So, I said I was going to write something about this...and here it is, your FAQ about what constructive criticism is and why it is important!!!
So, let me get started by saying: "Not every writing is 'good' or even 'great'." If I am being completely honest, there are stories that are laughable because they are just that bad, and some that have potential, but then are completely laughable because of how it was done. Now, this doesn't mean I sit there and give it a rating of 0/10 or tell the person how bad it 'sucks' or how 'boring' it was...because saying so would just make me a jerk (even if it is my opinion). Instead, I take the time labeling what a story could do better...I make a list of the mistakes I saw and how they might be improved to make the story more enjoyable and thus give it more of a flow. I give the writer tips to ultimately IMPROVE their story and writing in general...and this, my friends...this is called "constructive criticism".
Nothing makes me more angry than seeing a really bad pasta but somebody giving it a 10/10 or praising how good it is...
Now, maybe they truly did like it! But, most the time I can tell that it's just someone trying to be 'supportive' and trying to be 'nice'. While being polite is great, being nice and giving a really high score just because you wanna make the person feel good does not make you a great person...it makes you a liar, and it really hinders the writer (believe it or not). How is someone supposed to improve their work or get better if they are already being told that their work is perfect? It really gives a person nothing to strive for to better if they don't think they are doing anything wrong. And without constructive critcism, all bad writings would sit here with amazing reviews...while ACTUAL-paid writers (like myself) rub their temples and groan at something that is barely readable and extremely flawed. Then, when I add in my two-cents on how the pasta was not that great...I'm looking like a jerk among all these people giving it crazy good reviews, all because I am actually being HONEST and being CRITICAL for the benefit of the writer.
So what is the difference between "constructive criticism" and just being rude?
Going on to a pasta and saying things like: "I give this 0/10...thanks for wasting my time." OR "Not scary. 0/10" or just basically saying something "sucks" is just being a jerk and is just being plain rude. Sure, it's your opinion, but it doesn't help the writer. Especially if you don't even list what you did not like about the writing.
Constructive criticism is all about telling a writer where they fell short, and this is something that can be accomplished without being insulting. If you can't do that, then best you do not post at all and really take some time to reflect because you obviously need to work on respect and work on your manners. It shows a real lack of maturity when all you can do is insult someone without leaving something helpful or constructive behind in a writing.
Now...if this were a constructive criticism, the person would not be insulting, rather, they would give their rating and then list the reasons why they did not enjoy the pasta, and/or they would list places where they could see a pasta might be able to improve.
Examples of this include: "There were too many spelling errors and grammatical errors to really read it. I would really like to finish reading this, but these things really need to get fixed before I can fully enjoy this pasta."
"This part in the plot did not really make sense and felt really out of place. Why was (blank) there? They just suddenly appeared and it was never explained. I feel like the story would have been better if this were explained somehow or just taken out altogether."
^^ This is what being constructive is all about! ^^
It's about telling the writer/author where they went wrong so that they can fix these mistakes and make it better reading for everyone!
Again, none of those things said above as being constructive were actually insulting. They were just being honest. If a writer takes insult, then they should not be writing if they can not handle the truth and can not handle honest criticism of their works. Which leads me to my next point:
"Do not be a jerk just because someone did not like your story and offered some tips and tricks on how to make it better. They are only trying to help!"
Unfortunately the internet seems plagued nowadays with people who are overly sensitive and people just waiting to jump into the offensive whenever they are met with some sort of debate or critical review. As a writer, not only is it your responsibility to try and write something that people can enjoy...but also, it is your responsability to be mature enough to handle honest and constructive criticism. It's also your job to then take that constructive advice to improve yourself and your technique for writing in the future.
So, if someone offers you an honest opinion with some tips and tricks for improvement, DO NOT ATTACK THEM! They are only trying to help, and, so long as they were polite and honest about it (and not insulting) then there is no reason for you to get mean with them. It's all about respect. At that point, if you can not comment anything nice on the matter, best that you say nothing at all and just leave the comment alone.
But at the same time, know and understand that you can not please everyone. Even people leaving helpful advice to change something in your story might end up changing something other people actually enjoy. Either way, you will never write something that 100% of your audience enjoys...and that's just life in a nutshell.
Constructive Criticism is not hurtful, it's helpful...and the fact that someone even bothers trying to help you means that they have hope for your story and for you as a writer and that they really want you to aim high, get better, and ultimately: succeed :)
That's all I have for this blog. But, if there is anything else you would like to cover in the future, I would be glad to :D