This is an excellent question. People offering criticism are providing great input. It’s up to us to make the best possible use of it.
It is helpful to keep in mind that when our friends who aren’t writers themselves provide criticism:
- They are usually right that something can be improved
- If one person criticizes something, most likely many other people will feel the same way
Especially if two or more of your readers are bothered by the same thing— that confirms that something in your story can and likely should be improved.
Here is the most important thing to remember:
- They are right when they say something needs to be fixed
- But they are usually wrong when they suggest how to fix it
This is because they aren’t writers. They don’t know how every scene can affect many other scenes that rely on it or are set up by it in some way. Very often, the thing they suggest changing isn’t even what’s really bothering them. It’s up to you as the writer to track down and figure out what’s really bothering them, and to figure out how to fix it yourself.
Then show it to more people and see if you get a different response!