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"It's Not Scary" or How Not To Write A Critique

I'm sure all of us have found something of various media and decided to give our proverbial two cents about it. Creepypasta is no exception. However, I've noticed that several reviews of various stories (regardless of how good or bad they are) tend to be rather poor themselves.

Here are just a couple common cliches I've found regarding poor reviewing skills and why they are so-

1. "(Insert story here) is not scary so the story sucks"

This is poor criticism for a few reasons. First, what people constitute as scary is subjective. What one person may find scary, another may find rather mundane. Second, it doesn't explain why the critic didn't find the story scary. At no point do they ever elaborate on why they feel there is a significant lack of horror in the tale. This is important since horror writers depend on knowing what their audiences find scary. Finally, a lack of scariness doesn't automatically make the story in-and-of itself terrible. It fails to be a horror story, yes, but it doesn't detract from other aspects of the tale. Whether or not a story is scary has nothing to do with its grammar, spelling, and so forth.

2. "(Insert story here) is not realistic so it sucks"

This one's a bit of a double-edged sword, erm, so to speak. On the one hand, writing a story does require one to suspend the reader's disbelief. And, when a story fails to enage the audience in such a way, it can make the experience less enjoyable. However, that being said, there is a big difference between "realistic" and "factual". Even movies, books, etc. based on real life events are going to have some artistic liscence when it comes to what is portrayed on screen (or in writing) and what actually happened. On the other extreme, many fantasy and sci-fi stories attempt to make their worlds as believable as possible (even when they include things that are simply impossible). In either case, the story is going to have flaws in how realistic it is. The issue isn't whether or not the story is "realistic", but rather how well the writer is capable of making the unbelievable seem possible or plausable.

There are others, but that's all I could think of at the moment. I hope this helps future critics out there.

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