Which is better, positive or the negative feedback?
I'll tell you, since I ask. It's negative feedback.
I'm talking about proper negative feedback, the sort that helps you be a better writer.
For instance, my editor tore up my run-on sentences. She tore into my weaker constructs, and forced me to be precise and clear on my scenes.
It was the first time someone had given me negative feedback. Truly. People have said they don't like my writing, or said they didn't like that story, but that's not feedback -- that's an opinion. Fine, I say, you're ugly.
When folks tell me they like my writing, it inspires me to write more, and I can tell it's a clean spot in my work.
But you know the best compliment of all? It's when a fierce critic says nothing at all.
Take my editor. Please.
It was during my final edit for Out of the Great Black Nothing (see sidebar). My editor ripped up every chapter. It was a bloodbath. If you've ever been gutted like a fish, you'll know what I mean.
Except for one chapter.
It happened to be my favorite chapter of the book.
She read it through without a mark. She said nothing about it, except she moved to the next chapter and continued working that filet knife in and out, in and out.
Anyway, I stand by my belief that negative feedback is what makes you a better writer -- properly fed back, that is.
What do you think? Is negative feedback the best way to improve? Not just for writing, but for any activity you are trying to master.