Whether you're trying to fast-draft a novel in a month, or taking many years to draft a story, chances are good that you have faced or will face criticism that will threaten to halt your progress. Every writer I know hears criticism from even the most unexpected sources (and sometimes the unexpected sources are the most painful!), and those criticisms can feel like the only thing any one has ever said about our writing when we hear them.
But the truth is, there are many readers out there in the world with vastly differing moods and opinions! Because I think it's ridiculous how much criticism can affect our progress as writers, I decided to make a list, all in one place, of things I've personally heard, or seen in reviews of other authors I love in hopes of shining a light on the ridiculousness of spending any time at all thinking about one person's criticism.
- "There's too little description I couldn't picture it."
- "There's too much description and it slowed down the pace."
- "Cardboard characters, lacking detailed description."
- "Why would I want to know every detail about what this character eats for breakfast?"
- "Starts off too slow."
- "I got whiplash from the breakneck pace."
- "Too languid and boring."
- "Too quick-paced and choppy."
- "Unlikable characters.
- "Characters are too perfect."
- "Too short. I like my books at least three hundred pages."
- "Too long. Went on forever."
- "Too much sex and cursing."
- "Felt too clean to be realistic."
- "I wanted to feel more emotional connection."
- "Strange plot. Unbelievable."
- "Cliche. Felt like I've read it all before."
- "Main character is too angst-y."
- "I wish the characters had more passion."
- "Not enough conflict."
- "Too much going on. I wanted a minute just to breathe."
- "I hate issue-driven books."
- "I hate character-driven books."
- "I hate plotty books."
- "It's too simple."
- "It has everything in it but the kitchen sink."
That's a long list, but I'll bet there are many more I haven't mentioned. Seeing them all together helps me at least to remember not to put too much weight in any one thing anyone says. Feel free to add to my list in the comments, and let me know if criticism has ever hindered you from something creative. And how did you get over it?
Also, what are your goals for November? Are you joining in on NaNoWriMo, or do you have your own different set of goals for this month?