#GuestPost – Coping with Criticism by Kate Murdoch @KateMurdoch3

I’m so pleased to be welcoming Kate Murdoch to Short Book and Scribes today. Kate is the author of Stone Circle, a historical fantasy novel. When Kate first contacted me about it I said I wasn’t a fan of fantasy but she assures me there is only a small amount of fantasy in it. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to fit in a read of it but it does sound like an excellent read and what a lovely cover it has.

What I do have is a fab guest post from Kate about coping with criticism. First of all, let’s see what Stone Circle is about:

Is the Ability to Read Minds a Blessing or a Curse?

When Antonius’s father dies, he must work to support his family. He finds employment as a servant in the Palazzo Ducal, home of Conte Valperga. Sixteenth-century Pesaro is a society governed by status and Antonius has limited opportunities.
When a competition is announced, Antonius seizes his chance. The winner will be apprenticed to the town seer. Antonius shares first place with his employer’s son.

The two men compete for their mentor’s approval. As their knowledge of magic and alchemy grows, so does the rivalry and animosity between them. When the love of a beautiful woman is at stake, Antonius must find a way to follow his heart and navigate his future.

You can buy the book now and here are all the buy links you need:


Coping with Criticism by Kate Murdoch

The truly awful review. At some point in an author’s career, they will receive one. They are like a punch in the stomach, yet an essential rite of passage.

It’s similar to the connections we make with people—some will understand who we are straight away, others will be on a completely different wavelength. We know this, and don’t take it personally.

When it comes to our hard-wrought creations, agonised over for years, it’s more difficult to accept. They contain our deepest vulnerabilities and desires, the essence of who we are. In many ways we are standing naked before our readers and criticism hurts.

I was an artist before I was a writer. I exhibited as a painter for many years. The sense of exposure was present every time my work was on display. However, in a painting your innermost thoughts are obscured, not visible in the same way they are in writing. I still had to field positive and negative responses, but it was less confronting.

The benefit of many years as an artist is a certain toughness when it comes to criticism. As long as I’m expressing my truth, and remaining steadfast in my vision, then I’m succeeding. It’s important to tread a middle path, not becoming conceited through praise or deflated by the responses of others. To stay the creative course and put one foot in front of the other.

For me, writing two novels has been a kind of therapy. It was important to understand less palatable aspects of myself in order to write about darkness and create flawed characters. We all have a shadow self, and being conscious of it is strangely empowering. At the same time, dredging up these things makes us vulnerable. It’s crucial to examine darkness and light in our work, to forge ahead despite the risk of criticism.

It’s similar to attending a party. In the course of a night you might have a couple of rewarding and interesting conversations. Or not—you might feel the intense loneliness that can only occur in a crowd of people where no one is similar to you. Neither outcome reflects on your value, only on chance and the fact that human beings are all unique. We are also alone in many ways, and the act of making art is an attempt to bridge that separation, to touch others across the void.

So we take a breath and present our novels to the world. We hope they will resonate with some and a connection will be made. It is a beautiful and necessary leap of faith.

Thank you so much, Kate. It must be hard to develop that tough skin needed to deal with criticism.


Kate Murdoch is the author of Stone Circle. She exhibited widely as a painter both in Australia and internationally and was a finalist in a number of prize shows before turning her hand to writing. In between writing historical fiction, she enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction.

Her short-form fiction is regularly published in Australia, UK, US and Canada.

Stone Circle is a historical fantasy novel set in Renaissance Italy. It was released by Fireship Press December 1st 2017.

Her novel, The Orange Grove, about the passions and intrigues of court mistresses in 18th century France, will be published by Regal House Publishing in 2019.

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2 Comments

  • I opened a new notebook to comment on a remark with my counter-comment. The composition of this group enables me the courage to share. The copied comment “We all have a shadow self …”. If I have, I don’t know where it is and that lack follows a year of one on one psychotherapy on a reparenting program; many months of group therapy in several mental hospitals in Australia and England during which I journeyed into dark places when experiencing a psychotic episode. My ‘problem’ is I enjoyed paranoia of a positive nature in that I believed the Man Upstairs/ a Higher Being/ God/ Whomsoever was engaged in arranging my universe to and for my safety and advantage. An attitude long sustained is that I am allergic to the atmosphere on this planet. I was once given a ring on which the giver had chipped away half an angel’s left wing.

    SO… were I to explore the hidden part of myself, should I use the POV of an apologetic angel?

    • Thank you, Isabel. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot and I think we all feel a little allergic to the planet at times, particularly if introverted.

      All the best,

      Kate

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