Please take fair warning - this class is more like a rant....
One of the hardest things that anyone can take is criticism. No one really wants to admit it, but it's the truth: it hurts to hear that you suck at something. Even constructive criticism can hurt someone's feelings. The problem is, nowadays there has been a rise of what I like to call the "Mean Girl Epidemic" and it's starting to leak into fandoms and cause lots of drama. So much so that people are quitting: they are giving up their stories, pulling the ones they have listed, and walking away. Why? Because someone skipped class the day in kindergarten when the golden rule was taught.
Or at least forgot how to be respectful enough to express their opinions in a decent manner.
I know that there is going to be some negative reviews out there. I've been on the receiving end of them just as much as all of you have. The problem is not leaving a negative review, but doing so nicely.
Carrie had shared with me: In one of my recent fics I took a lot of flak for how I ended it, and it was the first time I'd been openly called conceited, a cocktease, and a "fucking bitch" over anything I wrote. That didn't feel good, particularly because it took me by surprise; I thought everyone would understand where I'd been going with the story and I was genuinely horrified to find out that that wasn't the case.
Why do people think that being this rude is okay? Would you have appreciated being called those things? I'm betting you wouldn't have. So what makes you think that speaking like this to another person would have been okay? It's not, plain and simple.
There have been many fics that I have read that have not ended the way I have liked, or would have ended myself, but that never made me leave a nasty review that stooped to name calling. I have found a polite way of responding that expressed my opinion politely: I adore your story, but the ending kind of broke my heart. Part of me wished for a happy ending, but I follow what you did and why you left it that way. I look forward to reading your new fic when posted!
That particular writer was so happy that I had said something nice about the way she had ended her story, that she took the time to email me back and express such feelings. We started to talk and she explained that her idea of a happy ending was not mine. After a lengthy discussion, I understood why she wrote it the way she did, and she offered to write a happy ending for me. I politely declined, because I'd rather a story stay in it's true form than be changed because of my desires.
So my lesson for this month is simply this: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Or in a more modern day "Mean Girl" way - Quit being such a bitch, and grow the frak up. Not everything has to be about you.