Screenwriting : What if someone tells you your a bad writer? by Emily Ann Jefferson

Emily Ann Jefferson

What if someone tells you your a bad writer?

Let's say you go on stage32 and you ask for notes on your writing. You get the notes two weeks later and they say this. Your writing is awful, you should just stop writing. When you ask them why it sucks they say it's gay and it sucks. Do you take people like this seriously? And what are you supposed to do?

RIchard Kenyon

Always consider the source! I would think that fellow artists that are using such inflammatory language like "it's gay and it sucks" may not be the most positive or best resource. Let that stuff go straight to the garbage bin. I have a few industry colleagues that I share my work with and they give me clear and cogent, albeit sometimes very difficult notes. I learned that once ego was taken out of the equation everything became clearer and not personal. Just my two cents. I hope this helps.

Jacob Buterbaugh

Don't worry about it. Even IF it's bad... Bad writing, bad acting, bad filmmaking, bad whatever, being bad at something really isn't a big deal. If you keep at it, you'll keep getting better at you, and pretty soon you'll be good at it. Just DON'T QUIT! And don't seek opinions or advice from just anyone. A person who would say "it's gay and it sucks" probably never intended to give you constructive criticism anyway, which is the only reason why you would be interested in their opinions or their advice. Pretty much, unless someone has written, produced, directed, shot, acted in, edited, crewed on, or distributed a feature film (i.e., someone who's further along in the industry than you), I probably wouldn't seek their opinions or their advice about anything.

Dan MaxXx

I would seek more feedback. If everyone says the Writing sucks, then u gotta face truth- the Writing sucks. either fix it, learn the 'tools' of storytelling, or move on to something else. And there's no shame to move on. writing is a craft. some people rise, many fail. It's like going to Cooking School. Some become Head Chefs, and some end up as career line Cooks. If u love movies, u can still find self reward working as a Editor, Gaffer, Advertising, whatever gives u the movie rush. A career Screenwriter, meaning that is your only job and u make $$$, is a Rock Star gig. Again, no shame to be part of the band than the Rock Star.

Dan Guardino

I had that happen to me once after an agent read my first screenplay. I decided to keep writing screenplays and had some success while that agent is waiting on tables. If you are worried have a professional look at one of your scripts and see if you need some help.

Wayne Taylor

What Dan said. Both of 'em.

Aray Brown

I would seek more feedback. That kind of criticism isn't counter productive and stems from a (dare I say it?) hater.

Christopher Binder

Ignore them.

Wayne Taylor

Feedback is VITAL to writers. Sometimes it's helpful and flattering, other times not. I usually never take advice from 1 review unless it deals with typos and grammar. Try and get at least 3 reviews. Look them over and start with the things they all seem to agree on. I usually don't pay for pro coverage until I have done several rewrites and think it's as good as I can do.

Anthony Moore

Ignore this person and delete them from your network. They are obviously not old enough nor qualified enough to review anything. Get a few reviews from people who are more on your level. There are several people on Stage32 who would be willing to give you an honest review and be able to give specific pointers on how to improve your writing. Whether its formatting, spelling, dialogue or any other common writing errors, there are people here who are willing to help. All you have to do is ask.

David M Hyde

Honest feedback is vital in any learning process, which is what asking for feedback is, a learning process. But this type of response is not worth the time it takes for you to read it. I would venture to say that whomever wrote that response doesn't get it. Bravo to you for reaching out. Keep trying, keep learning. Find someone else that can give you helpful feedback.

Dan Guardino

I agree honest feedback is vital but saying something like "Your writing is awful, you should just stop writing" is not giving honest feedback. Someone giving feedback should critique the screenplay not the screenwriter.

Dan Guardino

Emily. I don't have time to read an entire screenplay but if you want me to read between five and ten pages I will give you honest feedback.

Keith A Jessop

I'd like to believe that no-one on this forum would say anything like that! We're all about support and constructive criticism. Besides, nobody over the age of 20 would describe any piece of writing as "gay", except, perhaps, Oscar Wilde - but he would mean something totally different.

