1. Annette says:

    And criticism certainly keeps us humble!

  2. Galadriel says:

    That’s one reason I’m glad I found other Christian spec writers online–I actually enjoy recieving critique now

  3. Fred, a great look at this from both the sensitive writer side and the aggressively critical reviewer side. I have seen both, to be sure. Some writers seem to flare with little incendiary provocation, but some reviewers seem determined to quench a spark of good writing.

    I might add, I have the privilege of working with a great group in the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour (CSFF). More than one author has commented on my post or emailed me privately how much they appreciated the thoughtful interaction with their book. Good reviews, I think, can be gifts to authors.

    (BTW, you might be interested to know that my last post touched on this topic, too.)


  4. This is such a tricky subject. Occasionally, I find myself in sticky situations when reviewing Christian books for my blog. Especially when I’ve met the authors in person. I want to be 100% positive, but sometimes that’s disingenuous. I think tone is the key, which, as you mentioned, can be difficult to convey through a keyboard. But as a writer, I should probably be able to do that. The written word is supposed to be my thing. I should be able to communicate clearly enough that a sensitive author wouldn’t misinterpret my comments as unfounded venom-spewing.

    Still, it’s much better when I just love everything about the books I’m reviewing. 🙂

  5. I’ve been blessed with some awesome critique partners who know how to be honest, but deliver that honesty with love.  And yes, they are mostly Christians.

    I did, however, once visit a critique group meeting (my first time, so I chose to only observe) that was filled with bickering and ended in one man storming out. Everyone delivered their advice with an “I know SO much more than you” attitude. It was horrible. I never went back. The group was secular, and I know I can’t generalize but I find that an odd fact. That said, I’ve seen attitude among Christians, too.

    I agree that we need to be honest, and we have to get tough. When you aren’t honest with your writer friends, it’s like sending them out to the wolves. I’d much rather hear honesty with love from a friend, then embarrass myself out in the world among strangers.

  6. Morgan Busse says:

    I agree with Kat. I tell those who review my stuff, “Please me honest with me. I’d rather hear from you than an editor, agent, fill-in-the-blank.”

    I know its been said not to have your husband critique (or mother or close relative), but I can say my husband is my best, most honest, and brutal when it needs it critiquer. We’ve been working together for a year now and because of him, I’ve learned how to take constructive criticism.

  7. Kaci says:

    I’ve noticed a few odd things, at least with me personally. On the one hand, I get a bit upset if I don’t get informative feedback (so, ‘awesome’ doesn’t tell me anymore than ‘stupid’). On the other, the source matters. And sometimes it’s not the source but how I happened to hear it a certain day.
    I’ll come back when I’ve read the cited articles. 0=)

  8. Ken Rolph says:

    Always be careful of sending your novel to small journals with literary pretensions. They are usually full of desperately earnest people who will fall upon you with knives to carve you up just to show their skill at cultural butchery.

    I always prefer general readers to experts. It’s odd how we try in our writing to impress publishers, editors, agents, reviewers, commentators and such. Most of our readers are not those.

What do you think?