Monday, February 7, 2011

Play Nice!

One of my goals this writing year was to become more active in the online writing community, to connect with and mutually support other writers.   I've had a blast visiting other writer’s sites, seeing what they are working on and what their writing goals are.  I particularly love when they post excerpts from their WIP’s, better yet when they post multiple revisions of the same scenes showing their growth as a writer. But, I always cringe when I hit the comment section.  Without a doubt, I come across at least one blog post a day where someone has left a comment about the author's WIP that is less than encouraging.

I have writing skin like an armadillo, mostly because I grown comfortable with my style, have developed the ability to filter out unhelpful comments, and have an amazing group of writing friends to bounce those crazy comments off of.   That said, it takes an enormous leap of faith to put yourself out there, open yourself up for comments on something you are writing.  As writers ourselves, I think we should commend their efforts, give them a well-deserved pat on the back, and point out the positives in the scenes they have chosen to share.

Now I know a lot of people may believe otherwise, that if you post a snippet of your WIP then you should expect criticism in return.  But folks, there is a huge difference between constructive criticism and discouraging remarks.  Maybe it is just me, but I always ALWAYS try and find something positive to say.  

So how about you?  Do you think posting a scene from a WIP is an open invitation for commenters to tear down your work or do you take the point out the positives road like me?  And for those of you looking to connect with other writers, head on over to Rachel Harrie’s site.  She is hosting her 2nd annual Writers' Platform-Building Crusade. It is a great way to connect and support fellow writers!


  1. I don't think posting a scene is an open invitation for a critique of the work at all. If the author doesn't ask for critique, I don't give it. Sometimes people just want to share and know if it's interesting and show how a favorite scene.So I'd see comments on her comma splices as unnecessary

  2. Well said!

    I don't see it as an open forum for critique. I think so many of us post snippets of our WIP's because everyone appreciates a nudge of encouragement. It lets the author know they're on the right track. If you can't offer that, it's better to walk away and not say anything.

    I only like to delve into critique in a closed exchange and if the person I'm working with has asked me for it personally.

  3. Ugh, I agree with you. Personally, if I had comments that were considered constructive criticm (always still in a positive tone, mind you) I wouldn't even post them in a public forum. I'd use the comments space to applaud their efforts and their backbone for posting to begin with. Besides, who's to say they even want my feedback? Good post and thought provoking - it's a good reminder of the impact we are capable of having on one another as writers:)

  4. You mean besides snarky right? I'm just kidding. I've always, always loved your feedback. You are funny and sarcastic, but always positive!

    Since editing used to be my profession, it's harder for me to be...well, me. I get out my red pen and I'm ready to mark up some pages. But I've learned I can use that same red pen to draw smiley faces too!

  5. I don't critique peoples work when they post it on their blog, unless they have asked for that type of feedback.

    If I see something I think they might want to be aware of, I might consider sending them a personal message with a politely worded comment.

  6. Some people are so mean with their comments that it's almost brought tears to my eyes for the person on the receiving end. There is no need for that at all. Criticism is to be expected if you're going to put up snippets of writing, but there's a big difference between saying "here's why this isn't working for me" and "your writing sucks". Writing is a difficult enough process without someone tearing you to shreds.

  7. If they ask for feedback I will give it and I always stay positive. It takes a lot to put yourself out there for some people and without that positive re-enforcement, they may not want to show their true potential. I love to show support to my fellow writers. Whether I like their work or not is not the point. It is how the story is written that matters. I always try to give encouragement.

  8. I think it's a brave thing to post apart of your work. I try to always find the positive in order to encourage, which is a very important factor.

  9. I agree, it does take a huge amount of courage to put your work out there. I've only ever put mine out in the context of blogfests, where we were actively seeking constructive advice on improving scenes, and I've been really happy with the advice I was given. Having said that, I have seen some people whose work received nasty comments, and I just don't think that's necessary (or called for). I much prefer to support and encourage, and leave critiquing for when it's requested.

    Thanks for the shout-out for my Crusade :)



  10. I only let someone have it when they ask me to:) Not on blogs. Not on public forums. That's cruel. Very witch-like. I don't do that. It's much better to encourage and leave the critiquing for their writer groups. Mean comments just aren't helpful in ANY circumstance. Compliment and Critique--that's my motto.