META/POLL: The Purpose of Criticism

rickhindle at rickhindle at
Sun Feb 17 12:07:19 PST 2008

On Feb 17, 1:23 pm, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:
> I'd like to get a wider number of opinions on criticism in general,
> and on my most recent criticisms in particular.
> In providing feedback, I try to celebrate things I find exemplary in a
> piece of writing.  When I find something lacking, I try to offer
> suggestions on how to make it better.  I do not try to "attack" anyone
> or anyone's work.  I do not do MSTings and, with the extremely notable
> exception of work I find morally offensive, I do not harraunge or say
> that a story is "awful" or excremental.
> In your opinion:
> 1. Is this basically how feedback can and should work?
> 2. If not, how should one provide feedback?
> 3. Is offering suggestions and alternatives, and pointing out flaws,
> tantamount to attacking a work or author?
> And:
> 1. Authors whose work has been under review, do you find "Russell's
> Reviews" to be mostly helpful or unhelpful?
> 2. Readers whose work is not under review, do you find it to be mostly
> helpful or unhelpful?
> I'd really like as many answers as possible.  Thank you for your time.
> ==Tom

I'll be honest, I enjoy seeing critiques of my work.  It helps to have
someone else look over my work and let me know what's good and what's
not working.  I think we all understand that while RACC is a great
exercise in writing and as a creative outlet it's tough to find
something better for those of us who enjoy the funny-book genre, we're
not here as professionals.

I can't answer the first two, because I do like the format, but I
can't think of any quality alternatives.  I can, however, answer the
third question.  I do not believe that offering suggestions is
attacking an author or their work.  While some may want to be able to
look at their work as instant classics, I think that most of us
understand that we're not perfect, and sometimes our thought processes
get mixed up and we end up not putting together a plot that makes

I for one am a slave to my writer's block. I've tried to get better,
and I believe that the reviews I've received has given me the
confidence to overcome my writer's block.  Of course, I'm currently
trying to write Thunderclap #9, but I'm responding to this instead.

In conclusion, I'm very happy to have my work criticized.  It makes me
a better writer.

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