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dolphinlee
January 29th, 2013, 12:48 PM
Over the last few weeks I have become more than a little confused about critiques.

I assumed that when someone put their work onto the site they wanted to know what others thought of it, how it made them feel and how it could be improved.

Sometimes I don’t have a lot of time, but I will try to comment on a few pieces. When I have more time I will try to do a longer, more detailed critique on a few pieces of work.

I try to find something positive to say about the piece.
I look out for spelling and grammar mistakes.
If there are flaws in the logic of the piece I try to explain these.
If there is something that ‘jars’ me out of the piece I will mention it.
If there is a sentence that is not doing the job it is supposed to be doing I may suggest a rewrite.

I am not an expert, but I am doing the best that I can, based on my knowledge and experience, to help others. I may not always, although believe me I try, write my comments in the form of suggestion (you might try, I think) but what I write is written with the intention of being helpful.

Before I go on I will say that most of the time when I do a crit the OP says thank you in the thread. Sometimes they ask for a clarification or more help which I am delighted to give.

So what is my problem?

I’ve noticed that some posters get upset with some of the comments, mine and others’, written about their work and criticise the comments or the person who wrote the comments.

Some posters seem to prefer to fight for the validity of the original rather than think seriously about whether the comments given could be valid.

Several times I have seen the equivalent of – “You have no right to change my sentence/my work in this way.”

Several times I have seen OP replies that are the equivalentof – “You haven’t understood the piece, this is your problem not mine. You are at fault.”

And several times lately, after I have done a long and detailed set of comments, I have seen something that really makes my blood boil. The OP posting something like – “This is something I threw together and thought I would see what others think of it.”

Comments?

Bloggsworth
January 29th, 2013, 12:54 PM
Seconded - It's why I give few critiques. If you don't want to hear that you may have done better, then don't post.

squidtender
January 29th, 2013, 01:42 PM
Taking criticism is a necessary evil in this business, but if heeded, makes us a better writer. That being said, most people have no idea how to deal with it. While some are lucky, and just naturally smile and say "thank you", others find themselves in a bad place after reading a crit of their work. They don't see tips and hints at how to improve--they see negativity, people telling them how bad they are, and feed the dark, little voices that have been whispering the same thing. So, when they get angry, this is a defense mechanism to protect themselves from the harsh words they think they're hearing. Even the claim "it was just something I threw together", is just another form of protecting themselves. If they make the critter think that they didn't spend time on the piece--opening a vein and bleeding for the piece--that explains away the negativity that they received.

Sadly, there is no cure-all for this. It's something each person has to figure out how to deal with on their own. What works for one person, might not work for another. But, this I do know: time heals all wounds. If you know you take criticism harshly, instead of replying immediately, close your computer and walk away. Let the crit sink in, give yourself time to digest what was said. In a couple of hours, maybe a day, you'll be in a better place to address the advice (yes, a crit is only advice) that you have received.

You are NOT as bad as you think. One persons opinion does NOT define who you are as a writer. I know how it feels, how you want to scream, and yell and make them see what you were trying to say, but don't--you don't need to. This is not an attack on you (and I know it feels that way), but it's a friend helping you. Even if it's harsh, it's still just a friend. Say thank you. Walk away. Use what they said, figure out how to make it better and show them that you're better because of it.

Show . . . don't tell :)

Bruno Spatola
January 29th, 2013, 01:55 PM
On one hand it shows that they care deeply about their writing, and passion can become a raging bull when it faces the slightest bit of criticism. Depends on the person. Nobody likes receiving negative comments, nobody, no matter how sweetly they're coated. I like learning from them, but I don't like them. Luckily, I understand just how subjective art is; I can easily place myself in another's mind, one with different tastes, beliefs, whatever. Some people simply cannot do that. The shields go up and they think of every excuse that isn't, "I didn't do so well there". It's an ego issue, without doubt.

You can't please everyone, I wouldn't worry about it. It sounds like you feel hurt/angered because they're pretty much disregarding the effort and time you put into helping them and, instead, interpret it as some elaborate insult. Those kinds of people don't last long in this type of environment. Sometimes it's reasonable to criticise a member's feedback, but I say it's best to swallow your pride, thank them, and move on. You aren't going to change their opinion, after all -- there's no right and wrong in this game. As long as you're polite and honest, you've done your best.

Let them learn from it. Learning from mistakes is what it's all about, isn't it? :)

lasm
January 29th, 2013, 02:49 PM
Personally I really do not mind negative comments. In a recent, related discussion, someone said he wrote critiques with the assumption that no piece of writing is perfect, and personally I think that's right on. So when I post something, it's with the idea that something is wrong with it that I haven't seen yet. Yes, I like some sugar, too, everybody does, but if there's problems I want to know. If the reader doesn't understand something I've written, then I have to figure out why they've misunderstood and if I can fix it. It might be them, but more often it's me. If my wording seems strange or my sentence structure is boring or my pacing is off, I need to either fix that or decide if I feel strongly enough about that to keep it as is. Or sometimes they don't see something as a problem but they understand the text very differently from how I do, and that's interesting, too.

I'm not big on the "open up a vein and bleed" conception of writing. Words on a page aren't my heart and soul, they're not my blood, they're not me. They're my thoughts and ideas*. I like them-- sometimes I even love them. I guess when I love them it's maybe in the manner of a parent, who wants her kid to be happy and healthy and therefore tells him to clean his room and brush his teeth, and sends him off to school. And I want to hear that he's wonderful, but if he misbehaves or has a fever or whatever, I need to know it.

I don't really understand it when people post first drafts, or work that is "something I threw together just now", without even a spell check. Most of the time if I see a disclaimer like that I just won't read. If I do a crit and the response is like, "Guess I can't please you, LOL," I won't crit that person again unless they specifically ask me to do it.


*on edit, much later: not even my thoughts or ideas. Representations of ideas. Verbalizations of dreams. Bound to be imperfect by their very nature.

shadowwalker
January 29th, 2013, 03:02 PM
There is nothing so aggravating or disheartening as to get blasted for giving an honest critique. I absolutely refuse to crit something that was 'thrown together' - I will, however, crit something that is clearly stated as a 'rough draft' where the author wants only basic thoughts about it. I've done that myself, when I wasn't sure if I was really on the right track getting started. So those are, IMO, two different animals. But lashing out at the critter for being honest is rude and uncalled for. Authors don't have to agree, and they don't have to accept, any comments - but they should at least appreciate that someone took the time to comment; authors who don't at least consider the merits of these comments are dumb, to put it bluntly.

I come via the world of fanfic - I've been a beta and I've been part of crit groups. But any site that said "Only positive comments" doesn't get the time of day from me, and authors who don't want to hear constructive criticism don't either. One reason I've stepped back from crits is being tired of banging my head against the wall of resistance writers put up. If you don't want honesty, just query the thing as is, and don't waste our time posting it for crits first.

