The Difference Between Good Criticism & A Troll Looking To Sabatouge Your Flow. - Page 2


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Thread: The Difference Between Good Criticism & A Troll Looking To Sabatouge Your Flow.

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    I actually got into an argument with one guy because he "didn't like weak characters" I was utterly baffled. I'd love to know just what kind of fiction he reads that has absolutely zero weak characters in it. It must be dull and boring.
    I'm guessing of course, but probably the reason for that argument was because what he meant by weak characters differs from what you meant by it.

    I don't like 'weak characters' either, and I totally disagree with your assertion that weak characters are inevitable in good books. They are not. Name a weak character in Harry Potter? In any well-known book by Nabukov, Dostoyevsky, Terry Pratchett? You can't, because good writers don't make room for bad execution.

    I think what you call weak characters are what I would call 'peripheral' or 'background' characters and there is a huge difference. A weak character is one that has plenty of 'screen time' but zero presence - or lots of dialogue and but zero impact if you like.

    A background character is literally in the background, there to make up the scenery or to perhaps form part of a plot device or mechanism - the cashier at the store being robbed. It's not fair to label such characters as 'weak'.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I'm guessing of course, but probably the reason for that argument was because what he meant by weak characters differs from what you meant by it.
    Nope. I understood his meaning by it but his argument was pretty invalidated by the vary nature of my story. He was complaining about the fact that my MC got his ass handed to him by a superior foe.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I don't like 'weak characters' either, and I totally disagree with your assertion that weak characters are inevitable in good books. They are not. Name a weak character in Harry Potter? In any well-known book by Nabukov, Dostoyevsky, Terry Pratchett? You can't, because good writers don't make room for bad execution.
    First off stop assuming to know what I mean when i say something and just ask what I mean. Having any kind of story without any conflict in it will result in a bad story, period. Without conflict there can be no resolution and thus zero story to tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I think what you call weak characters are what I would call 'peripheral' or 'background' characters and there is a huge difference. A weak character is one that has plenty of 'screen time' but zero presence - or lots of dialogue and but zero impact if you like.
    Again stop amusing and just ask me.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    A background character is literally in the background, there to make up the scenery or to perhaps form part of a plot device or mechanism - the cashier at the store being robbed. It's not fair to label such characters as 'weak'.
    And I never even went into any detail about the character that was being called weak to begin with. I'll say it again stop assuming and just ask.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    Nope. I understood his meaning by it but his argument was pretty invalidated by the vary nature of my story. He was complaining about the fact that my MC got his ass handed to him by a superior foe. First off stop assuming to know what I mean when i say something and just ask what I mean. Having any kind of story without any conflict in it will result in a bad story, period. Without conflict there can be no resolution and thus zero story to tell. Again stop amusing and just ask me. And I never even went into any detail about the character that was being called weak to begin with. I'll say it again stop assuming and just ask.
    I assumed nothing. That's why I prefaced with "I am guessing of course". I don't have to ask about your characters because I don't care about them - I am not directing my comments toward your characters but toward something you said that I think is false: Your assertion that weak characters are part and parcel of a story. They are demonstrably not - Most good books don't have weak characters.

    If you think otherwise you either have an entirely different definition of 'weak' and are using the word in a manner that is confusing (because in literature we say 'weak character' to mean a character who is poorly designed) or a very odd sense of what makes a good story. Again, I am not assuming either one of those things.

    Just so we are clear on this difference as maybe I did not clarify properly: Bella Swann from Stephanie Meyer's Twilight is an example of a weak character - she is poorly fleshed, incredibly derivative, lacks principles, etc. And yet she does not get her 'ass kicked', to use your phrase, and is by no means an irrelevance to the story (which is not a very good story, needless to say), but she is still a weak character. No good book should have a Bella Swann.

    Fagan from Oliver Twist is a 'weak' old man who gets his 'ass kicked' by everyone and yet he is NOT a weak character but one of the most enduring and iconic characters in Victorian literature.

    Hopefully you see the difference and can see your way to responding without defensiveness.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  4. #14
    Oh, and...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    Having any kind of story without any conflict in it will result in a bad story, period. Without conflict there can be no resolution and thus zero story to tell.
    Absolutely, however conflict has nothing to do with weak characters. It is absolutely possible (and in fact preferable) to have conflict between two strong characters.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  5. #15
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Ok im going to be as honest and as blunt as i can with you i have to ask you to not take offense to it but has anyone ever told you that you come off as extremely arrogant? I'm starting to think that it's just how you talk. So I'll do my best to try and look past this and get to the root of your wisdom.

    So basically a 'weak'character is one that lacks an actual personality and substance as a character in a story? Awesome learned something new. I can safely say that the person arguing was not thinking that deeply when he posted up that comment. He said as much in his post. He definitely ment weak as in omg he got his assistance kicked he's weak! That is what I and the other guy meant when we say weak.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

  6. #16
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    Constructive criticism: "If I can get the point of this chapter correctly, I think the idea in the scenes are cool, yet it feels a bit unnecessarily rushy to read. For example, you have laid out X this that, but Z just all of sudden doing that and that. It feels jumpy."

    Being solely critical: "This is bad. I don't like. *scrolls/flips the page. I don't like. This sucks. This shouldn't exist. This should work like [enter something that basically selfishly favors him, irrelevant ideas, or talking mega BS while being armchair person]


    I've come across these types and we still can break it down even further.

