I’ve run into an issue, and need help. I’m reading the blogs of several writers. Their experiences are varied, the quality of their writing more so. What kind of criticism should I offer them?
My difficulty can be boiled down to two observations. One is that an author, by putting his or her writing before the public, is by that very act inviting judgment. No one put a gun to the author’s head to publish on a blog, or elsewhere. And if the author didn’t want other people, even total strangers, to judge it, then the author shouldn’t publish anywhere. The other observation is that criticism stings (unless it is unreserved praise), and some authors can’t handle it. I speak from personal experience: I have been reduced to tears by criticism. It was no help that it was fair criticism. Even knowing that, I could barely look at it.
Let’s take it as given that we’re talking about constructive criticism here. Calling the author a “microcephalic idiot with the charm of a dead possum” and the writing a “fetid, steaming pile of maggot-ridden zebra waste” is out of bounds. What kinds of criticism are acceptable? Please offer your suggestions as comments. (If you don’t want to make your suggestions public, my e-mail address on Gmail.com is sillyverse.) Once I’ve read them all, I’ll write up a new post with the results and any additional thoughts I have.
Thanks in advance to all of you who reply.