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View Full Version : On replying to reviews. A reprise



jeffrey c mcmahan
May 16th, 2012, 02:50 PM
"Know It: Know what you're writing about. If you can't completely deconstruct your poem and tell a reader what every single word's purpose is, then you've failed as a poet. Be aware of how every symbol and metaphor complements your poem as you write it. Later you can edit it, but if there isn't a strong base there will not be a strong finished piece." Achilles "Basics of free verse poetry"

Let's be objective--and before you start thinking; Objective? from this character--let me remark that I am going to relate what I have read on sources, or learned, from this site. First, as a code of conduct--and a matter of etiquette--do respond to your reviewers, if only with a, "Thank you for the read and review." Second, feel free to debate your reviewers feedback, see above cite. Third, you can learn much from your reviewer without actually agreeing with them. Third, being critical of your reviewers remarks does not mean you can not accept criticism. Fourth, not responding to your reviewers will send a stronger message then being critical of their remarks. Five; as the above cite tells us; Know it; this works both ways, if a reviewer can not, or will not, explain their review, then the review may not be constructive, and may also be erroneous Feel free to respond to this class of reviews with; "Thank you for your interest." Six; As I have learned from formal training in college level English courses; know your audience, write accordingly; even though technically, when you present your work at this forum, it will have a wide audience, but not all of them will be competent to critique a piece of yours, as they fall without your audience. A very subtle jab directed at only a few individuals, well one; and not to be taken personally. And not to the general readers of this opinion. So what can be learned from reviews. You can learn you ignored spell check. You can learn how your work is read, and understood by others. You can learn some basics about the role of grammar in poetry, and prose; and how you ignored it. You can learn how to respond to criticism without having to put on your troll hat. Heh. You may even learn a better word, to put right there, that makes it sing, just like that. And the list could go on and on and on, ad nauseum. So I will cease my objectiveness with these words. Writing nonsense may not contribute to the overall evolution of the form, but, not writing contributes nothing.

regards

jeffrey

Divus
May 18th, 2012, 08:21 PM
Personally I cannot comment on matter of poetry since I have little or no ability to compose it. But the topic of responding to critiques is well worth discussing.


Jeff’s writing has its own very individual style but what he says is fundamentally relevant to all of us who seek to learn how better to write for a critical audience. I have taken the liberty of cutting out some of Jeff’s literary flourishes and hereby represented what he has written on the topic of responding to a critique
.
1/ As a matter of ‘polite’ etiquette, always respond to your reviewers, if only with a: "Thank you for the read and the review."
2/ Feel free to debate your reviewer’s comments.
3/ You can learn much from your reviewer without actually agreeing with him or her.
4/ Not responding to your reviewer will send a stronger message than being critical of their remarks. If a reviewer is pointedly
rude then ignore them.
5/ ‘Recognize’ this policy works both ways. If a reviewer will not, explain their review, then the review may not be constructive
and may be erroneous Feel free to respond to this class of reviews with a ‘simple‘: "Thank you for your interest."
6/ Know your audience and write in an appropriate style for them.
7/ Be aware that when you post your work on this forum, it may well have a wide audience although not all of the viewers will be competent to formulate a critique of a piece.
8/ A very subtle jibe can be directed at a few individuals but it should never be taken personally.


So what can be learned from critiques:
You can learn you did not use the spell checker or dictionary or thesaurus.
You can learn how your work is (mis)understood by others.
You can learn some basics about the role of grammar in prose and how you may have ignored those important rules in your piece.
You can learn how to respond to criticism without becoming aggressive.
You may even learn a more appropriate word, than the word you used in the piece.
You may even receive a well meant plaudit.
The list goes on and on and on,


The biggest sin of all is not to write and not post anything worthy of criticism.

DV - with apologies to JcM