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Victimized by a Nasty Drive-by Review? Take Heart.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote Smith Corona Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 11:18am
I have been thinking more and more about the role that personality type plays in responding to criticism. My best friend is an INTJ and actually really enjoys being challenged and is more inclined to be suspicious of feedback that feels overly positive and may see it as flowery.

As an ISFJ, I find myself needing to put in extra mental/emotional work to absorb criticism and not take it personally, even when I understand and believe that it's not meant personally.

I think some of the unresolved disagreements in this thread could come down to personality types. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Kira Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 10:35am
So I'm new to this community, but I've done a lot of peer crit. In most academic/creative/literary groups, there are always a few folks who don't have the best skills when communicating with others. Writing is a solitary sport, and isolation does not lend well to practicing the social graces.
Many of us, with our creative brains that land us across a broad spectrum of thinking patterns, don't always have the ability to "read the room," or are not aware of the impact they have on others.
Most often, the folk that are all business, or leave reviews with nothing positive, are treating others the way they have been treated.
And while I'm a firm believer in "Don't let the bastards grind you down," and I like the message to new authors to keep their chin up when dealing with negative crit, I'm a little troubled by the repeated use of the term "victim of a drive-by." It's a pretty big escalation from getting an "I don't like your story/you blew my suspension of disbelief/this doesn't follow rules of the genre at all" to being the target of gun violence and murder.
Tough crit can be rough on the psyche, I'm not denying that. But likening it to a drive-by is actually doing the opposite of what I am assuming is intended--it makes the import of a few words seem bigger and more dangerous than they are--when the message was to take heart and not let them cause injury.
And yes, perspective is hard, when you're putting your art up in public--that's your creative baby--one wants to protect it from the harsher elements. But a good arts community takes all types--the cheerleaders, the fiery IDGAF types, the let's-all-have-tea servers and the hard critics--and no one here is getting shot.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (6) Thanks(6)   Quote Eggcorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 9:43am
Originally posted by Zelda Zelda wrote:

Originally posted by Opi Opi wrote:


I’m honestly not sure why you think this is such a witch hunt... So far as I’ve seen in this thread, no names have been named. As someone that’s pretty new to the forums, I certainly wouldn’t be able to identify someone off of as vague a discussion as this one. Perhaps you’re substituting someone in that isn’t actually the <heavy quotes> “target” </heavy quotes> of this thread into it, seeing as you mentioned a “her”. 

In fact, your mention of “her” is the most specific I’ve heard someone get in this thread about the anonymous “drive-by reviewer”. How that could be construed as a witch hunt is beyond me.

I think you're just lacking in basic morality. 


I'm going to summarize best I can, in an attempt to understand, but I really don't understand why anyone would want to leave after this thread.

What Zelda proposes  -- that a reviewer is being harshly criticized publicly and being told that their reviews are worth jack -- would be a very extremely upsetting thing -- especially if that reviewer did not know what was going on, had no warning, and was not aware of how their reviews could be taken.

We would all be horrified by that.

However,  the "victim" in question was notified not only by OP but several other people in private and in  a friendly way. Their response to them was basically "screw off, I don't care because I'm better than all of you anyway." In light of that response, the OP tried to let those sensitive to harsh reviews know that it was okay if they got a harh review and they should keep writing and that reviews only meant to bully others were not the standard.

In response to this post that was designed to reach out to those who felt bullied and make them feel better -- Other reviewers got worried that it could be them.

Now, the OP had some very specific examples of what qualified as bullying posts. So, I'm not sure why so many people who weren't doing those things thought that the post was about them, unless I guess they felt they maybe said something similar? Like if they mentioned they'd been published before, I guess they could worry that sounded patronizing in retrospect? I'm not sure. But AGAIN the OP tried to put people's minds at rest telling us -- "It isn't you. The behavior I mean is overt" And when a specific person was brought up (who are we talking about? I would hate to be them.) OP made clear the reviewer whose behavior initiated this posting had already been contacted and doesn't care, and also hoped this would put people's mind to rest that the thread could be about "them."

From this, a thread developed about how people tended to react to different types of reviews and why that was or was not okay. Some people feel strongly about these things. There were some miscommunications. For the most part it seems people have been polite and worked them out. Again no one named anyone specifically and were just talking about different types of reviews.