Keith A Jessop

Also, if they said "your a bad writer" then they clearly are! Obviously, they should have said "you're a bad writer".

Maroun Rached

Seek the opinion of a professional script consultant; I met one very thorough on Stage32.

Wayne Taylor

A few years ago I boarded this Rollercoaster journey of writing. A fellow writer gave me a scathing review of a new script and one of the things he said was "you can't write." It was hurtful but I took a step back and reevaluated my skills. I concluded he was correct and changed my style. Obviously your reviewer came off as a jerk, but maybe you should reevaluate your script, grow an extra layer of skin, and get more feedback. Who knows, maybe the reviewer was trying to be funny.

C Christian Andersen

Sounds like you found a jealous amateur. I wouldn't take it personal. If they can't tell you what is wrong with it other than it's gay and sucks (two descriptions a true Writer would never use) then ask someone with some experience to read it and give honest feedback.

Aray Brown

@Emily Is the same script I read? If not, hit me up. You're writing doesn't suck at all

Joseph Caine

First of all, like others are saying, those individuals' remarks are hardly valid, constructive criticism. They aren't worth your time. Even so, even if your writing was "bad," keep at it no matter what. Two things can happen: 1) you may find your writing isn't as bad as you thought, even if some "professional" writer or film geek tells you otherwise, and 2) you will inevitably get better, especially if you have a real passion for it (almost no one [and I'm not exaggerating] finds any of my writing or ideas in the least bit appealing, but I keep going despite all the shrugs, eye rolls, and outright insults, because I love doing it). Again, don't let idiots drag you down.

Sammer Abu AlRagheb

Easy remedy, I ignore their critiquing and never take personally. also never send them any of my work ever. There is no such thing as an awful artist. what you hate about my writing, to another it could be gold.

Craig D Griffiths

Let's just assume you are always trying to improve (feedback, reading scripts etc). Why are you writing? 1) for money..... Consider your options, like finding a better job. 2) because you love writing (f**k them, they can't take your joy with bad praise). I got some feedback that started with "this is crap...". I loving look back at that and smile. You can't please everyone, focus on a small group of people and please them 100%. Write for love. Work for money. If they become the same thing, well done.

William Martell

Giving good notes with examples and explanations is a great way to learn. Just saying something is bad doesn't help them and it doesn't help you. So always try to figure out why something doesn't work. And (though this might be depressing) it's sometimes helpful to read some great screenplays and then read your own and look for the differences... the things they do right that you may not have gotten right, yet. I have this "Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers" theory - in the Kaufman remake, after San Francisco has been taken over by the Pod People, Donald Sutherland and Veronica Cartwright are walking down the street... both trying to blend in and not be discovered. Now, there are fat pod people and skinny ones and tall ones and short ones and all kinds of pod people - but they all walk with their heads down, not paying attention to anything, not really looking at anything. So that's what Sutherland and Cartwright do. They try to blend in... and that's what you want your screenplay to do: blend in. You want it to look and read like a professional's screenplay. Now, Tarantino writes like Tarantino and Cody writes like Cody and You write like You... that's the fat/skinny/whatever part. But all of those pro writers have some things in common which makes them good writers - and that's what you want to make sure is in your screenplay. You want people to read your screenplays and think, "This was written by some pro that I'm not familiar with." So look at good or great screenplays - "conform" yours to that level of quality without copying anyone else's style. Read some great scripts, then read yours. What can you learn from them?

Emily Ann Jefferson

I got advice from yahoo answers.. I'm never going to yahoo for help again. The responses were awful and very judgmental. Not helpful at all.

Danny Manus

Emily, like we have been telling you in many threads for quite a while, stop asking random people on the Internet and other kids who don't know anything about screenwriting, to read your script. only ask people who know what they're talking about. Not your best friend or your aunt or some random dude on yahoo. Ask people whose opinions actually matter because they come with some level of real experience. otherwise, you'll just get wrapped up in Internet haters.

