I can’t decide whether to be amused or aggravated. Right now, I’m leaning toward amused. I’ve noticed that on sites where lots of fiction gets posted by various authors (e.g. “Flashing in the Gutters”:http://tribe.textdriven.com/flash/), that there is always lots of positive feedback and very little, if any, negative feedback. The comments range widely in their expression, but they all hover around the same thing – ‘hey, just read your story; loved it’ or ‘great writing’ or ‘scary story; can’t wait to read more’, etc. Now this is generally good for the ego, a real morale booster, and can be high motivation to write more. A good thing, if you ask me.
Where I find such comments lacking is in constructive criticism. As an aspiring writer, I’m always looking for feedback that will help me hone and refine my craft. I warm to comments about things that be written or expressed differently that will make the writing and the story stronger, that I can use in future writing projects to create a story that is enjoyable, exciting, and interesting. The reason I tend to be mildly aggravated with positive feedback is that far too often it feels a bit like I am surrounded by ‘Yes-Men’, people who will tell you what you want to hear and who never tell you anything that will make you better. Granted a lot of writers aren’t open to constructive criticism of that kind. They take offense at it and feel hurt when people critique their writing – and in their defense, even constructive criticism can be hard to take when you feel like your completed work is already perfect. Yet, all writers have room for improvement, and we can learn new things from just about everyone who reads our stories.
I just that it’s just too bad that more people aren’t open to receiving a little bit of criticism because I think that if they were, more people would be open to giving a little, and we could all improve as a result. Me, I’m always open to feedback and criticism (even if it’s negative). I want to learn and improve, so if you ever come across any of my writing, please feel free to offer up your honest opinions about it, however brutal it might be. Nothing beautiful was ever created without first experiencing a little bit of heat, abrasion, or discomfort.