OF COURSE you're going to be upset if something doesn't like the type of review you typically leave, and people have responded to say so, and then things were clarified. However the whole point of this thread is that different people like different things and review differently for different reasons and you can take or leave what you get.

Though the irony of people being hurt because they received constructive criticism on how they give criticism (especially when the ones upset are the ones who are in defense of not giving gentle feedback) is NOT lost on me.

However, we're human. Most people on the forum are not here to hurt others, but to support and learn from them. That seems to be the main point that has come from this.

Anyway, leave if you feel that is what is best for you. Stay if you change your mind. The choice as always is yours.

But if you're leaving because you think someone is being attacked or the victim of a witch hunt -- realize that the person you're trying to become a martyr for is already aware of this conversation and had already stated they don't care if this is how people feel AND regardless the post was never about them specifically but all reviews of this manner. The only people trying to make it about "the mystery reviewer" are the ones who are worried they could be like that person, and who for the most part have been told their reviews are not the type of reviews being discussed and on top of it if they are worried about the effect of their reviews they most certainly do NOT have the attitude being discussed, either.

In essence, this thread said -- if you are bullied, take heart. Then people said, am I a bully? And everyone said, No, a bully does X. And others insisted -- but who is the bully? Are we bullying the bully? And respectfully the OP said, I talked to the bully and they don't care, but I don't want to lambast them so we can just go back to talking about what you should do if you're bullied? And people were like, yeah and let's talk about more nuanced issues with feedback too! And then Josh was like -- Good work everyone. And then... ? I mean, after seeing Zelda's response to all of this I actually went back, lost 40 minutes of my time, re-reading this entire thread in search of the terrible hate she described. Because -- God, no one wants to be a part of something like that.

I couldn't find it.

There are some grayer areas and some unintended consequences that make people uncomfortable that I totally understand and which are unfortunate BUT which people mostly handled well -- Mostly. Again, when discussing bullies, people did not use kind words. Perhaps they could have been nicer in describing a bully's behavior, but the OP did that and it only made everyone worry it was them.... I mean is there a winning solution to this? Probably in the future, but we can't take back how it started, and regardless even the OP has apologized for not anticipating the side effects of this post, and EVERYONE has done their best to try and explain where they are coming from and that they are not trying to hurt anyone, only protect them from others who are out to hurt others.

And again, this morphed into a thread that is essentially people offering constructive criticism of feedback. Some people seem to really not like getting feedback on their feedback, but again, from what I can tell most everyone was handling it like reasoned adults who care about making a forum that is a safe place for writers whether they are just starting, doing it for fun, or seasoned pros. And part of making such a place safe means reminding people that we're all here for different reasons and value things differently, and yes, that feedback that is given with the sole intention of stirring up sh*t or tearing others down to make yourself feel good, is not going to be tolerated.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 9:11am
Originally posted by fioOxf fioOxf wrote:

Gosh.

Tea, anyone?

I, too, would be grateful for a cup. Two lumps please? Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Tim G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 8:54am
Wow. This escalated quickly. Zelda, speaking as someone who hasn't posted a word on this thread until now, would you like a hug?

And yes please to that tea, floOxf!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 8:40am
Originally posted by SEHBicycle SEHBicycle wrote:

As you read the critique a peer writer left for you, don't be hurt if you see a harsh critique. Don't question if you're a writer. Don't give up. Above all, don't hold back your work.

I've already IMd the reviewer; and it was not a person who reviewed me, but rather others. I'm posting here so that those who feel the sting of harsh reviews might not throw in the towel on sharing their work.

It takes trust to share your work with others. It's a huge step. It can be the missing piece in developing your own writing. We each need to find the writers who inspire us to dig into our creativity, who collaborate with us on our writing and push us to new depths as a writer, who beta read our competition story when THEY are in the competition. In my experience, there are many writers who critique in this category. They call out the good, the bad, the "meh," in our writing. They ask questions, they offer suggestions; they try to put their finger on why they had a reaction they had. You'll have mixed feelings after this review, but don't let doubt weigh you down. You ARE a writer. You had the COURAGE to enter this competition.

The next category are the quick positive reviewers, pumping us up and telling us how great the story is, how much they loved it. They don't tell us why, they speak in generalities. We all like that kind of review, but it doesn't help us push the story to its next level. Let yourself be buoyed by this review, but keep pushing yourself to grow as a writer.

