Troll

Troll


I can see you
Behind your black screen
A pretty picture
A beautiful dream
Crawl back into
Your dark little hole
Beneath your lonely bridge
You great filthy troll


Words: ©2019LCR
Image: CCO
Submitted to: Poet's United - Moonlight Musing #1

Nowhere To Go But Up - An Exploration of Negative Criticism

I am a firm advocate for constructive criticism, both positive and negative.  I love hearing from readers, what they like (positive) and what they don't like (negative) about my writing.  If I have not expressed an idea clearly enough and it's become lost or if I have missed the mark entirely I'm quite happy to hear how I could have written something better, that is the constructive aspect to criticism, building up to create something stronger and more cohesive.   But negative feedback that strives to attack, tear down, or pull apart, well that's not criticism, it's opinion.  And while everyone is entitled to their opinions they aren't valid arguments as negative criticism.  I was once told my writing was "the worst thing I have ever read!"  Well, thank you for your feedback, but that is opinion not negative criticism.   Opinions do not depend on intellectual analysis whereas criticism does.  Even negative criticism needs to be based on some sort of intellectual analysis so unless you can tell me why my writing is "the worst ever" it's just an opinion.  Negative criticism to me will always help create a better write, as it will pick apart what is weak to help create something stronger.  And once you've been torn down, there's nowhere to go but up!



Comments

  1. I really love that this reads like an incantation, a bit of magic to banish the pesky undesirables. I also think it's a very healthy way to deal with the problem.

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    1. Thank you. I added a piece at the end as I strayed from your prompt request for a short article so added that beneath. The poem was inspired by that particular reader so it was a good place to get the thought process rolling. It does sound like a banishment spell doesn't it! Lol! Maybe that's why I haven't been bothered by any trolls since! :)

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    2. I completely agree. Vague generalizations about someone's work do nothing for anyone. Not even the nice ones--like "Nice piece" and "Love this"--help a whole lot. The latter are sweeter and so much easier to digest, but... they are saying nothing.

      I love that you pointed out that there is a difference between negative criticism and empty nastiness. I, too, appreciate when a reader tells me, "I'm not sure what this is saying." This gives me a chance to rework the piece in a way that helps her or him (and probably others) understand what I'm getting at. We might not always be able to accomplish this with everyone, but trying makes us better writer (and, many times, wiser people).

      Thank you so much for adding the prose. The combination of poem and explanation works very well for our interactive musings.

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  2. Very well said. I took a creative writing course at a college, and the hallmark of critiquing was that it be, as you say, CONSTRUCTIVE, and also offered in a positive manner. i agree about opinions. They are only that. Tearing down someone's work will not yield good results for anyone.

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    1. Yes. That was my experience in school as well with peer evaluations. You can't just say to someone "I liked it" or I didn't like it" you need to provide examples of why you did or didn't like it if you want the feedback to be constructive, and it should stay within the context of the work. We should definitely be working to build each other up.

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  3. I can't tolerate "tear down" criticism. I can be wrong, my writing wrong, and I am all for critique, but just to be ugly for ugly's sake is something I don't let get inside my skin.

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    1. Precisely! You can disagree with my writing or my viewpoint, but there’s nothing ok with a personal attack. But when t happens best let it flow off like water off a duck’s back. Shouldn’t let it ruffle those feathers!

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  4. You are right. Any criticism be it positive or negative, without malice should be accepted. It helps us grow as writers. Trolls are to be treated as worms.

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    1. Yes, I think it has everything to do with intent. Thank you!

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  5. I love the troll spell, Lori, sending the negativity back under the bridge! I will remember that. As someone who has survived some tough writing groups, with a handful of people who thought they knew better than everyone else, I have learnt to appreciate constructive criticism. I don’t know which was more intimidating, being stared at by a real person, with a sneer on his face, or reading quite spiteful criticism on-line. But I survived it and hope that it’s made a difference to my writing. You are right: the spiteful kind is just opinion, with nothing to support it.

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    1. It's really hard. I have to say it knocked the wind out of my sails. But I took a good deep breath and came back to it with a positive (well neutral) reply. That's a tough call... reading your poetry aloud in front of a group of people makes it that much more personal, because now it's not just what is written, but how it's read, and that opens up even more doorways for personal criticism. In either case it does make us stronger to have survived.

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  6. Yeah, comments like "the worst ever" just seem super lazy, designed to impart nothing other than meanness. It's awesome you've learned to see those words for what they are--sheer nonsense babbled by people whose only pleasure comes from getting a rise out of other people.

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    1. Yes, being mean for meanness sake. If someone doesn't like something I write I have no problem with that, but saying so just to hurt my self-esteem is pretty base. I try to think that they're coming from a place that is already quite low and they're trying to drag me down so in turn I try to lift them up or at least not sink to their level.

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  7. I like the distinction between positive criticism which bills, and opinions that are negative. Your writing is perfect, by the way.

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    1. Thank you. While maybe not perfect, I do think I write me best.

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  8. I too love the troll spell, and the picture you found. I think ‘lonely’ is indeed the word for such people. Was interested to read your thoughtful reflections too; good distinction between criticism and opinion.

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate that very much.

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  9. Lori, your troll visited me with those words also I like your writing, to me it is poetry. I'm not always sure about mine but I do enjoy writing something that others may like a little bit to read.
    That is me, a retired person with two careers, a business teacher and an aerospace engineer, who likes to write, poetry when it qualifies.
    ..

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    1. Thank you. As long as I like what I’m writing anyone else is a bonus. And I like your writing too.

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