Episode 10: Critiques VS Destructive Criticism

Show Notes for Episode 10: Critiques VS Destructive Criticism

Alone in a Room with Invisible People is a podcast focusing on topics related to writing, revising and publishing fiction.

In this episode, host Rebecca Galardo discusses the topic of Good Critiquing VS Bad or Destructive Criticism with Author and Teacher Holly Lisle. They cover what Destructive Criticism is – and how to spot it – what good critiquing is – and how to do it – and share some of their horror stories and insights.

They take a look at the following:

  • What Destructive Criticism is, why you get it, why it hurts, how to spot it and what to do when you get it.
  • What Good Crits are, how to know if the criticism is good, right, wrong or just not what you’re looking for.
  • How to help your people help you and your work
  • And more.

SHARE YOUR CRIT HORROR STORIES HERE!  Name NO names.  Use Kate/Bob for the person you received the criticism from.  Please note that if you don’t your comments are subject to editing and/or deletion.

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Mentioned in the Podcast


Credits: Producer – Rebecca Galardo.  Sponsor – Holly’sWritingClasses.com.  Intro written by Holly Lisle and performed by Mark Hermann. Our podcast is 100% free and sponsored only by Holly’s Writing Classes.

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5 thoughts on “Episode 10: Critiques VS Destructive Criticism”

  1. Only 1/3 through listening to this ep, but it’s sooooo cathartic. A few years back, I lost what I had previously considered a very good friendship because I let her critique my stories. At first her crits was great and insightful and we were totally on the same wavelength, but then I guess my writing interests took a turn she didn’t like, because suddenly it was all “people don’t act like this, have you ever met a real person???” and “this story is too sad why are you mad at me I’m just trying to help you tell HAPPIER STORIES.”

    She wouldn’t let it go and she wouldn’t let it go, and even when I stopped letting her crit stories before they were finished, she’d read them after they were finished and try to tell me everything that she thought was wrong with them anyway. She was really offended that my writing had changed from what she originally liked about it, and I was really offended that she wouldn’t show me the respect of keeping her opinions about what I should be writing instead to herself.

    I’ve been crit-shy since then. At first it actually helped me, since I let the above situation go on longer than it should have. I really let her get into my head, and I needed some time and space to take back MY stories and stop worrying about whether I should have actually listened to her constructive crits or not. But at some point I really need to stick my toes back in the water of letting other people help me with my stories. Maybe the other 2/3 of the podcast will help me with that. I’m going to listen to it now. I just wanted to stop and say thank you for the validation I found in the first part of it.

    1. This is why I was pushing so hard to get this episode in our immediate roster. I wanted is as our second episode, but I’m glad it got pushed back because I had even more experience with the Crit from Hell, so more to share with others what to ignore. It’s hard for many of us to deal with pushy negativity. I’m sorry you dealt with this, but at least you ultimately didn’t let it kill the YOU that you put in your stories.

  2. Soooo….. I think I was one of the bug hunters you specifically called out on the episode for not following directions (if it makes a difference, I really thought I was following the directions to tell you where someone new to the series would be confused!). Although all my notes were sincere and meant to help, I obviously missed the mark.

    So my next step is to work on my critique abilities. My question is, since this episode showed how detrimental a bad critique can be to a fellow writer, I’m a little gun shy to try again. How can I get better at critiquing (which requires practice and feedback) without wanting to hinder a fellow writer? Additionally, if writers shouldn’t respond back to unhelpful critiques, where should I look for feedback? Thanks!

    1. We’ll do a future episode on how to do better crits. It’s an essential skill for writers, because you learn more from doing great crits of other writers’ work than you do in receiving critiques of your own.

      (BOTH are important. But there’s nothing like recognizing mistakes you’re routinely making in your own work when it shows up in someone else’s to give you a wake-up call.)

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