How to Handle Negative Criticism by J.G. Źymbalist – Guest Blog and Giveaway

VBT_SongOfTheOceanides_Banner copy

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to handle negative criticism

The best way to handle negative criticism is to do nothing at first. Just absorb the blow or insult or whatever it is. A glass of wine is not a bad way to cope in the short term. After a day or two, once the wound has healed at least a little bit, then you’ll be able to let yourself be a little bit more objective. Now you can draw up a plan of action by which to fix the problem. To do this, you must return to fundamentals—that is to say, the craft of fiction. The central negative criticism might pertain to character, setting, dialogue, movement of time, tone, or point of view, but for most, the criticism will probably have something to do with plot. Whatever the problem is or seems to be, only by looking at the craft of the thing can you determine whether or not the negation is totally justified or not.

If you’re not going to give in to the negative criticism or make any big changes the next time you write a novel or short story or whatever, then, for your own peace of mind and pedagogy, you’ve got to come up with two or three good reasons why the criticism is undeserved. This is the only way to ensure that you’re not being unreasonable or callow or spiteful.

I might also add one other way to handle criticism. You should be aware of the fact that many (not all) detractors will be guilty of projection. In other words, they’ll trash you only because they see in your imperfections their own imperfections. There is no one who will be more guilty of this than the proverbial “bull$h!t artist” academic type. Anyway, just knowing how common the psychological phenomenon of projection is might also help to ease your wounded ego.

MediaKit_BookCover_SongOfTheOceanidesSong of the Oceanides is a highly-experimental triple narrative transgenre fantasy that combines elements of historical fiction, YA, myth and fairy tale, science fiction, paranormal romance, and more. For ages 10-110.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Blue Hill, Maine.
3 August, 1903.

From the moment Emmylou heard the song of the Oceanides, she recognized something godly in the tune. As it resounded all across the desolate shoreline of Blue Hill Bay, she recalled the terrible chorus mysticus ringing all throughout that extinct Martian volcano the day her father went missing down in the magma chamber.
Aunt Belphœbe followed along, guiding Maygene through the sands. “Why don’t you go play in that shipwreck over there?” Aunt Belphœbe pointed toward a fishing schooner run aground some fifty yards to the south.

When Maygene raced off, Emmylou refused to follow. By now the chorus of song tormented her so much that an ache had awoken all throughout her clubfoot. Before long she dropped her walking stick and fell to the earth. Closing her eyes, she dug both her hands into the sands and lost herself in memories of the volcano. How could Father be gone? Though he had often alluded to the perils of Martian vulcanology, she never imagined that someone so good and so wise could go missing.

The song of the Oceanides grew a little bit louder and increasingly dissonant.

Opening her eyes, Emmylou listened very closely. The song sounded like the stuff of incantation, witchcraft. And even though she could not comprehend every word, nevertheless she felt certain that the Oceanides meant to cast a spell upon some unfortunate soul.

About the Author:



J.G. Źymbalist began writing Song of the Oceanides as a child when his family summered in Castine, Maine where they rented out Robert Lowell’s house.

The author returned to the piece while working for the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society, May-September, 2005. He completed the full draft in Ellsworth, Maine later that year.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

NOTE: The book is on sale for $0.99. Free for Kindle Unlimited Members or as part of Kindle MatchBook. Buy the book at Amazon.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for hosting

  2. James Robert says:

    I appreciate the chance at winning the great giveaway you brought to us, thank you

  3. Mai T. says:

    What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

    • Mai,
      My most interesting writing quirk would probably have to be my sometimes rather poetic imagism. Editors call it “sensual.” Whatever the case may be, I can’t avoid it. Almost all of my background is in poetry. I even earned an MFA degree in poetry before realizing that prose is where I belong. This fact always makes me cringe because that MFA degree was expensive.

  4. Hello everyone!
    Thank you to Long and Short Reviews for permitting me to guest blog here! Oh, and I do apologize if my comments have offended anyone.
    I hope I didn’t come off as too bitter.
    One other thing: I’m not sure why my author photo lists “Olympus Digital Camera” as the photographer. The woman working that Olympus Digital Camera was the great Jeannette Palsa. Google her name to find out about a really great Ohio artist!

  5. momjane says:

    What a fascinating and exciting sounding excerpt. I loved itl.

  6. Rita Wray says:

    I enjoyed the excerpt. Sounds like a good read.

  7. Becky Richardson says:

    What comes first for you–the story or the characters?

    • Becky,

      Thank you for the question. For me, character and story are so closely related that they both come more or less simultaneously. Even setting and time frame come fairly quickly. For me the struggle is dialogue. It is crucial too because a character cannot seem real unless he or she has a genuine voice. In other words, to give each character a specific and credible voice is to breathe life into the character. And it’s not easy!