(Please note - I do not equate rudeness with honesty.)

Saeria
January 29th, 2013, 03:07 PM
Pride is the artist's Achilles heel. No one loves to hear the work and passion they've put forth. It takes nerves of steel sometimes to accept constructive criticism on something that expresses themselves so openly. For some it is like a blow to their character necause they feel their craft is an extension of themselves. Those that are able to push back their own aesthetic pride and create to share with others instead of themselves are the ones that will ultimately benefit from crit.
Giving criticism for a work is much like giving money. Althpugh you tell the person "this is what the money is for" ultimately they will spend it to their own desires. Once it leaves your hands it is no longer in your control.

alanmt
January 29th, 2013, 03:52 PM
dolphinlee, it sounds like the manner in which you are critiquing is the way posters are meant to here: helpful, constructive, but with honest advice, and fair criticism. So when you get a defensive or rude response, just disengage and do not critique that person anymore.

People who respond like that are most likely immature or inexperienced. They may be insecure and seek personal validation through their work, or on the other hand they may be egotistical with success. But one can't teach them manners on the internet.

Like lasm, I enjoy crits that find legitimate fault with my work, because they help me, even if I may be a little crestfallen about their obviousness. Of course, I like unrestrained praise too! :)

GonneLights
January 29th, 2013, 04:01 PM
No one's ever done that to me. Sometimes I can tell they're seriously offended by some of my comments, but they've never been aggressive about it. If they are offended I usually try and qualify it in a way that is less disheartening to them, but that's all very uncommon anyway. And, sometimes when I worry I've been to harsh I get the most grateful replies. Who are you critiquing?

Foxee
January 29th, 2013, 04:43 PM
Crits aren't always fun but they are necessary. It's wonderful when people begin to give crits as well as asking for them because they understand so much better that negative crits aren't meant personally. The truth is, though, that most writers care most strongly about their own writing. It is, after all, their baby. Truly great critiquers can step out of that and care about other people's writing pretty intensely.

I don't care for the tactic of rewriting someone else's story in a crit. It's okay to show someone how you might restructure a sentence and it's very tempting to rewrite their work but I've never thought that's the critiquer's job. I just make suggestions and let them either run with it or don't.

When I have something of mine critiqued in the workshop or on the LM I average out some of the comments. If the majority of critiquers were confused about something I try to resist the urge to defend it and just realize that it probably needs some clarification. Even if I disagree with some of the feedback I do try to give it a fair hearing. And appreciation is definitely key to getting work critiqued in the future.

As a critiquer, I rarely crit someone's work again if they gave a very negative reaction the first time or even if they didn't bother to say thank you. And I almost never read things that have the "I just sat down and wrote this, what do you think?" note on them. No point in me pouring time and effort into feedback on something that may never be edited or looked at once the initial rush is over.

JosephB
January 29th, 2013, 05:23 PM
Yeah -- if someone responds negatively to one of my crits and doesn't accept it in the spirit that it was given, then I just don't bother with them after that -- so it's not a problem for me. Maybe something has changed recently in the Workshop, but I don't really remember having many problems there with people being overly defensive and unappreciative.

I will occasionally rewrite a sentence or two -- because sometimes that's just easier -- but I know people can be sensitive about that, so I really couch it with heavy disclaimers.

Of course, if you find fault with my work, I'll attack you without mercy -- because clearly, you don't know what you're talking about.

Foxee
January 29th, 2013, 05:50 PM
It's war! :ChainGunSmiley:

WriterJohnB
January 29th, 2013, 05:52 PM
I appreciate honest crits of my writing because it helps me improve. The only critique that ever annoyed me was from the Amazon Breakthrough novel award competition. I'd advance to the third round with glowing crits, but this one critter (in both senses of the word) wrote a nasty crit that attacked me for being a white person writing about slavery. Not a word about the quality of writing or the major research that had gone into this historical novel, but she booted me out of the competition.

I've critiqued on forums and in writing groups for years and have often received nasty replies to my critiques. Two of them said they would find me and "get me." I gave them my address and said they were welcome to come, I'm the one in the middle of us three former law enforcement officers (rural neighbors).

Now I only critique rarely, when I see a newbie who knows how to spell, punctuate correctly, etc. and exhibits the promise of becoming a good writer. And, if I get a rude response, I ignore it and move on.

JohnB

Leyline
January 29th, 2013, 06:03 PM
I view critique as two distinct types, since -- most often -- I've read the writing of those critiquing me. I accept critique from all, but I accept some as reader critique and some as writer critique. Reader critique is helpful for such things as 'This part didn't work for me' or 'This line seemed clumsy' or 'I don't really understand what your MC is doing,' etc. Writer critique, from writers who impress me, is even more valuable. From those I'll readily accept re-writing suggestions. A crit from Chris Miller once caused me to re-write a story from the ground up and it was much better for the re-writing. Recently, several critiques caused me to nearly double the word count of a story, once again, for the better.

In all cases, though, I thank the commenter for taking the time to read and comment.

I, personally, won't critique a story that I have nothing positive to say about, and avoid those in genres or styles that I actively dislike. That said, I have never turned down a direct request for a critique.

Freakconformist
January 29th, 2013, 06:39 PM
I've been guilty of saying something like "you don't understand", but that's usually because the critiquer honestly misinterpreted my intention. (which I take as a comment on the work itself) I will generally explain what my intention was in the hopes that I will get further review. Honestly, when I submit a work I'm not really looking for an English lesson, I want to know if the work is flowing well and if people want to read it.

I spent several years on an art forum that helped me, through the school of hard-knocks, learn how to critique better. In the early years it was an all out flame war between the artists (most of whom were still teenagers). Those who were good got tons of praise, those who were bad got grounded into the dust, and those who were so-so didn't get any comments at all. I never did get very many comments... Eventually the admins cracked down on the flaming and people started giving genuine critiques.

I developed a system much like yours, give a little praise then address the problems gently, try not to be too degrading your description of the problem ("is she supposed to have frog legs?"), and try to offer suggestions on how to fix the problems. Usually, the people who react negatively to this were younger kids who have never been told that they aren't good at something. They think art is all about "how they feel" and they don't understand that it takes practice, learning, and skill.

I can't offer as thorough of a critique here as I could on an art piece, because I'm really just learning myself, but I have tried to offer some encouragement and advice.