    Moral: have the ability to think, differ, and digest. Don't listen to mindless bashing and praises. This applies to the flip side when you are the critique. Have some self awareness, be fair, and don't think of yourself too highly and underestimating, especially when you don't even have professional experience in it.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    Ok im going to be as honest and as blunt as i can with you i have to ask you to not take offense to it but has anyone ever told you that you come off as extremely arrogant? I'm starting to think that it's just how you talk. So I'll do my best to try and look past this and get to the root of your wisdom.

    So basically a 'weak'character is one that lacks an actual personality and substance as a character in a story? Awesome learned something new. I can safely say that the person arguing was not thinking that deeply when he posted up that comment. He said as much in his post. He definitely ment weak as in omg he got his assistance kicked he's weak! That is what I and the other guy meant when we say weak.

    The definition of arrogance is 'having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities.' As I have not once mentioned nor to alluded once to either my own importance or abilities throughout this thread, I fart in the general direction of your suggestion.

    There are trolls out there (I half expect your next move will be to call me one) and yes they and what they do sucks and yes you are right to concern yourself with identifying the differences between helpful and unhelpful critique. But you would be a fool to think for a moment you can choose not to 'tolerate' your work being mercilessly pissed on by the great unwashed, that you get to decide what kind of response is valid. How arrogant of you!

    As others have already said, you can't do anything about people 'sabatouging' your work, so you might as well take it all positively and not become upset or argumentative. You already mentioned arguing with someone over critique you received. This suggests to me you are probably easily upset and prone to becoming emotional when it comes to criticism of your work. It suggests you are very proud of your story and take any attack on it personally. That's normal, but the idea of a nobody writer arguing with a reader is not smart, for reasons that should be painfully obvious.

    But as long as somebody is giving you their opinion and is telling you it is honest you simply have no business whatsoever to get angry at them for giving it. You definitely don't have to like what they say or respect it or agree with it...but for gods sake still smile and be appreciative they took the time out of their lives to read your story and respond. It's the professional response. As writers, we are sellers in a buyer's market. I think its high time we acted like it.

    Anyway, Rojack, if you don't like my opinion, Terry D said it much more diplomatically. The bolding is mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    There can be gold in critique on-line, but mostly you get value commensurate with what you paid for it. It's a waste of time whining about bad critique, or a critiquing style you don't like. Read it. Consider it -- even if you don't like it. Use what you can get fom it. And move on. There are just as many thin-skinned writing wanna-be's who think all their ideas are the most unique and golden ever produced (though most never actually produce much of anything) as there are nasty critters. I don't get dazzled by ideas, I get dazzled by the execution of those ideas. Harsh critique never quashed a writer. The only person who can do that is the writer him/herself.
    Last edited by luckyscars; May 24th, 2019 at 05:09 AM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Rojack79 View Post
    Case and point good advice looks like this,

    "An Excellent first chapter. We got a good look into our hero's life and got a feel for what makes him tick. The chapters seem a bit short in length though. Adding more detailed description of his surroundings may help with that. Anyhow, on to the next chapter."

    Someone who's ether Trolling or Jealous looks like this,

    "Your Character is Garry Stue, he's awfu
    Sorry, I gotta say this because nobody yet has...

    The first example is not criticism at all. It is, on close inspection, mostly an attaboy ("an excellent first chapter", "on to the next chapter!") with a vague bit of 'critique' of something extremely minor and noncontroversial (ooh, chapter lengths too long!) tacked on, probably so they didn't feel like they were straight-up kissing your butt. That is the kind of 'criticism' I would expect from my mother. Nice as it is to hear, that shit doesnt help you improve.

    The second example you gave isn't critique but an opinion and whether it is valid or not depends highly on whether your character is actually 'Garry Stu'' and/or awful. I have not read the story so cannot say. Yes i's sort of rude, but it's not necessarily 'trolling or jealous'. Sometimes being told your work is awful is as 'constructive' as it gets. Can't polish a turd, y'know?
    Last edited by luckyscars; May 24th, 2019 at 05:10 AM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

  9. #19
    I used to do a ton of giving and getting critiques and don't recall many at all that I thought were trolling or jealous. It seemed to me more that the critiquers were at all levels of ability, the same as the writers were.

    Comments can definitely sting, especially they don't seem fair or correct or don't seem like the critter even remembers there's a real person behind the writing they're negatively commenting on.

    However, it really is something to get used to because when the comments are made publicly on published work that you have no chance to change, it feels even worse.

  10. #20
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir-KP View Post
    Constructive criticism: "If I can get the point of this chapter correctly, I think the idea in the scenes are cool, yet it feels a bit unnecessarily rushy to read. For example, you have laid out X this that, but Z just all of sudden doing that and that. It feels jumpy."

    Being solely critical: "This is bad. I don't like. *scrolls/flips the page. I don't like. This sucks. This shouldn't exist. This should work like [enter something that basically selfishly favors him, irrelevant ideas, or talking mega BS while being armchair person]


    I've come across these types and we still can break it down even further.

    Moral: have the ability to think, differ, and digest. Don't listen to mindless bashing and praises. This applies to the flip side when you are the critique. Have some self awareness, be fair, and don't think of yourself too highly and underestimating, especially when you don't even have professional experience in it.
    Thanks for the details. Anyone else have any experiences they'd like to share?
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

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