Heckling vs Criticism


Jimfear138 shares his thoughts concerning a recent dustup within the Pulp Revolution. [Caution: NSFW language.]

So what I’m talking about is this whole Groffin shit. For the uninitiated, and I only know the story so far back, apparently Groffin is an internet commentator who got into a slapfight with Jeffro over the supposed chest-thumping and victory-declaring that happens on the right side of politics, particularly The Vox Day Side Of Things™. I don’t read Vox’ blog, I catch maybe a post every two or three months, and I don’t generally trouble myself about what Vox is getting up to because he’s a big boy and can take care of himself. So maybe that chest thumping is happening over there, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

So Groffin cheesed Jeffro off, is the point to that. Then Jeffro done did this. So that happened.

Now I think G-man has some points here. Or at least he’s describing reality. Big deal. Anyone can do that. I’d have thought the things he said didn’t need to be said, because they were obvious. I thought everybody already knew what Groffin laid out, but apparently for some people this was more of a bucket of cold water to the face than a “Well, duh, now tell me the color of the sky” moment. But then again, here I am giving a short, autistic internet history lesson of recent events so I can say the incredibly obvious bullshit I’m about to say, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, on with it.

So Jesse Lucas (who doesn’t have a steemit but you can find on twitter @JesseLucasSaga) makes a post on the pulprev dot com, linked here. Jesse lays down some truth here as well. It’s worth a read, even if I think it is being depressing and melodramatic for no reason.

There is much, much more at the link.

Short version: Jeffro posted a reply to David Brooks’ defeatist NYT piece about Conservatives having no cultural power. A commenter showed up and heckled the #PulpRev. Being relatively new authors, some of them unduly took the trash talk disguised as criticism to heart. It’s an old story.

Jim generally has it right that this controversy is much ado about nothing. I’ve written about how to take criticism previously. But before writers can benefit from constructive critiques of their work, they need to master the skill of discerning criticism from heckling.

In a nutshell:

  • If someone is just bitching–especially based on subjective matters of taste–about the quality and/or financial success of a work while offering no suggestions for how to improve, he’s heckling and should be ignored.
  • If, on the other hand, someone is pointing out objective flaws that keep a work from living up to its proper standard, and he suggests ways to overcome these defects, he is a critic whose feedback is worthy of consideration.
Here are some bonus tips for separating the criticism wheat from the heckling chaff.
  1. Is the commenter holding up classic works by some legendary author as the standard you work must meet to pass muster? He’s heckling. Dishonestly. Ask him to show you his books.
  2. Does the alleged critic compare your book’s sales performance to that of the Big Five publishers? He’s sperging. Ask to see his sales figures.
  3. Has your interlocutor pointed out that your two year-old literary movement hasn’t rocked the publishing industry to its foundations yet? He’s trolling. Ask him to share his master plan for world domination.
And as always, keep writing. Keep reading deeply and broadly in your genre, and support authors who are producing fun alternatives to tradpub’s pink slime.

Epic Conclusion to the Soul Cycle. If you haven’t read the rest, why not?

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