Foxee
January 29th, 2013, 07:28 PM
Honestly, when I submit a work I'm not really looking for an English lesson, I want to know if the work is flowing well and if people want to read it.
It's fair to place a note after the piece asking for a specific kind of feedback, too. I don't think I'd put it at the beginning (I don't want to distract the reader) but if there's something you want to know specifically, ask! :)

Jon M
January 29th, 2013, 07:34 PM
Seems like the longer one's critiques are, the more they wrestle with the story's meaning and mechanics, the more likely one is to get in trouble for writing said critique. Because there is more to argue with. When you try and state the idea of a particular story, it's almost like that opens you up even more to these stupid attacks when it really shouldn't. Read closely and you'll see some critiques only really appraise the story generally. I was a member of a rather intense poetry workshop for about a year, and was taught there that any interpretation of a work is valid so long as you can justify it. And that you shouldn't feel like an idiot just because you didn't understand, because it may be the story's fault. But yeah, it bothers me too, dolphinlee; it shouldn't, but sometimes it really does.

Ariel
January 29th, 2013, 08:25 PM
Lee,

I like your critiques. I think that you give very good critiques that are gentle and kind. If someone wants to flame you because s/he can't take criticism that is on them, not you. Keep doing what you do, lovely lady, and everything will be fine.

Angel101
January 29th, 2013, 11:07 PM
It's very frustrating. As a writer, I might want to discuss something that was criticized in my work in the sense that I want to learn more about where that particular reader was coming from. I mean, it's true that no one likes getting criticized and sometimes the first instinct is to get defensive. We've all done it at one time or another. If not out loud, then most certainly in our own heads. But it's important to learn to be gracious and to remind yourself that people took time out of their lives to give your work attention, even if it was negative attention. I'd rather write something that receives negative comments than write something that receives no comments at all. At least it means I'm making an impact, even if that impact is, "Man, this poetry sucks." Ha!

As a reader, I can't stand it when someone starts getting defensive. (My husband and I both feel strongly about this, as noted in my sig. :P) I'm a say-it-like-it-is kind of critic, and perhaps that's part of what causes the reaction. I always try to find something positive to say, even if, IMO, there really isn't much in the way of positive. What I hate is wasting my time. I have two babies. I consider my time critiquing or writing my "me time." I don't get a lot of it. If I spend time with an honest critique and then get sass from the writer, you can bet I won't be wasting my time with another piece from that person. Critiques are mostly subjective opinion. Writing is art. If you don't like my opinion, say thank you very much and move on. It's not like my, or anyone else's, negative opinion means you're a bad writer. Don't get mad, get glad!

Foxee
January 29th, 2013, 11:14 PM
Love the video, Angel, "Don't you go bringin' me down with your dictionary!" :D

moderan
January 30th, 2013, 12:01 AM
Hmm. I've been a member of some really harsh in-person critique groups, where people have actually indulged in the odd bit of pugilism (comes from meeting in bars I think). Not as bad here usually. I only crit a few people though, except in the LM. Like G said above, I've never turned down a crit (within reason-I've been asked a few times to crit fellow contestants while the contest was ongoing)...but I don't go out and look to do it.
As a critic, I appreciate when the writer has an idea of what they'd like looked at. Only if it irks me will I crit the spelling/grammar. I prefer an overview and generally look at tone and plot, character definition, stuff like that.

shadowwalker
January 30th, 2013, 12:22 AM
It's very frustrating. As a writer, I might want to discuss something that was criticized in my work in the sense that I want to learn more about where that particular reader was coming from.

This does bring up a point - when critters mistake questions/explanations for argument. I've had some really great discussions with authors over things that have come up in crits, from both sides of the fence. Of course, if one has to explain something outside the story, it usually means something's missing inside the story - but the discussion can help the author understand what that something is. So I do think critters need to be open to that as well, and not get defensive on their part.

Leyline
January 30th, 2013, 12:58 AM
This does bring up a point - when critters mistake questions/explanations for argument. I've had some really great discussions with authors over things that have come up in crits, from both sides of the fence. Of course, if one has to explain something outside the story, it usually means something's missing inside the story - but the discussion can help the author understand what that something is. So I do think critters need to be open to that as well, and not get defensive on their part.

Well said. One of my favorite crit threads, of my own stuff, is for my story Burnt (http://www.writingforums.com/prose-writers-workshop/135251-burnt-about-1700-words-language-violence.html), in the workshop. It's a great example of fine critique from multiple sources and a writer willing to engage in the process, take the critique seriously, and revise the story with that advice in mind. It was also a lot of fun, with some terrific discussion about writing. Not only did the direct critique offer tons of great suggestions, my responses forced me to think about approaches to the story that no amount of authorial re-reading ever would have.

Freakconformist
January 30th, 2013, 01:42 AM
I really had to learn how to be gentle with my critiques. There are parts of me that can be too serious and analytical and I don't always realize when I'm being offensive.

I realized this while I was working at Taco Bell. Most of the crew, well, it's not that they weren't intelligent, they just didn't speak very well. One day my manager and I were having a conversation while cleaning up and he just stopped. He looked me dead in the eye and told me that I really hurt his feelings when I correct him all the time. I didn't even realize I was doing it. This is a guy who regularly brags that he doesn't have any money because he goes out drinking and smokes all the time, and he's telling me I'm being rude and uncouth. That really hit home.

Pluralized
January 30th, 2013, 02:49 AM
I believe that the thing that makes this site great is the selfless nature of the critters that really work hard to help people improve their writing. There are years of knowledge and experience here that really become valuable when we're all able to read the specific advice given to a story someone posts, and watching practical application of that advice improve a piece is really inspiring. In a sense, we are all benefitting from each critique, whether it is our own work that's posted or not.

In summary, everyone benefits, therefore you're doing the greater good. My biggest aspiration on this site is to become versed and knowledgeable enough to offer coherent critiquing. I have tremendous respect for you dolphinlee, and every critique I've read of yours is extremely thoughtful. Please don't let a few ingrates dissuade you from being awesome.

Mairead27
January 30th, 2013, 04:21 AM
I admit I used to get defensive - usually in my head, but sometimes out loud - when critiqued. Once someone said how I failed (the word failed was used) with character development, and I was really hurt because "failed" seemed like a harsh word and I took it personally. It was like I was a poor writer altogether.

One thing I've been telling myself is that being a writer does not define me as a person. There are so many aspects to me, and there is room to grow with the writing part. If other writers feel writing is all there is to themselves, they also need to realize they have other qualities; they cannot put their self-worth solely on their writing ability.

It is a risk to put your hard work out there. You believe it makes sense or is a good story, but when someone points out its flaws - especially a long list of them - it really feels like you and your work is being ripped apart. Even if others like it, that one person's opinion stings really bad and it can haunt you, but as much as you allow it to.

I've been learning to learn from critiques and to separate my work from my true being. There is more to me besides writing and it is not the end of the world if someone did not like what you wrote, even if it feels that way. :dejection:

Leyline
January 30th, 2013, 04:52 AM
I admit I used to get defensive - usually in my head, but sometimes out loud - when critiqued. Once someone said how I failed (the word failed was used) with character development, and I was really hurt because "failed" seemed like a harsh word and I took it personally. It was like I was a poor writer altogether.