Pierre Langenegger

Yep, Danny's spot on there.

Cherie Grant

If they say things like 'it's gay and it's sucks' I seriously question their maturity and age. Don't bother looking for reviews from other teenagers. They don't have the knowledge to help you. Absolutely ignore it. And be more choosey who you hand your work over to.

Aray Brown

Yahoo Answers should not be considered. its more for general questions.

Aray Brown

You will never get honest feedback from outsiders, meaning people who arent screenwriters or nothing about it

Zlatan Mustafica

I don´t know who gave you this piece of feedback so it´s hard to say anything about it. It all seems so hypothetical, there are never really any facts in your posts other then those that you claim. The question here is, I believe, what do you think yourself?

Josh Hughes

Then you take the advice (if any), revise your script and move on. I'm sure someone told Michael Jackson he sucked at basketball at some point in his life. Accept criticism for what it is.


@Josh Hughes lol...Michael Jackson did suck at I know you meant Jordan and you are right. He was actually kicked off his middle school team. As for the advice, I would say use Stage 32 to do a critique of your work so you can get good notes about it. There may be some parts that suck but my thing is enjoy every no that you get because you are that much closer to a YES! KEEP WRITING!

Josh Hughes

Haha sorry that's an inside joke between some friends and I. Hopefully someone finds it funny.

Jacob Buterbaugh

Josh - LOL...


Josh I cracked up laughing when I saw it. lol

Jacob Buterbaugh

Emily - I'll expand on my original point. I think the ONLY people you should be seeking feedback from are people who are actually doing what you want to do. Screenwriters, producers, directors, script consultants, people who understand what you're trying to do. They can help you figure out what you need to improve on in order to write at the level you're aspiring to. Someone who isn't a screenwriter, someone who isn't filmmaker, someone who knows less about it than you do, probably will not be able to help you... Just keep at it, learn and improve as you go, and stop listening to idiots. :)

David Levy

Take Danny's advice. Pick who you send your scripts to very carefully. Network with those who have been writing longer than you have who have gained traction with their writing. Choose wisely!

Richard Gustason

You really shouldn't take those people too seriously because all they want to do is hate on your stuff. I will listen but the best advise comes from people who usually go "This could be a little better. Let me show you how..." Those are the ones who you should take seriously. Because they may know what they are talking about. And since we will use the Stage 32 example, this site has more who are willing to help than not. And I mean it's like a 50 to 1 ratio from what I have gotten out of it. And like David Levy said, be very choosy with who you get advise from. Nothing wrong with that. Friends and family are good ears but if you want good advise, get it from someone who knows what they are doing and want to ENCOURAGE your growth, not stunt it.

Danny Manus

Not only did people tell Michael Jackson he sucked at basketball, but his own father used to tell him he sucked at singing and dancing too. there will always be haters.

Debbie Croysdale

I agree with @Richard Do not take it seriously .....If criticism is not's not up to your own standard of intellect. I do admire you for being one of the youngest on this site and you always stand your ground.

C.B. Jacobson

If you're a writer, you won't stop.

Lucifer Divinitas

They just sound like some kid. Not worth your time. Get a professional to look at your work.


Was this from someone on Stage 32?

Cherie Grant

Why would you listen to other people about what you should do with your life? It's your decision to live with not theirs. Tell em to eff off.

Debbie Croysdale

You are the one in Control. Glean the information from us mere mortal adults..,, as I did your age....and move on!

Ty Gibson

Writing is writing is writing! Just keep at it and share it with people that you can trust will give you honest, constructive (not necessarily always positive) feedback and your writing will improve! Be sure to weed out the homophobic troglodytes who think they know a thing or two about writing, but really are just a waste of the limited clean air left on earth. Read lots of good stuff too... It's a breath of fresh air.

Josh Hughes

Okay well maybe michael jackson did play basketball...

