Feedback and reviews for a writer of fiction -- hell, for just about any writer -- is important because it allows you to gauge if your draft is on target. But not all reviews are equal. In most cases, a review or critique is subjective based on the bias of the reviewer. This is important to remember.
I had forgotten it until the other day. I know this because two stories I submitted to an anthology were rejected yet the stories continue to do well in Smashwords. So while the stories might fail to meet some literary benchmark, they resonate with my readers. Given that choice I'll gladly take the latter option.
And this fact reminded me that in an age of self-publishing, old literary standards mean little. People who insist on upholding them are clinging to a past that is evaporating. It is kind of like living in an closed religious community with strict rules of dress and behavior. You miss out on everything around you. They insist on the old ways out of fear.
I'm not saying down with the old ways; but I do think people need to be open to change and have to learn how to adapt. I'm not one to talk here; I really dislike change. But when I see the handwriting on the wall, then the time to change is at hand. In this case, how you judge a good story from a bad one depends on who you are.
I know that my two stories were rejected because they were not considered very original. I would argue that because originality is in the new of the beholder. Sure, an editor of an anthology who sees hundreds and thousands of stories could have that reaction, especially if he or she doesn't read the whole story. But for others, the story is unlike anything they've every seen.
And that's the point. As a writer I tend to think that all comments are equal and have equal weight, but that's not true because for the editor of the anthology my work is crap. And I know that's wrong. So my goal is to write the best story I can. Make the text as clean as possible and adhere to the rules of writing creative fiction, such as they are. Beyond that, what you think of a story is your business and rushing to judgement does not do you or me much good.