The blame

Jun. 13th, 2017 11:08 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“The fault is in the one who blames. Spirit sees nothing to criticize.”

—Rumi, quoted in Rumi Wisdom by Timothy Freke

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

Concerning criticism. Three years to make a book, five lines to ridicule it, and the quotations wrong.”

—Albert Camus, The Notebooks, 1942-1951 (tr. Justin O’Brien)

criticism4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

Concerning criticism. Three years to make a book, five lines to ridicule it, and the quotations wrong.”

—Albert Camus, The Notebooks, 1942-1951 (tr. Justin O’Brien)

criticism4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: parker writing (dorothy)

I have only ever taken one critique of my writing personally, and that was largely because it was meant personally. The critiquer mostly wanted to put me in my place and take revenge for an honest review I did of her Very Precious Novel. I told her that her writing was lovely, the characters in her book were interesting people I liked hanging out with, but I thought she’d done some chickenshit stuff with the plotting. Although I used, yanno, polite language, phrased things as positively as I could, trying to be supportive.

In turn, she said my novel was such utter dreck that she couldn’t make it past chapter 3 and didn’t want to waste anymore of her Very Precious Time actually finishing. Except, yanno, in semi-polite language. Though not very polite. Rather dismissive, in fact. Really hard not to take that personally.

Her novel went on to be published, mine did not, but mine got some positive response from agents. The ending was too controversial and “anti-market” but send the next novel along, and etc. Life took over and I wasn’t able to do any of that.

I admit to some perverse gratification when my critiquer’s novel was reviewed in Locus. They called her on the selfsame chickenshit plotting I had. Although the reviewer used, yanno, polite language. Though not as polite as mine. And I’d be lying if I said I was anything less than perversely gratified when the novel didn’t sell well.

Mostly, however, I take criticism like a grown woman. I ask people to read and critique my work because I want honest opinions so I can make it better. And I stay away from the perverse gratification as much as possible because I really do believe that negativity breeds negativity. It’s not healthy for me as a person or an artist to nurse grudges. They’re rather like hoarding useless junk. Too much of it in any one life and you wind up being one of those people buried alive and suffocated to death when a pile of old smelly junk falls on top of you.

No, envy and salacious glee at another person’s fail tend to choke the creative process. That needs to be as free-flowing as possible and if the artist encumbers herself with negative emotions she’ll stop moving altogether. I see it even more clearly now that I have so little time to do creative work, so little Me Time. An artist needs to be able to take those precious moments and run with them whenever they occur, wherever they lead.

And that includes being grateful for the time others spend reviewing and giving honest critiques of my work. I’m grateful for 99.9% of the reviews I’ve gotten. As you can probably tell from the opening of this post, I haven’t entirely succeeded on letting go of that one unfair one. I still grit my teeth when I see that person’s name. Fortunately, I don’t see it much anymore unless I masochistically google it. And I hardly ever do that. Hardly.

I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for hoarding old newspapers of envy, scrap tin of grudge, and empty boxes of perverse gratification. I need to let go, lighten my load, and liberate myself completely from the junk preventing me from moving freely.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: parker writing (dorothy)

I have only ever taken one critique of my writing personally, and that was largely because it was meant personally. The critiquer mostly wanted to put me in my place and take revenge for an honest review I did of her Very Precious Novel. I told her that her writing was lovely, the characters in her book were interesting people I liked hanging out with, but I thought she’d done some chickenshit stuff with the plotting. Although I used, yanno, polite language, phrased things as positively as I could, trying to be supportive.

In turn, she said my novel was such utter dreck that she couldn’t make it past chapter 3 and didn’t want to waste anymore of her Very Precious Time actually finishing. Except, yanno, in semi-polite language. Though not very polite. Rather dismissive, in fact. Really hard not to take that personally.

Her novel went on to be published, mine did not, but mine got some positive response from agents. The ending was too controversial and “anti-market” but send the next novel along, and etc. Life took over and I wasn’t able to do any of that.

I admit to some perverse gratification when my critiquer’s novel was reviewed in Locus. They called her on the selfsame chickenshit plotting I had. Although the reviewer used, yanno, polite language. Though not as polite as mine. And I’d be lying if I said I was anything less than perversely gratified when the novel didn’t sell well.

Mostly, however, I take criticism like a grown woman. I ask people to read and critique my work because I want honest opinions so I can make it better. And I stay away from the perverse gratification as much as possible because I really do believe that negativity breeds negativity. It’s not healthy for me as a person or an artist to nurse grudges. They’re rather like hoarding useless junk. Too much of it in any one life and you wind up being one of those people buried alive and suffocated to death when a pile of old smelly junk falls on top of you.

No, envy and salacious glee at another person’s fail tend to choke the creative process. That needs to be as free-flowing as possible and if the artist encumbers herself with negative emotions she’ll stop moving altogether. I see it even more clearly now that I have so little time to do creative work, so little Me Time. An artist needs to be able to take those precious moments and run with them whenever they occur, wherever they lead.

And that includes being grateful for the time others spend reviewing and giving honest critiques of my work. I’m grateful for 99.9% of the reviews I’ve gotten. As you can probably tell from the opening of this post, I haven’t entirely succeeded on letting go of that one unfair one. I still grit my teeth when I see that person’s name. Fortunately, I don’t see it much anymore unless I masochistically google it. And I hardly ever do that. Hardly.

