Recently, I noticed a lot of people calling out and flagging others for criticising stories if they’re not Featured stories on Episode. I have read a lot of threads which basically tell people “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.
While that can sometimes be sound advice, it is not the case with writing. You see, there is a massive difference between constructive criticism and hate. Criticism helps you to grow as a writer and become better.
Frankly, I find it more mean and cruel if people find my story awful and are just too “nice” or pressured by the community to say anything. If you really like authors on here and you want to see them grow, you should be promoting criticism, not trying to silence it.
And if you’re a writer, you put your work out there in the world. Surely, you expected some kind of criticism? As soon as it left your mind and was published onto the app, you’ve given people the right to say what they want about it - within reason, of course. If you want to grow as a writer, it’s up to you to be able to take creative criticism and use it to grow instead of always seeing it as a direct attack.
People need to stop seeing criticism as a direct attack! Episode is full of amateur writers and the feedback we give one another is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your work. That’s where we’re going to get the bulk of improvements from! Sometimes that criticism can seem harsh at first, but give it a chance to make sense to you and give the person the benefit of the doubt. We don’t all speak English as a first language and so some of us can mean well but say it in a way which might come across as a little harsh because of the nuances of English. Don’t jump on the “don’t hate” bandwagon straight away! You could be missing out on some free editing.
On the other side, make sure that you’re not actively trying to be rude when you’re criticising the work. No, you’re not obliged to say one hundred good things before you get to the bad. However, make sure you’re polite about your criticism and always open to talk about it if you’re going to give it.
If we want to improve as a community, we need to start by improving our communication skills. Sometimes that means we need to stop being rude. Others, it means we need to stop being so sensitive.
I know this might seem harsh to some of you, but criticism is an important part of the creation process, and depriving people of that because we accuse people of hate too quickly is counterproductive!