|Posted on Friday, June 10, 2005 - 12:06 pm: |
What's your take on criticism and how it affects you.
Here is a small sample of some of what was said about my work in the early to mid-Nineties:
"He's unique all right, but the same way the Elephant Man was, a freak who becomes a fad"
—Darrell Schweitzer re DFL in "CRYPT OF CTHULHU".
"...the disconnected, rambling, plotless, pointless, babbling monologues of free association and non sequiturs that DF Lewis blasphemously calls fiction"
—Charles S Fallis in SCAVENGER’S NEWSLETTER
"Okay, let's get straight to it. This collection of short stories is unbelievable. No, really, it's that unique. I'm pretty certain that never before have so many non-sequiturs, cliches, bathetic howlers and just plain inept grand guignols been gathered together in the one place. It is astonishing. Pages of incomprehensible prose studded with ridiculous imagery and buffoonesque phrasing. Just awesome."
—SCIENCE FICTION EYE on BEST OF DFL chapbook.
And many more from that era are shown in the middle of this page here:
I let both good and bad reviews ride over me. Hope people don't get either too elated or depressed by reviews or comments on your work - or as the poet says: treat Disaster and Triumph as both impostors!
|Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2005 - 02:54 am: |
> I let both good and bad reviews ride over me.
Des, to be honest I don't think you do. I think you take them to heart. If you let them ride over you, you wouldn't even raise the issue in the first place.
In general, regading the value of reviews, it depends what you want from a writing 'career'. If good reviews can be used successfully in marketing your work to potential publishers then they are certainly useful.
But I believe they are overrated as such tools. Pete Crowther of PS Publishing, for instance, has little time for contributors who 'big up' their own work with positive reviews when submitting material to him.
|Posted on Saturday, June 11, 2005 - 03:20 am: |
Rhys, I think feedback is a context for my long-term hobby or labour-of-love: literary experiments in depersonalisation and seeking a unified morality from among the Synchronised Shards of Random Truth & Fiction: 'difficult' extrapolative empathy in the art of fiction writing: eschatology/scatology: vexed texture of text: creating/distributing the multi-authored anthologies entitled 'Nemonymous'... Some people have even written stories as DFL, for example in the recent book entitled 'A New Universal History of Infamy' (MoW Press 2004).
Feedback for me however does not act as a fill-up or drain on my resources.
|Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 03:01 am: |
Rhys also mentioned an editor/publisher who has "little time for contributors who 'big up' their own work with positive reviews when submitting material to him."
The best way is reading submissions by anonymous email, I find.
|Posted on Sunday, June 12, 2005 - 04:17 am: |
There's an interesting theory that taking too much notice of critics can be your own 'resistance' speaking. In other words, it's easy to take the advice of those ubiquitous naysayers (people who tell you constantly you will never get anywhere), or further down the line, bad reviewers, as an excuse not to extend the massive effort needed to actually do the work. There is an excellent book on this subject, 'The War of Art' by Steven Pressfield. He details his own very strenuous fight against resistance (which practically killed him), but went on to write 'The Legend Of Bagger Vance' and 'Gates of Fire'. This is hands down the most motivating book I have *ever* read - and before anyone ever reads another 'How to Write' book, they should try reading this.
I think criticism can be very useful - especially if it correlates to something you think already. Also it's handy to see it from a different point of view. I think you should take notice of it, but never to the point where it becomes destructive or threatens the creative core.
(Actually I have to add that my artwork occupies a different category entirely and has been criticised to death for much of my life. I can categorically state that I have not taken a single iota of notice of it. Maybe that's a good policy after all - who knows?)