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Maintaining A Positive Attitude

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One of the things that show an author’s maturity is when he or she bites the bullet of my criticism and uses whatever points I raise as valid points to improve their works. Usually, that would mean for the author to go back to the original work that was once deemed ‘publishable’ and re-edit whatever has become a frustration to the reader.

After putting nearly a week’s worth of complaints from whiny authors, I started to become discouraged. Honestly, I was starting to think that I was the only author who was mature enough to handle negative criticism. Until I read these two emails from different authors, I realized that my inputs were well worth the investment. Not only has their responses pointed out the existence of an exception, but also suggested that perhaps there are authors who are willing to take their arts more seriously than I would typically expect.

Out of the multiple encounters from different authors, I would run into the typical ‘I’m an author because I wrote a book’ type of self-published writer. In any of these circumstances, I hesitate on the label altogether, seeing that they are not the kinds that would bother to improve their craftsmanship and accept that writing is not the easiest journey to begin with. These are the ones that I am after because the style of writing ought not to be read in the first place.

As for these two viewers, I want to point out that I strongly urge them to pick on their craft of writing and learn to accept that criticism is oftentimes the best ally in improving your work.

Parker

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6 Comments

  1. Fred says:

    What are your credentials for critiquing books?

  2. haparker321 says:

    You should look at my previous response; the answers are there.

    Parker

  3. Troy says:

    I thought it a fair question. Instead of misdirecting the person, you should just answer the question. When you answer with a vague answer of, “Look elsewhere” you completely shoot yourself in the foot. On sites such as these, you are trying to establish yourself as a professional. You also write articles on how authors should be professional, and be respectful of people. You would get much further if you followed that advice.

    I also would love to know what your credentials are as you have performed a critique of my own book that is somewhat questionable.

    • haparker321 says:

      Troy,

      I was not trying to be vague in any sense; I responded extensively on a previous post (see Countering the Critics: Simple Advice). Why do I need to post my response again?

      Like I told you in the email, you are more than free to discuss any key points and issues that you deem ‘questionable.’ I am open to discussing and reviewing certain aspects that may bother you.

      Parker

  4. Fred says:

    If you are to have a hope of ever being taken seriously, you must learn not to argue with those who disagree with you. It makes you seem immature and petty. First rule on any book review blog is to maintain professionalism and learn to take criticism. You can’t just dish out criticism and then not be able to handle it coming back at you.

    I think you should heed some advice from others as to your own abilities to critique work. All major critics say that you must read the entire book and never take on the reading of a book that you are predestined to dislike.

    You might want to look at what John Updike’ s rules specify:

    John Updike’s Six Rules for Reviewing Books

    John Updike, who reviewed “nearly every major writer of the 20th century and some 19th-century authors,” gave some guidance on book reviews in the foreword to his 1975 collection of essays, Picked-up Pieces:

    1. Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.

    2. Give him enough direct quotation—at least one extended passage—of the book’s prose so the review’s reader can form his own impression, can get his own taste.

    3. Confirm your description of the book with quotation from the book, if only phrase-long, rather than proceeding by fuzzy precis.

    4. Go easy on plot summary, and do not give away the ending. (

    5. If the book is judged deficient, cite a successful example along the same lines, from the author’s oeuvre or elsewhere. Try to understand the failure. Are you sure the failure is his or yours?

    To these concrete five might be added a vaguer sixth, having to do with maintaining a chemical purity in the reaction between product and appraiser.

    Do not accept for review a book you are predisposed to dislike, or committed by friendship to like.

    Do not imagine yourself a caretaker of any tradition, an enforcer of any party standards, a warrior in an ideological battle, a corrections officer of any kind.

    Never, never try to put the author “in his place,” making him a pawn in a contest with other reviewers.

    Review the book, not the reputation.

    Submit to whatever spell, weak or strong, is being cast.

    Better to praise and share than blame and ban.

    The communion between reviewer and his public is based upon the presumption of certain possible joys in reading, and all our discrimination should curve toward that end.

  5. haparker321 says:

    “If you are to have a hope of ever being taken seriously, you must learn not to argue with those who disagree with you. It makes you seem immature and petty.”

    Are you implicating that I should not respond to what you post here?

    “You can’t just dish out criticism and then not be able to handle it coming back at you.”

    I can handle the criticism, just fine. I already spoke to Troy about and the issue has been settled. Like I said in response, I told him that I already responded.

    In regards to Updike’s rules, I will take them into consideration. I do not think keeping these points in mind would actually hurt.

    Parker

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