A lot of my posts on this forum involve me being really stressed and typing in caps lock and bold...simply because I don't know what it takes to please people. First, there's originality. I was always told that there's no such thing as true originality, every story takes cues from other works, and that being original requires taking a previous idea and doing it in a new way. But, judging by the Zootopia thread, even superficial similarities to other characters is enough to be considered a carbon-copy. For instance, it doesn't matter if the only similarity the villain of my idea had to the villain of Zootopia is the motives. He can be absolutely NOTHING alike otherwise, but he's still a carbon-copy just because of the motivation. I guess the villain of Zootopia is a carbon-copy of Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame if we follow that logic. I would talk more about how little in common Edgar Eaglestein has to the Zootopia villain, but it would require spoiling Zootopia, and I don't know how to use the spoiler folder feature. Let's also ignore the fact that my idea didn't have animals going savage and reverting back to their wild nature, and the fact that Zootopia itself takes cues from films like Robin Hood and Cats Don't Dance. Anyways... After the Zootopia incident, I temporarily lost my confidence and was afraid to post any new ideas, because even the most superficial similarities to other stories would instantly make my story a carbon-copy. And then there's character development. People on the "does every protagonist need to change" thread were pretty mixed. Sometimes they pointed to characters from other works who didn't need to change, sometimes people said that EVERY protagonist needs development and the ones that don't are automatically bad characters, and sometimes they took a third option saying that I should just let the plot do the work and not worry about it myself. The thing is, sometimes I just can't think of appropriate development for the protagonist. Look at the premise for my dinosaur story, for instance. Can you think of any kind of development that the story calls for from Alex? Adding to the confusion is a friend on deviantART who said that, while she liked the rest of it, she thought that Alex was a generic nice guy protagonist, which made me really upset, because I just can't think of any way to add to Alex's characterization that the story demands. She suggested adding flaws for him, but I couldn't think of anything that fit the story. Everything I came up with was an obvious attempt to pander to critics. Someone on the aforementioned protagonist development thread said that I don't need to force stuff I don't truly want to write just to please my audience, but then how will people enjoy my stuff? Don't get me wrong, I can totally take constructive criticism. A lot of times I end up agreeing with it. I got some very helpful comments from other users when I first posted my dinosaur story. (Cletus became an African grey parrot instead of a crow because they said crows are overused as bad guys, for instance.) But sometimes the criticism is really vague. (Saying "your protagonist is bland and boring" without telling me how to make the protagonist LESS bland and boring, for instance.) Or sometimes they just plain out bash my work. (Which the Zootopia thread consisted of.) It's pretty hard to have confidence in my work when I can't figure out how to please my audience. Anyone have any tips on what to do to handle this "criticism stress"?