When I see a story, sometimes I have to bait the author just to see what they do.
Not bait as in harass. Bait as in say something to them because I am morbidly curious as to how they’ll take it or what they’ll say back. Usually it’s an honest reply to something offensive or gut-clenchingly irritating they have done.
As seen on Fanfiction.Net, a terrible summary:
"The two preteens Link And Juno try to rescue Link’s sister Aryll from the Foresaken Fortress. Crazy things happen along the way. LinkXOC Don’t Like It, Don’t Read It. I don’t wanna hear your bitchfit."
WARNING: I did not read this fanfiction, I was repulsed by the final words of the summary. However, I rarely see anybody insult readers in the summary, so I decided to try and give her some criticism and see how she’d take it. This doesn’t mean I have to be a jerk, it just means that I don’t have to praise her for no reason, and I am very allowed to call her out:
Before you read this review, I want you to know that I did not read your fanfiction. Do not tell me to read it. Do not tell me to care. Do not tell me to be nice.
Do you like to hear all of those ‘do nots?’ No? Well, demanding people on the front page to give you praise or not say anything at all comes off like that too. I have no doubt that you are a perfectly nice person, but pre-emptively insulting your would-be readers is not a way to get them to like your story, much less think you are a pleasant person to be around. Once you stop calling any criticism I may have of your story a ‘bitchfit,’ then maybe I’ll read it.
But until then, I apologize. I can’t read this.
Don’t dismiss this as a flame. I’ve been around the block, I’ve been writing more than seven years. It hurts to get a review that doesn’t make you feel happy, I know. But, bluntly, it hurts less if you grow up, and eventually those reviews turn into the greatest tools you could possibly get in making your story better and more entertaining for people to read.
And I am pretty sure you want that. And you don’t think people giving you negative feedback is bitching. And that you aren’t an unpleasant person who doesn’t come here for push-button-get-self-esteem. You’re probably nice.
Please prove it. Don’t dismiss us as bitchers and moaners. Some of us care about you and want you to grow.
I thought this was a good mix of stern criticism and gentle coaxing, as she clearly demonstrated an inability to take criticism in her summary. I waited for her reply, hoping that she’d take it well, wondering what she was like as a person and wondering how she’d come off.
I shouldn’t have wondered:
LolKay. And If You Didn’t Read It, I Feel Like You Should Have Sent Me This As A PM. You Shouldn’t Be THAT Irritated About Something I Put In MY Summary For MY Story. XD I Just Don’t Like People To Be Kind Of Mean / Offensive When They Give Me Reviews. I’m Very Sensetive. On Top Of That, I Never Said That I ONLY Wanted Praise. I Also Said That Constrictive Critisism Is Welcomed. I Just Don’t Want Flamers. But Still, You’re Telling Me To Grow Up, But You, Miss, Is The One Who Should “Grow Up.” There Are Plenty Of People Out There Who Say “Don’t Like, Don’t Read” At The Beginning Of Their Stories. And If You Decide To Keep Bugging Me, I’ll Have To Block You About Something I Wanted, I’ll Just Block You. It’s That Simple.
Nope, why did I expect anything less? I on principle do my best never to judge others. That’s why I contact them and wait and see how they reply before I form an opinion. But it kills me when somebody like this proves my exact point, is totally unaware, displays the qualities that Idesperately did not want to give them.
Strike one, capitalizing every word. Strike two, poor spelling and grammar when not pressured to publish (rather than showing the respect for someone who took time out of their day to try and give you advice by maybe talking to them with equal effort exchange). Strike three, using the ‘you told me to be more mature WELL YOU’RE THE IMMATURE ONE’ defense. Strike four, expecting others to care how sensitive you are and treat you differently (It’s a sad truth: being evaluated in a new skill, including writing, WILL hurt your feelings! Life is hard!). Strike five: claiming that just because other people say something, it’s obviously the wisest course of action without question. Strike six: threatening someone with a block for giving advice that’s less than sunshine and rainbows. Strike seven: thinking being able to block people is a way to feel powerful and thus threaten others.
I forgive this person. From the above shenanigans, I conclude that this person is probably young. They probably don’t know better. And it’s not condescending to say; it takes time to be able to take criticism. It took me a long time. I still feel sad when someone doesn’t like my story.
But to get back to the beginning, the indicator of her attitude was there all along, and I called it out at the start. The idea that criticism is a bitchfit.
It’s not. It’s really not. That’s an attitude that sets one up to dismiss criticism and the critic even before they’ve said a single word. Which is a shame, because the critic is the single best friend of the writer. They tell you what you need.
Yes there will be people who bitch and moan at you. Yes, there will be flamers and trolls and mean people and even critics that aren’t very goodat being critics. But rejecting all of them for fear of sometimes feeling bad is a terrible mindset all-too-common to fandom, and one that I wish would go away.
- ashensteel likes this