Hmm. It sort of depends on how it was used. If the commenter said 'This totally failed,' I'd agree that's a bit harsh. If they said something like 'I think you were trying to make the MC a sort of lovable rogue, but it failed for me,' then that's pretty acceptable. I participated in Ben Burt's 'Critters' email critique group for years, and they have actual rules about diplomatic phrasing and will enforce them without hesitation. Everything must be phrased as obvious opinion and as diplomatically as possible. Honesty and diplomacy are not antithetical. :)

Pluralized
January 30th, 2013, 04:54 AM
One thing I've been telling myself is that being a writer does not define me as a person.

Another good state of mind - don't let a critique be a judgment on you as a writer, just a judgment on the work at hand. No matter what the critique, it's all solely based upon your story that you've chosen to post. Getting defensive defeats the purpose. :)

Mairead27
January 30th, 2013, 03:19 PM
Hmm. It sort of depends on how it was used. If the commenter said 'This totally failed,' I'd agree that's a bit harsh. If they said something like 'I think you were trying to make the MC a sort of lovable rogue, but it failed for me,' then that's pretty acceptable. I participated in Ben Burt's 'Critters' email critique group for years, and they have actual rules about diplomatic phrasing and will enforce them without hesitation. Everything must be phrased as obvious opinion and as diplomatically as possible. Honesty and diplomacy are not antithetical. :)

Interesting that there are rules on how to appropriately critique. I try to be diplomatic with my critiques by pointing out what I liked and didn't like, so I can be encouraging in two different ways.

It can be hard to accept a critique when the person sounds harsh, even if they had no intention to be. There's a chance that their "harshness" is them just being tough, like a sports coach. You don't see a coach speaking softly or gently, they usually have loud, forceful voices. So you can see a critique like that, but then again, even some coaches can get out of line. You just have to step back from your emotions, look at where the reviewer is coming from, see how he or she critiques other works, see your work from their point of view, and then decide if their critique is worth considering. Easier said than done at times, but it is the way to go.

alanmt
January 30th, 2013, 04:01 PM
All kinds of writers critique here, including (present company excepted) some who are a little rough around the edges, lacking refinement or social skills. Other people's personality is not a judgement on the writer and shouldn't be taken as such. However, some of the most brilliant people can be socially awkward and some of the most successful writers who want to help you can come across as raging jerks (a certain very popular mystery writer comes to mind), so one shouldn't reject advice out of hand merely because of the manner in which it is presented.

dolphinlee
February 2nd, 2013, 11:43 AM
When I first posted three days ago I was feeling a little battered. I am relieved to find that I am not alone. I also feel reenergised.

Crits are hard work but I learn so much from doing them. Sometimes I am reminded that a word exists and I know that word will find its way into my work. Sometimes I see a flowing description and I marvel at the author's ability to trigger a picture in my head. Sometimes I see an MC's reaction, which I find strange, and I look to see how and why the author has justified the reaction.

Thank you for all your words and advice.

Rustgold
February 2nd, 2013, 07:11 PM
Several times I have seen the equivalent of – “You have no right to change my sentence/my work in this way.”
I'd think it'll only be a few like this, and it's their loss. You can crit anything of mine anytime :)


4 I try to find something positive to say about the piece.
5 I look out for spelling and grammar mistakes.
1 If there are flaws in the logic of the piece I try to explain these.
2 If there is something that ‘jars’ me out of the piece I will mention it.
3 If there is a sentence that is not doing the job it is supposed to be doing I may suggest a rewrite.
You don't mind if I numbered the order I believe are more important for me.


Personally I really do not mind negative comments. In a recent, related discussion, someone said he wrote critiques with the assumption that no piece of writing is perfect, and personally I think that's right on. So when I post something, it's with the idea that something is wrong with it that I haven't seen yet. Yes, I like some sugar, too, everybody does, but if there's problems I want to know. If the reader doesn't understand something I've written, then I have to figure out why they've misunderstood and if I can fix it. It might be them, but more often it's me. If my wording seems strange or my sentence structure is boring or my pacing is off, I need to either fix that or decide if I feel strongly enough about that to keep it as is. Or sometimes they don't see something as a problem but they understand the text very differently from how I do, and that's interesting, too.
Why write when you can steal :)

Nickleby
February 2nd, 2013, 08:57 PM
One point has been brought up but needs to be clarified a bit.

As always, that's only my opinion ... which is the point. A critique may contain objective advice on matters such as spelling and grammar. A writer who asks for criticism on a work that still has glaring errors is still a beginner. Everything else in a critique is subjective advice, impressions, interpretations.

A good critic can say bad things in a good way. The intent is not to hurt the writer's feelings, it's to help the writer learn.

The writer, for his/her part, shouldn't take that criticism subjectively. Beginners, unfortunately, sometimes do. They have invested a lot of time and effort in their work, and they may not understand that it is not yet perfect.

At some point you realize your work will never be perfect. There's a subjective component to all fiction. Some people won't understand it, some people won't like it, some people won't even bother to read it. You can't control those reactions.

If you're going to retain your integrity (and your sanity), you have to develop a style, an ethos, a vision--whatever you want to call it--and stick with it. Critics will disagree with your vision, but that doesn't invalidate it. Your vision may change over time, but don't let it shift with the wind of your latest crit.

My advice to the OP (and all writers) is to take every critique as a jumping-off point for discussion. If you can continue a dialog with the critic, good. If you can't, your only choice is to continue it with yourself, and it's easy to take it too far. You may never know why the critic said a certain thing, so don't read too much into it. As the artist, you and only you decide how seriously to take the crit and what to take away from it.

It's hard to take criticism, no matter how well put or well intentioned or valuable. Read your crits. Put them aside for a while. Handle them when you've had a chance to digest them. Use them to make yourself a better writer. If you respond, try to help the other person become a better critic. We'll never be perfect, but we should keep trying to improve.

Cran
February 3rd, 2013, 04:08 AM
I've stickied this because I believe it's an important discussion for all who give and receive crits.

Staff Deployment
February 3rd, 2013, 04:48 AM
Stickying it is good, but that might indicate that the original post is the focus, when rather (as far as I can tell) the reason for putting the thread up at the top is for all of the great discussion that has followed.

EDIT: AND NOW I RUIN THE DISCUSSION BY TALKING ABOUT MYSELF

I critique less than I feel I should, but when I do I try to go beyond just "this is how I feel about it" and more along the lines of "this is why I feel this way about it." I also purposely seek out works that haven't seen much feedback, which leaves few choices (which in turn indicates a healthy critiquing forum, so good job!).

What's funny is that when I signed up I was struggling through French, so the purpose of my involvement with the site was to find things written in English to gripe about. My introduction was something like, "I would like to post devil's advocate critiques." Of course things changed very quickly, and really any critiques I post nowadays are nowhere near as melodramatically harsh as the first one I put on the site. Also, I hope, considerably more useful.

