The Power of Constructive Criticism

Regardless of what we create, whether it be novels, art, music, or fine cuisine, a large part of why we continue to do so rests with the feedback we receive from those who are willing to try what we’re putting out there. We seek validation that our efforts have not been in vain, wasting time and energy. It’s vitally important to the creative process to know what people truly think of our work. Realizing this does not soften the blow of criticism, but if it is rendered properly in a constructive fashion with valid suggestions offered, criticism can be the ultimate incentive to carry on and the stamp of validation for doing what we love.

As a writer and author, I hunger for acceptance from my readers, thirsting for their opinions of my works they’ve read. I find myself to be incredibly thin-skinned in these regards with visions of five-star ratings dancing through my head. The reality is far from the usual song and dance, partying behind my eyeballs. Five-star ratings can easily and quickly lead to a false sense of comfort that is problematic to seeing the proper reflection in the writing mirror. Unlike the wicked queen’s mirror, this one on the review wall tends to mislead the one seeking only the truest answers, asking, “Mirror, mirror on the wall is this rating truest of all?”

Readers’ Favorite enters the blog and mirrored room. Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure and honor to request reviews of my books through one of the best, if not the best groups out there for authors and readers, Readers’ Favorite. I’ve also entered a few of my books in their prestigious Awards Contest. As far as their reviews are concerned, I can attest when you ask RF’s reviewers, you will receive the true answers you seek from their mirrors, minus any smoke. You’ll be given an in-depth review, emphasizing both likes and concerns with constructive criticism from top professionals.

Recently, I was given the lowest review of any piece I’ve published from one of their fine reviewers. Before this three-star rating, I’d received fives and fours, but even these higher ratings came with excellent suggestions as to how to improve my writing within the piece being reviewed. I will not name the reviewer of my novelette, CHRISTMAS PAST: AN ANGEL’S STORY, but I will say her review of my story was absolutely fabulous, actually illuminating. With plenty of details, this reviewer for Readers’ Favorite expertly conveyed the aspects of my tale she found to be very good. While doing so, she made several pertinent suggestions as to how I could improve my story. This is a normal practice of their reviewers, but the unexpected thing here was, what else she offered was totally unique. She advised if I would take her suggestions and try to incorporate them, or at least some of them, within my story, she would be proud to own it for her collection of Christmas stories. She affirmed it was that good. She strongly suggested I do it, and if I was game to do so, to see to it she received the new version.Needless to say, for a while, I was speechless. My immediate reaction was one of disappointment for the lowest rating I’d received to date on any of my works, but in a flash, this dread evaporated faster than a pleasant dream when I realized her review was the best one I’d had the honor to receive. It was and is perfect.

Needless to say, for a while, I was speechless. My immediate reaction was one of disappointment for the lowest rating I’d received to date on any of my works, but in a flash, this dread evaporated faster than a thin dream when I realized her review was the best one I’d had the honor to receive. It was and is perfect. In a single review, my expectations and apprehensions of my books’ reviews changed for the better. It is no exaggeration to say a common burden of doubt had been obliterated.

After thinking seriously about her suggestions, I wrote detailed comments to her review at Readers’ Favorite, stating how pleased I was with her entire offering. I informed her that her expert opinions would be taken to heart, and per her advice, the story would be improved as best I could. Within a day or two of posting my comments, a representative of RF emailed me, thanking me for my comments and offering to pass my updated story on to my reviewer when I was finished with it.

It took a couple of months to redo the piece because I had other new and older works in the publishing process, but it was completed and forwarded to Readers’ Favorite. Their rep also advised the newer version would be presented to another of their reviewers for a second read and rating. By this time, I was so inspired by these entire events that I also created a new cover for CHRISTMAS PAST: AN ANGEL’S STORY. Of all my new, cover mockups, it was the chosen favorite by others and me

As for me, it would be impossible to have a better opinion of the review staff over at Readers’ Favorite! They are the best at what they do, and this is why they are the premier choice of authors and readers for judging the quality of what we write and read.

Whether you are a reader or writer, it isn’t so much what you ask as it is whom you ask. Criticism, when offered constructively, can be a powerful force in the creative process, and within the mirrored mix, a kind voice can become both muse and mentor while the organization and group she works with soars above their competition.

I hope you and they will enjoy my Christmas story.

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2 Responses to The Power of Constructive Criticism

  1. Silver Moon says:

    Beautiful book cover! It shows you have a great strength of character to understand and consider any kind of criticism. This is an inspiring book and I am proud to own it!

    • ronshaw says:

      Silver, your kind comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you also for reading my writing and for supporting me. There’s nothing better than hearing from those who enjoy your work. God bless you.

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