Another, rare “Friends Only” post. I must be feeling furtive.
Four critiques from Critters so far. It’s been a mixed bag. I’m trying to be introspective-ish and determine whether I’m feeling argumentative or if I just hit two in a row that were abnormally ucky. Typically, I rattle off a fairly short, neutral “thank you” to my critiques regardless of what they say (unless I know the person or they say something interesting or their critique was particularly helpful, in which case my “thank you”s are often longer and chatty). But this time, I took up arms not once but TWICE. Not because I had problems with what they said in their critiques regarding whether they liked something, or whether the story worked for them, but because one of them was wrong and the other seemed either terribly misguided or terribly judgmental.
One critter informed me that I should decrease my use of adverbs. Now, “less is more with adverbs” is a philosophy I agree with, and espouse. But then he went on to point out instances of my “adverb” usage to illustrate his point. To whit:
“The words hung like gossamer threads before fading away.”
Do you see an adverb in there? I don’t. He took issue with the “like gossamer threads” part. That isn’t an adverb; it’s a simile. My similes, metaphors, symbolism, and analogies are intentional, often carefully and painstakingly crafted constructs. They ain’t no adverbs.
Okay, English grammar is confusing. I’ve had people say dumber things in critiques, no biggie. But then he went on to say that I overused personal pronouns and it was a “woman thing” to do so. The sentence in question: “She stroked a paw over her soft ear.” This critter thought I should change “her” to “the.” Aside from the character in question (a rabbit), there’s a bear and a roomful of men in this room. I think I’m well within my rights to point out whose ear is being stroked. Fine, he didn’t agree. But it’s girlie to use personal pronouns? WTF?
Then I got a critique from someone who apparently had some major issues with the subject matter. I did warn at the very top that there was “Mention of graphic violence and child abuse” in it–yes, in my bunny and bear story. It’s also clearly labeled as horror. But she read it anyway. Her comments:
“It’s well-suited to a dark fantasy-horror publication, one with a readership that craves twisted tales of abuse and murder. Hopefully in such a magazine, it would serve as a catharsis to whatever antisocial urges the readers possess, and not as a springboard propelling those with pre-existing psychological and/or sexual aberrations to justify re-enacting the depressing deeds -i.e. rape as entertainment – herein described.”
I got the implication here that she thinks that all readers (and writers) of horror and dark fantasy are sickos who have antisocial urges and “pre-existing psychological and/or sexual aberrations” that they unleash by reading/writing, which otherwise they’d slake in some less socially acceptable manner. *blink*
Maybe I’m reading too much into these critiques, but they served to miff me. I haven’t sent my responses yet. I’m sitting on them until I’m certain I want to. Normally I consider myself thick-skinned when it comes to both feedback and rejection. Is it me, or did I coincidentally run into two extremes in a row?