Rustgold
February 3rd, 2013, 04:51 AM
I've stickied this because I believe it's an important discussion for all who give and receive crits.

Just to point out there's this stickied thread.
http://www.writingforums.com/prose-writers-workshop/107429-need-guidance-writing-crit-here.html

Cran
February 3rd, 2013, 07:01 AM
We know that discussing moderation in thread, and derailing discussions, are definite no-nos, don't we?

(actually, there are two stickied threads about crits in the Prose Workshop - just goes to show how important a part of forum participation giving thoughtful critiques must be)

Staff Deployment
February 7th, 2013, 08:55 AM
Should we discuss methods?
I think we should discuss methods.

When I crit I copy the subject into a separate document, then take notes as I read through. Then in another document I write out the critique in paragraph form, covering the main ideas I want to discuss. Then I paste it all into the reply box.

I do it this way because I don't trust the box to not randomly delete everything I've written. I know there's an auto-save thingy... but I've been betrayed before.

(also my internet is unreliable)

The point being, it takes me a while, but at the end I think I generally produce something coherent, and if everything goes well, even helpful (though that's a far cry).

Lewdog
February 7th, 2013, 09:25 AM
If anyone says they write for writing alone, and don't care about the vindication they receive when others read their work and enjoy it, is telling a lie. Yes, I get defensive over some critiques, to say otherwise would be insane. I've hurt for my feelings on my work, literally. When doing a critique I feel it's important to critique the story that's there. If you feel like the writer might be missing the boat on something, ask them questions. I think it comes across as much more tolerant if the writer is able to be included in the decision to go a different direction, than if the person that is doing the critique comes across as thinking something should be more important than the original piece included.

As a writer, or in anything in life, I want to accomplish tasks I set out to do without having someone else do it for me. This is when having someone else re-write something for me, or leading me in a direction where I re-write it myself, becomes such a contrast. There are ways to critique people so that they become better writers without feeling like a lesser person in the process, and instead feel a sense of accomplishment in the end. It's the same way I feel about how people manage others. I never succeed in an environment where I am threatened with punishment in order to do better, yet I thrive when a carrot is put on a stick in front of me, and I am rewarded for doing a good job. I guess it could be called 'caged animal syndrome.'

I hope that made sense, I'm trying to be extremely careful. :D

shadowwalker
February 7th, 2013, 03:20 PM
I think it's important for the person doing the crit to point out areas of confusion and (personally) I include examples of how I would rephrase something. But those are clearly stated as examples, not "Do it this way, dummy!". I've had very few crits done, and done very few crits, where there isn't a discussion between the parties.

As to methodology, I make a copy, then put my comments/examples in the document using red for corrections (grammar) and blue for suggestions/comments. I've tried reading crits that have the note thingy on the side and it's just confusing as all get-out for me; I like having the comments right there where they happen.

moderan
February 7th, 2013, 03:27 PM
Read through once. Open separate window, notepad. Read again, making notes. Pare down notes. That's it for me. Maybe read again in view of what I thought about during the period when I wore the editor hat.
Post the result if it's reasonably positive. I don't want to discourage anyone.

Ariel
February 12th, 2013, 05:59 PM
In college (I have a bachelor's in English focusing on creative writing) I had a course in which the professor decided what works he would have the class critique each week from what we'd submitted the week before. The person being critiqued was not allowed to speak. If the writer did speak they were kicked out of the class. It was, sometimes, really hard to sit through those critiques.

I realized after the class was through he'd chosen what he considered the best pieces of the week.

It felt really, really weird being in that seat. I learned a lot about taking crits that I didn't necessarily agree with and to set those critiques aside a few days and look at them from a distance.

I learned that working straight from my heart isn't always the best policy and if I had to write something personal that before I gave it to the public I needed to set it aside so it didn't sting so much.

Morkonan
February 23rd, 2013, 02:51 AM
...

Comments?


When you give a critique, you have a job to do. It's not personal, it's business. It's professional stewardship, not a harvest dance.

When I give a critique, I grit my teeth and pull out the knife. If I have to look for something good to say, then there's nothing there worthy of being praised. I know that people have soft skins, but if I can't find anything good about their story, then I'm going to have to say so. It's better that they find out now, on the 'net, than after spending years writing garbage and then committing suicide by jumping off their pile of rejection letters.

That being said, there is nothing at all adversarial about the critique process. One shouldn't "hunt" for problems that aren't there and one shouldn't be crass or condescending when problems are discovered. One way to overcome this is by offering examples to demonstrate the problems you are pointing out. I don't like doing "rewrites" of other's work, but I will do it if that's the only way I can be sure to get a particular point across to the writer. I will never offer a point in a critique that doesn't also have an accompanying example if one is possible. I may not correct spelling mistakes or formatting, but I'll do just about anything to demonstrate to the submitter that I am paying very close attention to their work and am, in turn, offering up my own skill as demonstration of my knowledge instead of making open-ended criticisms without worthy suggestions for correction. Re-writing inevitably occurs, but I try to keep it to a minimum.

Lastly, one should never barge in to a forum or gathering and submit articles for review and criticism unless one has done the community a service by providing good criticisms of the work of others, first. That's something I firmly believe in. It demonstrates a willingness to contribute meaningfully to a group of like-minded enthusiasts.

Sometimes, you will come across someone who takes your carefully constructed criticism personally and feels insulted by your corrections or admonitions. Well, that's going to happen, sooner or later, and there's not much you can do about it. If you've taken steps to try to minimize that by adopting a light tone, humility, understanding and have paid attention to detail, providing evidence to support your corrections, then you've done all you can do. After that, there's no use to get bent out of shape about it. Just nod politely, give your respects, thank them for the opportunity provided for you to contribute something and then leave the "room." That's all you can do. Those sorts of people are going to get upset no matter what. If you've done your "job" right, then there's no reason for them to get upset if they're doing their "job" right, as well.

cassie30
February 25th, 2013, 04:02 AM
I personally enjoy a good critique it helps me improve my writing.

namesake
March 7th, 2013, 01:08 AM
I wish I can contribute whenever I can since feedback is hard to come by for me(forgien language user), feedback never was at a shortage when I started in any forum. I never take anything negative unless of course I get a bit paranoid, which I do have problems. People shouldn't think much of the negative critique since a) I tell that what works for me, but it is not affirmative. Also if I was being negative it was a perception not impression. Having gone through some traumatizing experiences. With regards to criticism, for example, having people say I will never become a writer, seems to be the case. I am not melodramatic, and hope people can see this from a non-senstitive angle. I know sometimes I am frank. It if someone suffers from a misunderstood epidemic I'd think so.

