that you want to tell.
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    Harryheart just about took the cake.

    *obligatory mention of Farla*
    I'd like to point out that Farla isn't that good of a reviewer. Her attitude and sense of superiority is extremely off-putting. Aside from that, she fails to take into consideration exactly what the author was planning.

    Anyways, about unfounded criticism and complaints, generally, if multiple people point out that your protagonist is supposed to be the hero but acting like a villain or something similar, you may want to take them into consideration.
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Quote Originally Posted by Drakon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Elysia View Post
    Harryheart just about took the cake.

    *obligatory mention of Farla*
    I'd like to point out that Farla isn't that good of a reviewer. Her attitude and sense of superiority is extremely off-putting. Aside from that, she fails to take into consideration exactly what the author was planning.

    Anyways, about unfounded criticism and complaints, generally, if multiple people point out that your protagonist is supposed to be the hero but acting like a villain or something similar, you may want to take them into consideration.
    Oh, no, that was the point. I also dislike the fact that the crossposts PMs on her blog--if she didn't, I could maybe buy that she goes through all of this reviewing in the name of making people better; when she makes blog posts to poke fun at the chaos she incites, it becomes clear that she's not being productive at all. Haven't had the mispleasure of getting a review from her yet, but who knows.

    I suppose there's a thin line between writing for fun and still writing a good story. You can always go "yeah I'm just writing for fun omg you suck" and ignore things, but then you won't improve. Of course, blindly accepting criticism and changing everything to your reader's whims isn't going to make you any better, either.

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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Quote Originally Posted by AetherX View Post
    I would have seen that movie if it was about $3 admission...
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    I think I should have clarified a bit more; it wasn't a matter of realistically, my characters should have died, it was a case of the person thought my characters should have died because they misread the story, and they thought the characters were all casually standing on a flaming field that took up an entire building and were all should have been impaled with falling glass while being roasted alive. I pointed out that this was incorrect and explained why they were incorrect, but they got angry and tried telling me what I had written when I clearly hadn't, and they had a ragequit and went 'Whatever!' and ended the conversation. That was the kind of criticism I meant, which is entirely unhelpful because the person thinks they are right and refuses to accept they are wrong, but as they are the reviewer they can make you look like the bad guy. '.... is a total dick, they can't accept criticism at all!' I was merely giving an example of when it turns into neither of those three things, and an author trying to defend their work can look bad :P

    However, I do agree with what Aether and Harry said, especially that people who complain about realism in a story are just irritating. Like in 'The Dark Knight Rises', everyone complains about how unrealistic a lot of the stuff is, but it's a story about a man who casually dresses up like a bat and manages to defeat every criminal he comes across without every being arrested and recovers from every fight and injury within a few hours seemingly: how can you expect anything in that to be realistic? Those people are just irritating :p

    Also, @Elysia/ @Drakon: I may have asked this before, but who is Farla?
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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Quote Originally Posted by AceTrainer14 View Post
    I may have asked this before, but who is Farla?
    Farla is an extremely notorious reviewer/author on FF.net (specifically for Pokèmon). She's well known for her rude, condescending attitude, borderline (if not out and out) insulting reviews and tendency to post PMs she gets from people on her blog — as well as implicitly encouraging her blog readers to mock the authors she targets.

    As for reviewers who complain about realism. They walk a fine line. There's attention to detail and then there's no suspension of disbelief. It's good to have accurate details but you need to keep in mind the story comes first. Accuracy to detail will not save a bad story. Conversely, fudging or just making up details won't ruin a story so as long as you keep continuity.
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    Humans and pokémon no longer live in harmony. Hear their tales in The Poké Wars Chronicles: Tales From A World At War

    Cynthia once had it all: powerful pokémon, fame and hordes of adoring fans. But Ho-oh's campaign tears her life asunder. Now to survive this deadly new world, she must do the one thing that she never wanted: kill. Follow her trials through a world at war in Poké Wars: Downfall of a Champion

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    Default Re: Rejecting criticism and sticking to your guns

    Has anybody discussed the scenario in which the author really has something hideous?

    I mean, even then, sure, you can go, "It's art! It's my story, and I'll do what I like!"

    But I've seen a lot of people write a story (or, the first two chapters of a story), it's awful, a handful of people try to provide constructive criticism, and the author "rejects criticism" and "sticks to their guns," and can't imagine why nobody reads their fanfic.
    ...Idk. It's just that, when I read the title of this thread, I geared up for an author looking to be reassured that, though the story he wrote was receiving criticism, he was completely justified in ignoring it entirely.

    Well, matt0044? Yeah. You can go ahead and ignore it. Just like you can ignore the people telling you your plot is predictable, or your characters are one-dimensional. You're allowed to ignore all of it. But bear in mind that you do run the risk of having a product that nobody enjoys reading.

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