  8. Cali W. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. 🙂

  9. nice excerpt

  10. Victoria says:

    Really awesome post! I greatly enjoyed reading it, thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. To everyone at Long and Short Reviews,

    Thank you for hosting me today! You’ve got a great blog! I’ve been writing all day, and I’m about ready to pass out; as such, I’m going to sleep now. I know the night is young, but I’m old and weary. Thank you too to everyone posting nice comments. Sorry if I don’t reply straight away. My cat and I must sleep!


  12. James Robert says:

    Stopping by to say hello and also thanking you for the giveaway

  13. I really enjoyed reading the excerpt and the guest post. This book sounds like such an interesting read. Looking forward to checking out this book.

  14. Nikolina says:

    I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

  15. James Robert says:

    Thank you once again for the giveaway and have a fun Friday!

  16. James Robert says:

    Have an amazing fun filled Saturday and thank you for this giveaway

  17. James Robert says:

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the terrific moms out there and thank YOU for this giveaway

  18. I just love the book cover, it’s amazing!

  19. James Robert says:

    We’re at the beginning of another great week and once again I thank you for this giveaway

  20. James Robert says:

    Have an awesome, fun Wednesday and I appreciate you giving us the chance to win

  21. James Robert says:

    Have a fun filled Saturday and thank you for the giveaway

  22. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

  23. James Robert says:

    Wishing you a blessed Sunday and thanking you for the giveaway

    • Thank you, and I hope you and everyone are having a blessed Sunday.

      “Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.”

  24. I have added this book to my TBR list and look forward to reading this book!

    • Ally and everyone,
      Please know that I have only just decided to offer Song of the Oceanides for free, and it should be available as such within the next week. It will also be available soon for apple and nook users as well as kindle users. Yippee! I just feel that my book has spiritual and cathartical value and that it can help people. That’s why I really want people to read it–or at least give it a chance.

  25. James Robert says:

    Thanks for the terrific giveaway and hope you have an outstanding weekend.

  26. James Robert says:

    Sunday blessings and thanks again for the chance to win

  27. James Robert says:

    Happy Monday and thanks so much for the giveaway

  28. James Robert says:

    Good Afternoon and thanks for the great giveaway

  29. James Robert says:

    Wishing you a great Memorial Day weekend. Be safe and enjoy and would like to salute all those who have given their lives in defense of this country. Thank you for this giveaway as well

  30. James Robert says:

    Stopping by and thanking you for giving us the opportunity to win. Have a great Sunday!

  31. James Robert says:

    Happy Memorial Day and saying thank you to all our military men and women who served our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice. God Bless our Military men and women and their families.
    Thanks for this opportunity to win this giveaway

  32. James Robert says:

    Terrific giveaway and I want to thank you for the opportunity to win it.

  33. James Robert says:

    Hope your weekend is great and thanking you for the giveaway

  34. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to reading this book!

  35. James Robert says:

    Sunday blessings to all and thanks so much for the opportunity to win

  36. James Robert says:

    Monday so soon? Hope you have a great week and thank you for the chance to win

  37. James Robert says:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to offer us this giveaway

  38. James Robert says:

    Happy Friday and thanks so much for the chance to win your great giveaway

  39. James Robert says:

    Have a fun Saturday and I want you to know how much I appreciate the giveaway. Thank You!

  40. James Robert says:

    Thank you for the giveaway and all the work put into this.

  41. James Robert says:

    Good Morning and thank you for this opportunity you have given us to win

  42. James Robert says:

    Happy Monday! Weekend sure went by quick. Thank you for the giveaway

    • James, isn’t this an ironic day? On the one hand, it’s a Monday. On the other hand, it’s the first day of summer.
      Here in Ohio it’s a beautiful perfect day, and no one is even working. Everyone is celebrating the Cavs’ NBA championship. It sort of feels like the end of WWII.

  43. James Robert says:

    Good Afternoon! Have a terrific day and thank you for the chance to win

  44. Ree Dee says:

    The excerpt has made me want to learn more about the book, I can’t wait to read more. Thank you.

    • Thank you Ree. Last night I actually spoke with someone who read the whole thing, and it was the funniest encounter because she kept theorizing about what things in the book were autobiographical. I must say I felt a little bit embarrassed. Anyway thank you again for your good cheer.

  45. clojo9372 says:

    Thank you for your awesome post! I think dealing with negative criticism is one of the hardest things for any artist. I’ll be honest enough to admit that it’s the reason I don’t put much out there of myself because of my fear of being trashed. Thank you for your good advice! 🙂

  46. James Robert says:

    Have a terrific weekend and thanks so much for this giveaway

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