My way off being constructive some people will think badly off. I ask people patience to understand me because language can be very suggestive. If you use slang of vulgar language the forum rules are broken, If on the other hand no rules are broken then I will probably be asked to be understanding to something I probably could never prove. I try. Thanks to incisive critiques like doplhinleee, I searched for help being not too knowledgeable about how it affects my writing, that has to do with mental acumen. So it's just like the 45 old man who won a pulitzer prize and discovered he was autistic. It's society's fault and not my own. These logical errors only add up to my critiquing experience, since I am mostly self taught. I hope all this is useful, because I try to be nice.

In conclusion I am always begging for feedback, only to face the occasional grammar nazi. Still reading and giving criticism is in my hopes good enough. I hope people don't pick on people. Plus I am never too big a believer of people thinking adversely about what I say.

IMO I fall into the stereotype of a "less than stellar writer."

In conclusion which shouldn't generalize since we are not random people.

Ariel
March 10th, 2013, 12:37 PM
Namesake, I think it's simply that you're writing in a language that isn't in your native language for us and it's more than comendable. If I were attempting to write in Spanish (of which I can speak a little) or French (of which I can read, write, and speak on a Kindergarten level) I would probably be incomprehensible. There is nothing wrong with that.

I am afraid to even try to write as extensively as you do in a foreign language.

What I'm trying to say is that I think that you're a perfectly fine writer with many great ideas and we are simply hindered from understanding your work because of a small language barrier.

Work shopping is quite different online than it is in person. It is much harder to help someone revise their work grammatically and it is harder to help teach someone this way. It is also harder to get across your precise meaning.

powerskris
March 21st, 2013, 05:38 AM
I try to find something positive to say about the piece.

Always a good idea, unless there's nothing good to say at all!!!!

I look out for spelling and grammar mistakes.

A good editor will do this. Are you charging?

If there are flaws in the logic of the piece I try to explain these.

Ensure that you explain them and don't look like an ass when you say "I just don't know why he would slip on the banana peel?"

If there is something that ‘jars’ me out of the piece I will mention it.

Good. I never want too many jars in anything I'm writing.

If there is a sentence that is not doing the job it is supposed to be doing I may suggest a rewrite.

I always liked the line: "Green eggs and ham".

Peter Dyr
March 27th, 2013, 10:03 PM
I am specifically looking for a critical review of my manuscript, and will endeavour to be thankful for any criticism and use it to improve the next edition of my book. I am a freelance writer and author of the book "The Epic Of Gilgamesh, The Teachings Of Siduri And How Siduri's Ancient Advice Can Help Guide Us To A Happier Life". Third Edition.

My primary interest is in writing about how ancient advice (from thousands of years ago) can still positively impact our lives today. The third edition of my eBook has been downloaded quite a lot (over 1000 times) and has received a few positive reviews (6), but I have now idea where I can get an in depth critical review that will help me to draft a better fourth edition. I would be extremely grateful if any of you talented writers on this forum would consider taking a look at the forth draft of my book (which is a work in progress) and let me know where it can be improved. I would be willing to perform the same service in kind for other people's manuscripts. While I am no expert, it might help to get another person's point of view. The manuscript for the fourth edition can be downloaded from here:

Link Removed

If you make changes/comments in the word file itself, please use track changes so I can see where they are. Please also feel free to send me your manuscript so I can return the favor. My email address is

Link Removed

Kind regards,
Peter

ADMIN Note: Do not post personal details such as email addresses into the forum. If you want people to contact you, invite them to use the PM system.

WechtleinUns
March 30th, 2013, 11:15 PM
Everyone who does critique, you guys are awesome, and deserve to be respected. I've also had this happen to me more than once. The way I view it, critiques are about helping others become better writers, with an emphasis on the author. Many writers may not have the maturity to accept criticism on their form and technique. If that's the case, I usually refrain from giving technical advice, but I try to help them understand their writing better and their relationship to it. In general, if I get a vibe from an author that they might appreciate technical suggestions, then I do and see how they respond. If I don't feel that technical advice would best help the writer at the time of the review, then I see if there is some other way I can help them.

NathanBrazil
March 31st, 2013, 09:58 AM
I've pasted this from the Need a Critique Stickeyed thread.

If someone criticises you or your critique, please do not respond to them in the thread. Report the post and it will be dealt with by staff. Likewise, do not derail someone else's thread with off-topic comments which aren't relevant. If you must reply to an off-topic response, take it to PMs.

Asking for an elaboration is one thing but attacking you or your critique is frowned upon.


For me the tone of a critique is important. A skilled writer is certainly capable of modifying the tone of a critique without changing its overall content. When I receive a particularly harsh or biting critique, it tends to close the door to further discussion. At the moment I'm upset, and need to walk away from the thread. Later I'm able to digest the information, and I've found, more often than not, that the harsher critiques tend to be spot on, but I'm not interested in continuing the conversation.

If someone starts a critique with "I'm sorry this doesn't really work me . . ." and then lays out in detail what needs to be worked on, I don't find that to be harsh. Just a few words added here and there can soften a critique but still disseminate the same information.


Thanks Leyline for the link to the burnt thread. I plan to read through the posts when I have more time. I'm sure it will be very instructive.

Jared77
April 28th, 2013, 11:15 PM
There are good ways to critique, and not so good ways. I posted a screenplay I wrote to a script website, and got about 5 replies. Only one had anything helpful. The first one said "I couldn't get past page 5," with no other advice or tips at all. The other reviews all criticized the format (they didn't like that it was a word doc and not PDF - fair enough!), but NO comments on the actual script. One of the others actually commented on the story, but then included condescending remarks like "Don't give up kiddo! You're just starting out, you'll get better buddy!" I've been writing scripts for 10 years!!! I'm now trying to write a novel.

TheWritingWriter
May 28th, 2013, 05:01 AM
Some writers assume that they can post a story that they can consider polished and expect colorful reviews to come flying in! This, however, is not FF.net or something where you'll recieve, "MOARRRRRR!" Not to insult fan fiction, or the fact that many talented authors enjoy it, but here at the forums, we aim for something different than the love of our favorite fandoms.

It is my understanding that to post your work here would be with intentions of receiving constructive criticism to take into consideration, and to better your work. It is always best to have a second set of eyes to catch not only grammatical and spelling errors, but to spot flow disruption or confusion. So if I see that someone has posted an excerpt of their work, I'm only going to assume that they are seeking help. If someone were to bash me for taking my time & energy to not only read a story, but to form a thought out con-crit review, I would be not only astounded, but angry.

OP's should realize that you ARE asking users of the forum to take time out of their day to read your work and try to HELP. They don't have to offer this help, but they choose to anyway. I would make sure to thank anyone for their suggestions and time.

cygorx
May 28th, 2013, 10:21 PM
Individuals such as myself are extremely conscientious and perfectionistic, and they strive to be the best. Criticism is my greatest fear, and I take any kind of pressure as criticism; this strikes in the very root of my being. That is the result of holding such a high standard in my work. If it is constructive, I will try my best to see it as positiveness on the exterior, yet alas, on the interior I always see it as negativity.

