11 Examples of Useless Criticism You’ve Probably Heard Too Many Times

“I didn’t like it.”

1. “I didn’t like it.”

2. “It’s too much like this other thing I read once.”

3. “I wish it would have ended how I hoped it would.”

4. “I have nothing good to say about it.”

5. “I would have written it differently.”

6. “It’s not original enough for me.”

7. “I hated this character.”

8. “The writing style didn’t work.”

9. “It was boring in some parts.”

10. “It didn’t answer all my questions.”

11. “It wasn’t good.”

Most of these statements are opinions. Though every reader is entitled to theirs, good criticism is objective. Or it should be, anyway.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

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15 thoughts on “11 Examples of Useless Criticism You’ve Probably Heard Too Many Times

  1. Thanks for laying out all those opinion (the truth of them made me laugh), and I agree! Constructive criticism is far more helpful for the writer, and reflects better on the commenter.

    1. Very true! Not all constructive criticism is positive, but “good” criticism should never make a writer feel “attacked.” A “this was strong, but this other thing could use some work” kind of approach really helps on both sides.

      1. A while back, I took a creative writing workshop course in which the professor asked everyone to give feedback on a fellow writer’s piece by writing down two things they liked about it and two things they thought might improve the piece. I’m not sure if that is the usual practice at writing workshops, but the lesson has stuck with me ever since! ;3

      2. Our editorial strategy at a magazine I interned for in college was a 3×3 approach — three things the writer did well, and three things they can improve. I still follow that method today and having that balance really helps keep the writer motivated and not feeling like they’re doing a bad job. :)

      3. Very true! I love that writing workshops are such positive and encouraging experiences.

  2. I have received some variation on every one of those. I just shrug them off now … but for a long time I was hurt. Then, I realized that the reviewer hadn’t bothered to write more than a single, generalized sentence about the book and I could give that all the weight it so richly reserved.

    1. Good for you! Writers definitely have to build up a certain level of resistance to these things. It hurts, but you do eventually learn not to take it quite so hard each time it happens.

  3. Excellent article. Too often people review subjectively when they need to be objective when sharing there feedback. I’ve known good writers feel awful about their work after receiving such unhelpful critcism

    1. I completely agree. Opinions are fine, but there’s a right and wrong way to go about sharing them, especially when the writer’s directly involved!

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