Then we hit the dangerous reviewer. After we finish their critique, we feel like the victim of a nasty drive-by-reviewing. We're injured; we're bewildered; we're angry; and so many emotions. When we ask questions of that reviewer, we often get excuses that show this is a bully. It's a writer pretending to be helpful when discord and disheartenment is what they desire to sow.

Be wary of, and leery of, the writers who gave us this fully negative review. They love to use easy words, like "dumb" or "stupid" for decisions we made in our writing; they bash us for using a trope, when so much writing LIVES on tropes--it's the story we TELL that makes it a story. They may couch their harsh review as:
  • "This is the real world."

  • "I don't have time to call out the good stuff when there's bad stuff to fix."

  • "Look at amazon reviews. You don't see people calling out the bad and the good."

  • "I'm not the type to blow sunshine up your butt."

  • "If you can't take it, you don't belong here."

  • They tell you how many books they've published, or all the short stories they've had purchased, or their experiences with editors, as if their way of reviewing must be right, because look how far they've come.

Great for them, that they're in the stage where they're submitting. This FORUM critique is not for a story you sent to an editor. It's for a story you trusted your peer writers with, to critique with what we think works, what we think doesn't. We had 8 days, or 3, or 1, to write it. We can critique without being embittered A-holes.

When you're the victim of that drive-by-reviewer, please don't let the experience make you question whether you're meant to be a writer. Don't pull your story from the forum.

We are all at different stages when we enter this competition, and there's nothing wrong with that. If you love writing, of you've wondered what it would like to write your stories and have others read them, PUT them on the forum. It's supposed to be a safe first step. Often, it is.

Try your hardest to TRUST again, if you're a victim of that drive-by-reviewer. We're not all like that. Many of us have made our share of mistakes in critiquing, and we learn from them. We become better critiquers. This drive-by-reviewer type, however, doesn't desire to change. One PM exchange is all you need to confirm, it's best to back away slowly. Find a different reviewer.

Good luck to everyone in this competition; good luck as you continue to grow as a writer. And don't throw in the towel because of that bully reviewer. I'm starting this thread not so that we can bash reviewers. I'm doing it for affirmation. I would not be where I am in my own journey if not for the wonderful writer friends I made on this very forum.

You are a writer. And thank GOODNESS you are not that bully writer!

You poor victimized grandstander. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 8:24am
Originally posted by Opi Opi wrote:


I’m honestly not sure why you think this is such a witch hunt... So far as I’ve seen in this thread, no names have been named. As someone that’s pretty new to the forums, I certainly wouldn’t be able to identify someone off of as vague a discussion as this one. Perhaps you’re substituting someone in that isn’t actually the <heavy quotes> “target” </heavy quotes> of this thread into it, seeing as you mentioned a “her”. 

In fact, your mention of “her” is the most specific I’ve heard someone get in this thread about the anonymous “drive-by reviewer”. How that could be construed as a witch hunt is beyond me.

I think you're just lacking in basic morality. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 8:23am
Originally posted by Opi Opi wrote:


I’m honestly not sure why you think this is such a witch hunt... So far as I’ve seen in this thread, no names have been named. As someone that’s pretty new to the forums, I certainly wouldn’t be able to identify someone off of as vague a discussion as this one. Perhaps you’re substituting someone in that isn’t actually the <heavy quotes> “target” </heavy quotes> of this thread into it, seeing as you mentioned a “her”. 

In fact, your mention of “her” is the most specific I’ve heard someone get in this thread about the anonymous “drive-by reviewer”. How that could be construed as a witch hunt is beyond me.

I think you're just lacking in basic morality. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 8:13am
By the way, Nickofnight, no one cares about you either. Because you're worthless. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Feb 2019 at 8:11am
Originally posted by nickofnight nickofnight wrote:

I'm not trying to get rid of you. I don't care if you stay or go. I don't think anyone does. However, you seem to want go, so why hang around taunting people until your forum identity is deleted? Why keep stirring a thread that you apparently want to see die? If you want to leave, go.

Uh uh. Do I look stupid to you? Do I look like I was born yesterday? I take no responsiblity for how long this thread has gone on, but nice try. Up yours. 
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