Pluralized
May 28th, 2013, 10:41 PM
There is no better way to thicken one's skin than to put your work out there and let people tear it to shreds. Placation nets you nothing, despite the pleasant feel of affirmation...

I also find that giving others feedback helps me understand critical reading and critical thinking better. While the expertise of my crits might pale in comparison to more astute and experienced writers, I find tremendous value in the give-and-take of it all. It's a shame that portion of the site sees as little activity as it does, versus something like the lounge. It is a lot of work to produce a thought-out critique, and can be rather thankless. There again, maybe that's why I focus so heavily on the benefits to myself from providing them.

Also, it's nice to see the work develop and improve, and the critiques I've received have helped me "get it" when I was otherwise repeating the same stupid mistakes. That, over the years, is going to help me be better.

Folcro
June 2nd, 2013, 08:10 PM
There is no better way to thicken one's skin than to put your work out there and let people tear it to shreds. Placation nets you nothing, despite the pleasant feel of affirmation...

I also find that giving others feedback helps me understand critical reading and critical thinking better. While the expertise of my crits might pale in comparison to more astute and experienced writers, I find tremendous value in the give-and-take of it all. It's a shame that portion of the site sees as little activity as it does, versus something like the lounge. It is a lot of work to produce a thought-out critique, and can be rather thankless. There again, maybe that's why I focus so heavily on the benefits to myself from providing them.

Also, it's nice to see the work develop and improve, and the critiques I've received have helped me "get it" when I was otherwise repeating the same stupid mistakes. That, over the years, is going to help me be better.

I couldn't have put it better myself, Pluralized. I don't know how I survived the gaming forum I first put my work on, but I came out stronger... or less sane. Either way, good for a writer.

Dictarium
June 2nd, 2013, 10:18 PM
I can understand why some people may react to criticism on this site the way they do. When I posted my first piece here I was getting critiques on things I didn't even think could be wrong with a piece, or at least don't think of. Pacing, verb tense, too much explanation of detail, etc. When confronted with stuff like that all at once it can be overwhelming especially if you don't have any formal creative writing instruction (like I haven't).

Don't get me wrong, it's not an excuse to use insults, as hominem, or defiance in response to reasonable, polite critiques, just a possible reason.

Greimour
July 21st, 2013, 02:14 AM
I always try to thank crits, even if I don't always agree I still take their opinion on board.

I post with two intentions:

1. I want to know how it made you feel, what it made you think, whether or not you enjoyed it or would enjoy it if it was written better.
2. What am I doing wrong with my writing, why do I never feel satisfied with it, why does my work need editing when I confidently help other people with their work?
- Essentially, how can I improve my own writing.

If I posted a short story so badly written that you would have to re-write the whole thing to explain what I did wrong... I might cry with happiness that someone made the effort.

Point: What's the point of sharing on a writers forum if you don't want it judged? There are blogs you can do that on. Post it in "notes" on facebook, twitter it, make a site of your own...

I hate having stuff I am proud of get bad crits, but I still take in what they say. The problem then, I want to delete the original thread and post it up fresh after revision and have it re-reviewed... To fix the dent in my pride with approval from those who rejected it.
(but I feel cheeky doing that and I don't.)

Feel free to crit my stuff anytime Lee.

Odd Greg
August 14th, 2013, 08:49 PM
I'm not sure if what I have to say here is germane to the subject, but I have always felt that, on balance, words fail. I'm not superstitious, so I don't believe that going into a story necessarily requires me to be wholeheartedly brave about it. Bravery can get a person into some very stupid situations, I think. I go in realizing that no matter how I try, the words will ultimately fail to capture what it is I truly want the reader to see, or to take away from the story.

Some people read critically at all times. Some people are more interested in the atmosphere of the story, and have a high tolerance for mistakes. Others can be completely turned off by a piece because it contains a misuse of a word, or contains a psychological trigger in a phrase. (Many people are triggered by a scene or an idea.) So it is reasonable, to me, to believe that words will always fail. But they can get close, and they can be beautifully crafted into a mesmerizing tale.

Critiques are an essential part of writing, unless the writer is a) not at all interested in anyone reading their work, or b) is a snowflake prince or princess who is only looking for praise.

It can be a rough road in either direction. If you have ever acted or performed on stage, then you might know what I mean by 'it's like dancing in boiling water'.

allyson17white
August 16th, 2013, 05:12 PM
I don't mind harsh critics but when they don't actually tell me how to fix my work that's what I don't like. Or when I get two critiques that say completely opposite things.

singphantom7
August 25th, 2013, 08:35 PM
I would appreciate someone taking the time to thoughtfully comment on my work, and if I don't like what they have to say, that is up to me to consider whether it does have merit, and could possibly make my work better. I'm new to this forum, and though I think criticism for you creative babies can be often hard to swallow, we as writers have to try to step away from our emotional attachment and consider the problems with the piece (as they all will have) and fix them. Thanks for your critiques...they should be appreciated, not met with harshness. I hope to get some good advice when I post my own fiction. Don't let the defensive ones deter you (:

Odd Greg
August 26th, 2013, 01:10 AM
Don't let the defensive ones deter you (:

I'm working on it - but not here.

Gavrushka
August 31st, 2013, 11:47 AM
A response to the original poster:

You seem very much like the perfect critic to me, and I do hope when I post work you'll get a chance to read through and comment :)

I've come to this site, at the suggestion of a friend, as I wish to be better than I am now; I have a long way to go...

Having said that, I remember the first time I put my work up for public scrutiny and how I reacted to the helpful criticisms that felt more like a physical assault... I can look back and laugh now, but I was indignant, deeply distressed and embalmed myself in denial for the better part of, ummm, 10 minutes...

...and that was the point I realised just where I was as a writer; it was the point I made the first tentative steps to improve.

Today I celebrate making a mess of things, because I know that people like dolphinlee will come to my rescue and help me be all I can.

We can either learn from mistakes, or we can wrap ourselves in the shallow and pointless comments of sycophants, who may hope to elicit a positive comment in return.

So I've my hard hat on and my medical insurance at hand for when I post work here. - Deserved praise is great, but objective criticism is a far better way to grow as a writer.

I can see I am going to like this site :)

Odd Greg
August 31st, 2013, 06:08 PM
The blind only rarely can successfully lead the blind.

Some critics believe that sympathy is weakness.
Some writers believe they deserve empathy.
Some critics believe the only way to learn is through punishment.
Some writers believe writing is a gift.
Some critics can’t see the forest for the trees.
Some writers are blinded by their own words.
Some critics are cynical and bitter writers.
Some writers are naďve dreamers.
Some critics believe they are judge, jury and executioner.
Some writers believe they are blameless.
Some critics don’t believe in magic.
Some writers only believe in magic.