Stuart Wright

Subjectivity is pointless ... Liking something is not a judge of whether something is good or bad. If the words suck or gay were used as feedback to clarify I'd not take the feedback v seriously ... That said criticism of a script is not criticism of you the person. Writing in the real world is not about about gold stars and being right. Work hard and be lucky :)

Stevie T

If you are a writer then, first and foremost, you should be writing for yourself. If you try and pander to what you think others might want to read then you will oft times end up with a contrived mishmash without a voice. If you do write for yourself then you are the only one who can tell yourself, "you're a bad writer".

Emily Ann Jefferson

People on yahoo answers also say I am a terrible person after reading what I wrote.- I'm done with yahoo answers.

Jessie Bernard

If you believe them then you are a bad writer.

Pierre Langenegger

I don't understand why you'd put your work up on Yahoo answers. It is not a vehicle for writing. Just - don't - do - it.

Vincent Lowe

If someone says that to you Emily, you should not listen to them. Advice about writing (that you should heed) comes with specifics, and it comes without inflammatory perjoratives. Someone whose grasp of critical feedback stops at the border of "it sucks" and "it's gay" is childish and inarticulate. Don't waste your time even considering the response.

Wanda Weaver

All we can do is take the constructive criticism, learn and grow. i knew someone who hated everyone's writing except his own. Don't get too caught up in it.

Pierre Langenegger

Emily, has a section for short scripts. The shorter the script and the more enticing the logline, the more reads you’re likely to get. The system used to be that you had to do four reviews of other people’s work before you could upload your own script but that’s changed and you can now upload your script anytime you want but you cannot access the reviews you receive until you complete those four qualifying reviews so it’s best to get those out of the way early. The site is professional in their approach and it’s specifically aimed at writers and this is what you should be looking at rather than utilizing school peers or nonsense sites.

Dionne Knapp

Lol!! That would pretty much be my response to that kind of feedback. Then I'd thank them for the Danny Thomas spit-take I just did all over my keyboard, hahaha! I have a great sense of humor...

Christina Patjens

It's so ridiculous. If you take such comments serious what does this state about you? Take yourself serious learn the craft and look for qualifying statements. End of. Don't give a damn about this stupid utterance.

Dan Guardino

I had an agent tell me my script sucked once and I sold the script. I also had someone tell me on Zoetrope my script sucked and that one sold too. Only take constructive criticism and never take criticism personally. If someone really knows what they are doing they critique the screenplay and never the screenwriter.

Tim Johnson

"It's gay and it sucks" is not a serious criticism. It's more like something Trump would say about Hillary to avoid having to think too hard about specifics.

Anita Marie Melerski

I would never take that person seriously if their comment was "It's gay and it sucks". That's not a serious statement and also they're an idiot. Clearly... -.-

Kat Albert

You misused "your" which is pretty bad for a writer.

Jody Ellis

This is probably one of the more ridiculous posts I've seen here, not sure why it's being revived now but does anyone REALLY think that someone on Stage 32 gave "notes" that included the commentary "your screenplay is gay and it sucks". I mean, come on.

Aray Brown

I doubt anyone here would ever say that. Yahoo Answers again. And another old post that's been reposted. Back to my office

Hazel Smith

Of course not. I would tell my daughter that the person in question sounds crazy and to stay away from them.

Emily Ann Jefferson

Interesting I see I've become popular again

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

If I had a dime for everyone who said my writing is gay... well it boggles the imagination.

Kay Luke

It depends on who it is. I've had an Oscar winning Producer tell me I'm a fantastic writer and a guy I payed to pitch to with no films under his belt tell me I sucked. But only one of them can write me a reference letter that can get me a meeting with any agent in town, so who gives a crap what the nobody said? Write on!

Dan Guardino

Kay. Right on! Nobodies tend to tell other people that their scripts suck which is probably why they're nobodies.

Emily Ann Jefferson

You guys, sure do like my posts....

Laurie Woodward

Sounds like a troll. I believe all writers can improve but it takes time and effort. If you truly want to write, do it. Every day. Listen to dialogue in cafes, stores, on the subway. Write down conversations. And of course, read, read, read.

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