It is not enough to be politely battered by agents who are excited by the pitch but not enthusiastic enough about a book to want to represent it or by publishers who either pointedly or casually ignore carefully crafted proposal packages. No, there must be critics who have never published a book or story or article or anything offering their opinion on what is wrong with everything from the pitch to the book in the rudest and rawest language. Becoming disheartened after such onslaughts is not unusual nor is it easier with every attack. One must learn to separate the valuable wheat from the useless chaff.
It all comes back to the writer's vision, experience and knowledge of the characters, setting, pacing, plot and execution. A book I write is not going to be the same as one written by another author. I don't expect it to be and it shouldn't be the same. While it is possible to emulate a certain style or even parody or write an homage to an author or style, in the end a little of the author peers from between the lines.
I find myself reordering sentences of books written by other authors when I read, whether for review or pleasure. It is a natural reaction for anyone who has spent a lot of time critiquing, writing, and editing. However, when it comes time to offer criticism or write the review, it is necessary to put now I would do it on the back burner and focus on what has been written and its overall impact. Stick to the basics.
Telling another writer that you don't like a certain genre, would not write a phrase or chapter in a certain way or telling the writer that a character seems to be an outsider when that is the point of the story and character arcs, is not acceptable. While personal values are part of a reader's like or dislike of any work, unless the criticism can be backed up by valid and constructive arguments, it has no place in the critique process. Keep your opinions to yourself, especially when it comes to the mechanics and structure of a novel. If you do not like a character, that is fine. It is possible the character was not written for you to like them. To judge a complete work on the first few pages or even the first chapter is like going to a technical rehearsal, staying ten minutes while clipping coupons and then writing a review as though you were there on opening night. It's unprofessional and disingenuous. And it is also the way many people in the publishing industry behave. Don't take it personally. It's their problem and not yours.
One unpublished wannabe author commented on a work in progress to tell me he felt my main character was aloof and distant, that she did not seem a part of the community into which she is thrust. Guess what? That is the point. She is on the outside looking in -- for the first few chapters. As the book continues, she is more engaged with the other residents and becomes more involved in their lives and her own; however, she still maintains a little distance because she is not from the same social or economic circumstance as the rest of the community.
The critic also complained that she didn't seem very tense in the situation. I guess he doesn't consider holding oneself aloof and constantly on the alert for intrusion into her personal zone, shying away and maintaining a certain distance as evidence of tension even though he stated that a character laying down a domino on a table is less visual than which domino she laid down, even though the specific domino laid down is mentioned in many places and becomes repititious after a while. Some repetition is necessary since the effect displayed is one of monotony and boredom, but too much is just too much.
There are too types of critics to politely thank and just as politely ignore: critics who offer empty praise and those who offer criticism in a way to make themselves feel superior while knocking you down. Don't take them or their criticism or praise personally. It's all about them and not about you. Take all criticism with a grain -- or block -- of salt. Stick to the plan and write what you know. There will always be those who will tear down what you've built and those who will not take the time to do more than compliment something just because everyone else is doing so. Be true to yourself and your characters. Learn from others' mistakes and keep honing and polishing the prose. In the long run, you will be happier.
Remember Margaret Mitchell who wrote Gone With the Wind and the 38 publishers who turned her down, the 130 publishers who called Jonathan Livingston Seagull new age garbage and Stephen King who, frustrated and tired of rejection, threw a short story in the garbage his wife Tabitha rescued and urged him to finish that eventually became his first commercial success, Carrie. There are thousands of stories just like these and more about writers attacking other writers because they didn't like the author or their books, even though the authors and their books long outlived their detractors' works and have become classics.
Like preparing wheat for use, winnow the wheat from the chaff and let the wind take the chaff. It doesn't matter where it lands. Even if it lands in fertile soil, it will not grow. There is nothing useful in it.