If you’re planning to put your fiction “out there,” or you’ve already taken that leap – chances are you’ll be dealing with criticism. No work of fiction, even if it was ejaculated upon the author from On High, is universally accepted as perfection. Literature is subjective. People have their own likes/dislikes.
And, yes, your literary shit stinks just like everyone else’s.
What am I saying? It’s simple, really. Until you can accept that your work isn’t a flawless gem, I’m not sure you’ll have the tools you’ll need when strangers read and critique your “finished” product. But this has nothing to do with being thick-skinned. Even fragile flowers deserve to tell their stories if they dedicate themselves to the craft. But, when the jeers come, those delicate souls can indeed weather the storm without changing their personality. And it all comes down to accepting the truth: your work isn’t a timeless paragon of literary brilliance.
Instead, like us humans, each work of fiction is a unique lump of matter. Complete with flaws, quirks and uniqueness. The sooner you realize this, the better off you’ll be in the end. If you’re at peace with the truth, you’ll be prepared to absorb valid critique, recognize a mismatched reader and deflect worthless chatter. For the valid points, you can choose to make changes (if you have direct control over your work) or mark it down for a possible revision later on. Or, perhaps, you’ll just earmark the advice for future works. In the end, your fiction will improve and your reviewers may be telling you something you already know. Perhaps a certain scene or character never sat 100% with you. As more people read your work, your chances of running across constructive criticism rise (as does the number of internet asshats). For me, I embrace anything that helps the story. So, if a reviewer points out something negative that I happen to agree with, chances are I’ll change it. I know my shit ain’t perfect, and I’m willing to make sound revisions.
You should too.
Now, the reverse of this is also true – believe in your work! Just because some anonymous internet goon gives you a “1-star” doesn’t mean you suck as a writer. If you’re be better suited for handing out stickers at Walmart, then I hope you realize that before writing book number two. But if you truly think you deserve to be called a “Storyteller”, then don’t let bad reviews get you down. Easier said than done? I don’t think so. If you truly believe in your work, and that you deserve to share shelf space with other authors – this is an easy state of mind to keep going strong.
You thought it. You wrote it. You shared it. It won’t ever be perfect, but fuckin’ believe in it!
At the end of the day, we’re all a day older. (sorry) But, it’s also all comes down to the story. If you can take a step back and view negative comments as possible constructive criticism – you’ll become a better writer. And I don’t see how that’s ever a bad thing.