Blogs by Kathy Kopp
Can there be too much praise?
4/4/2008 10:06:13 PM
Your discerning comments help make writing worth while, even if I don't make a penney out of it.
I've been out of town the last ten days, and so I'm just catching up on my mail. Writing can become a habit and an obsession. At the very least, a well-crafted poem or short story deserves a review. This provides feedback for the author, positive or negative. Reviews encourage us to keep writing, knowing what the author should aim for in the market for readers and colleagues.
The reviews I've received are valuable to me. And so? you say. The best reviews are so detailed that I can tell you've read my poems. Less respected are the reviews that are too general and consist of too much praise for me. Doesn't that pump up your ego? No, not for me. Blind praise tells me nothing, no hints as to working toward a more reader-friendly market. . . or shouldn't we be writing for ourselves and for the craft. To do this, writers need constructive criticism.
Let's not be afraid to make suggestions on why we like, or didn't like, the poem. Instead of a summary, please tell me which line was confusing to you, suggest a better title, comment on whether the voice of the poem was consistent, mixed verb tenses, and more. Like most authors, I do not take this personally. After awhile, you develop a tough skin and a professional attitude.
My poetry is out there on Authors Den. What I need from you isn't all negativity either. What about integrity and instinct? and the crafting of a poem. If he wishes, the author just might go back to editing a piece, while taking into consideration the authors' own standards.
Constructive critism makes for a better poem. Be hard on me, I can take it . . . My belief is that a poem or story is almost never "finished." It can always be polished a bit. The next time I look at it, I think "how could I ever have written that. What was I thinking."
There's boxes and file folders everywhere in my office from previous writing groups where we workshoped the poem. In My Documents, each poem or story gets "copy and paste" onto page two of that file. Then on page two, another version can be freely played with while still retaining the original version. You might end up with a completely different piece.
What would prevent Authors Den from becoming just such a cyber-workshop. We can enjoy and appreciate other authors, but why not give your honest opinion, if you the reader/colleague are comfortable doing that.
A sheltered prima donna, I'm not. Repetitive praise, praise, praise is still valuable, so don't shock me by telling me it was a terrible poem belonging in the trash. There must be a middle ground somewhere. Let's find it.
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More Blogs by Kathy Kopp
Can there be too much praise? - Friday, April 04, 2008