Taking criticism on the chin

Have you seen my troll?Phil: One of the projects I work on has an associated web forum. Users can comment on the publication whether they read it or not as well as discussing many other topics.

Sadly, some see this as an opportunity to have a pop at the editorial team with wide ranging statements along the lines of “The last issue was a load of rubbish” or “I want a better magazine”. None of these provides any help producing said better magazine and are just posted to give the writer a little thrill that they’ve bullied someone and can get away with it thanks to being on the web.

I’d suggest that they then run off and boast about their cleverness to their friends but I suspect like most trolls, they don’t have any.

Being on the receiving end of this kicking, can be very hard indeed. More than once I’ve wondered what the point is and started taking more interest in job adverts. After all, you do your level best and the only response if from some pathetic individual holed up with a computer who gets a thrill from being nasty.

Nowadays you can’t avoid this, the only salvation is to realise that you are often looking at one or two individuals who just make a lot of noise. The majority are happy with the results and many do use the opportunity to say so or indulge in helpful discussions, something I really enjoy.

What does this have to do with writing our book?

Well, we’re working through some publisher comments at the moment. Happily, there is nothing bad and some of them have fired us up to write extra scenes that will enhance the story. This has been great fun and the additions have enriched the text.

Others though are more contentious. Taking criticism isn’t easy and there are a couple of suggestions that we aren’t so happy with. Not angry or upset, simply we disagree.

Being a writing duo makes this a lot easier – we’ve chatted and agreed with each other that we don’t agree so there is none of the ruminating in the middle of the night wondering if the whole project is all rubbish that can affect the solo author.

This is helped by the publisher making it clear that these are just suggestions. When we meet them, we’ll chat over the ones we disagree with. So far, having someone who isn’t as immersed in the book as we are reading and commenting has improved the text and long may this continue.

And as you are head for the comments, if you wouldn’t say it face to face, don’t say it on-line.

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