I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for hoarding old newspapers of envy, scrap tin of grudge, and empty boxes of perverse gratification. I need to let go, lighten my load, and liberate myself completely from the junk preventing me from moving freely.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Holes

Aug. 23rd, 2013 09:47 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“The rattan basket criticizes the palm leaf basket, still both are full of holes.”

—Philippine proverb

 baskets4WP@@@

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Holes

Aug. 23rd, 2013 09:47 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“The rattan basket criticizes the palm leaf basket, still both are full of holes.”

—Philippine proverb

 baskets4WP@@@

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled ‘science fiction’…and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, “Wampeters, Foma and Ganfalloons”

 critics4WP@@@

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“I have been a soreheaded occupant of a file drawer labeled ‘science fiction’…and I would like out, particularly since so many serious critics regularly mistake the drawer for a urinal.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, “Wampeters, Foma and Ganfalloons”

 critics4WP@@@

 

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (Default)
1.  Your immediate first reaction will always be, "What? They don't understand me or my work!"
2.  Smile, say "Thank you for your input. It was extremely helpful."
3.  Because once you get over yourself you will probably wind up absorbing and adapting most of it.
4.  Unless they took a patronizing or dismissive tone.
5.  But smile anyway and say "Thank you for your input. It was extremely helpful."
6.  Because you may wind up absorbing/adapting some of the patronizing and dismissive criticism, too.
7.  But you don't ever have to deal with that person again because, really, patronizing and dismissive is the
   one unforgivable sin.
8.  Hardass or harsh criticism is especially hard to take. It stings.
9.  Smile, say "Thank you for your input. It was extremely helpful."
10. Because once you get over the hurt you will probably wind up absorbing and adapting most of it.
11. Do not assume that because someone can dish out hardass criticism they can also take it.
12. You must always tell the truth as you see it.
13. But there are always more diplomatic ways of saying things, even hard truths.
14. Do not justify yourself by saying, "An editor or an agent wouldn't be diplomatic."
15. Because you are not an editor or agent. You are their colleague. There's a difference.
16. An editor or an agent can be as hardass as they like. They're professionals. They don't have time to sugar-coat things.
   It's a business relationship. If they choose to be diplomatic, be grateful.
17. Smile, say "Thank you for your input. It was extremely helpful."
18. And set about absorbing/adapting the requested changes.
19. Unless you think their requested changes would seriously undermine your story, your characters, the Universe,
   your artistic credibility. Then it's worth going to the mat over.
20. Be very selective about what you're willing to go to the mat over.
21. Very.
22. Rethink your objections and ask yourself, "Will I eventually absorb/adapt these changes?"
23. If the answer is no, go to the mat.
24. But before you do, rethink things.
25. At least three times.
pjthompson: (Default)
First: critiquers who given honest, constructive criticism are pure gold. I am grateful to have such folks in my writing life.

Yes, that's right, I've started revising something—the novel I finished last fall.

Sometimes being an instinctual writer makes for a painful revision process. A contributing factor: I no longer fix as I go. That means when the inevitable revision (or revisions) of plot occurs somewhere during the process of writing the first draft, I simply change horses in midstream and push forward. No circling back to make everything conform, no rounding up of stray doggies, or magnanimous rescuing of sodbusters from the evil cattle barons. This was a hard habit to break, but overall I'm glad I did. It means I can push through to the end of the ms. faster, without risk of bogging myself down by obsessing over the details. (Believe me, I've been known to put the ss in obsess and have the rope burns to prove it.)

Now and again, if something really jars my psychic landscape, and if it's necessary for what I anticipate writing up ahead, I will circle back so I can reinhabit a scene. I need a gut feeling for certain things in order to maintain a psychic imprint of the totality of the novel. I always know the endpoint of the story before I start writing, and that's usually the one thing that doesn't change. I aim myself for that ending, kick the sides of my mount, and take off hell bent for leather. But on those occasions when I feel some stranded maiden crying out back down the road apiece, if I really need to know what it feels like to wear her gingham dress, I turn Old Paint and go in for a rescue. I once stopped the forward progress of a novel in order to write a 14k novelette (based on a key scene) from another character's POV. It was essential to get inside that character's head to understand her dynamic on a gut level and how that would play out in her interactions with the hero. I wound up using almost nothing from that 14k, but I don't think I would have finished the novel without it.

Sometimes the emotional consistency of the characters suffer from the push forward, often more than the plot itself. That's not always easy to fix, but my instincts appear to be on the job because just this morning the answer to handling a key problem popped into my brain as I drove to work. There are other issues to solve, some plot, some worldbuilding, some character. I think I see clearly what needs fixing, but you never know about these things. Sometimes as you mosey down the trail, what looks like a stranded maiden from the distance turns out to be Jesse James in drag.
pjthompson: (Default)
Quote(s) of the day:

"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger."

—Franklin P. Jones


"Children who tell adults everything are trying to make them as wise as they. Just as children who ask questions already know why the sky is blue and where the lost kitten has gone. What they need is the confirmation that the odd and frightening magic which has turned adults into giants has not completely addled their brains."

—Richard Bowes, "The Mask of the Rex"


Labyrinth of the day: Since labyrinths (not mazes) are a central metaphor in the next novel I hope to write, I've been wanting to walk one. Labyrinths are circular pathways with one way in, one way out; mazes are puzzles with twists and turns designed to confuse. Labyrinths are a way of getting away from left brain puzzle-solving, and bringing it in balance with the right brain; mazes are all about the left brain and trying to figure things out.

Read More )
pjthompson: (Default)
Here's a famous quote that, sadly, I think is still true:


"This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing room."

—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

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