A good critic is made, not born.
A good writer is made, not born.
Good critics recognize their own mistakes.
Good writers learn to correct their own mistakes.

Writing and critiquing is not war, it is collaboration. The good need not die young, and perseverance does not guarantee victory. A good teacher tells, shows, tells again and tests. A good learner listens, practices, listens again and applies. Neither the teacher or the student is entitled to anything, nor are they perfect. Learn from competent critics and teachers, and embrace the magic of storytelling while maintaining your character and dignity.

In the end, we learn best from considerate and courteous mentors, and we are only able to teach those who truly want to learn. What remains is noise on the playground.

Work hard, and good luck.

Tan
November 2nd, 2013, 07:27 PM
I guess it comes down to it some writers are too sensitive. In my opinion you seem like the best critic that could be asked for. I respect you for it good sir.
Personally I don't mind negative comments, I know I am a novice and it would surprise me if i got mostly positive feedback. I look forward to all my flaws being pointed out, it is one of the reasons I came here in the first place.

Folcro
November 2nd, 2013, 07:54 PM
I've been a proud contributor to this site for a number of months now. Throughout this time, I have provided numerous critiques for many different writers. These critiques have for the most part been quite detailed and not only very strict, but often catered to my personal outlook on the best way to write. In spite of this, I, for one, have never experienced a writer who has been anything but grateful to me, if not always enthusiastically so (but often very enthusiastic).

Now, I'm not sure if things had improved in the short time between the start of this thread and my joining the forums--- though I can't imagine how this could be--- or if I have simply been lucky or otherwise subconsciously insightful in whom I choose to critique, but I figured I'd let it be known that, for whatever reason, my experience in both critiquing and receiving critiques has been all-around positive: a testament to the good people of this forum.

Disclaimer: I do spend most of my time in the fiction forum, so... maybe we're just classier than ya'll :p

Kristopia
December 11th, 2013, 02:57 AM
I checked out (not posting) for several weeks the forums at Amazon about a year ago, and found that there were far too many people who did not want to hear "You need someone to copy edit your work," or "This section feels a little awkward." Any honest critter got a backlash of flames from the original author (who had asked for critique) and from seemingly numerous trolls coming out of the woodwork.

The OP in this post (and the thoughtful responses afterward) convince me that I've found a place that is primarily full of very thoughtful people, with only the occasional "you hurt my feelings" type. Good to know, as when I post anything and ask for a critique, I will really be looking for honesty.

Iris ♥
February 15th, 2014, 02:13 AM
Aye, I've never seen this reaction before though it does kinda of amuse me, in not an offensive way :P I'm pretty surprised with the said reactions to crits. i'm only a young person that is starting out writing and honestly, I don't think I've ever felt anything negative from any crits

Trygve
March 29th, 2014, 06:04 PM
I thought the entire point here was to garner constructive criticism. I want to know what doesn't work and why, and I assume that's what others want as well. I find that if I turn something in and then read it later, I see all kinds of things that make me grimace. Probably, most of us are our own worst critics. Still, a little tact can go a long way when someone else points out possible flaws in our work.

aron25
May 5th, 2014, 04:43 AM
Your experience and advice are big help for us newbies. Thanks for the effort of sharing it...

Diatsu
August 23rd, 2014, 03:52 AM
I find many writers, even myself from time to time post their work not to be evaluated or critiqued, but to be accepted. To be able to go to a place free of all stress and to let their minds flow in a way that truly expresses themselves, in hopes of feeling a bit of acceptance and gratitude.

For example, I used to write on a website called readwave, and from the beginning a kind critique by the name of Hannah gave me words of inspiration, and made me feel truly confident.

However, she began to praise less, and critique more. I found her fixing the same issues over and over, no matter how much I worked on them, I had always failed.

This made me feel small, pathetic, and overall unworthy of posting in a place full of such talented authors. You see, I understood that she only meant well. And in the beginning I truly did appreciate it. However; page after page, I was reminded that I was not as good as I once thought, and it crushed my self esteem into nothing.

The point I'm trying to get across is there are many people who really do want to further their art. But no matter how much they want to get better, and no matter how confident they appear of their work, some people really just need a kind person telling them " I thoroughly enjoyed your piece! I hope you continue writing, I would love to read more of your work." to give them that sense of acceptance and confidence that all students need to progress in their field.

As a way to avoid offending people, the first time I read someone's work I will always praise them, and offer no criticism unless they directly ask for it. Than the next time they post something I will praise them, and offer a small word of advice. "Try working on your descriptions a little more. I couldn't really tell the emotion Mr. Blank was feeling when Mrs. Blank confronted him."

Basically I will ease the person into it, so they can slowly get used to taking constructive criticism, rather than being thrown into it with a person giving them 3 paragraphs explaining as to why their story just isn't good enough. I've never received a negative response while practicing this method, and I would highly suggest you give it a try.

-Jesse

Santa
September 16th, 2014, 04:06 PM
Perhaps I got more comfortable with crits when I began using betas to help me solidify my story. I was used to listening to where I was going off and began anxiously awaiting their ideas. I think if anyone wants to be a serious writer you have to listen to others, both readers and writers about what is good and bad. I believe a lot of writers who ask for crits actually believe they will hear how wonderful their story is and don't honestly expect (or want) criticism about their effort. You will almost never see or hear of those works no matter how many years they are out.

As Ernest Hemingway said, "We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master."

JustRob
February 14th, 2015, 04:04 PM
This is a subject that I, as any other writer, must consider seriously. A very good friend, a member of Toastmasters, a master wordsmith and host of a regular short story telling competition, gave me some well-considered criticism on the chapters of my novel which appear on this website now. I replied with my views on his comments in the manner of discussion that we have enjoyed over many years and he told me that such comments should be met just with thanks and nothing else, which I found interesting. I regard a story to be a fragmented event in which the participants do not normally directly engage. I know an English literature tutor who would dearly like to ask Shakespeare quite a few things about his work to be sure that he isn't misleading his students. This is a forum where something unique can happen though, interaction between writer and reader to make the event more worthwhile for others. I honestly never contemplated anyone else reading my novel but was surprised when I found it so enjoyable to read and wanted to know whether that was the result of the written words themselves or just the thoughts that they stimulated within my own mind. It is possible that in truth my written words will only sit well within another reader's mind if it is similar enough to mine, oddly enough a fact that the novel itself actually debates at one point. I have encountered one reader who has read the whole thing and enjoyed it, but he was that English literature tutor, someone who is capable of seeing deeply into literature of all kinds, so maybe that is my only type of target reader. Elsewhere on this website the issue of writing to satisfy the lowest common denominator of readership has been discussed and there seems to be some agreement that writing is an art with many styles, so not all readers will like all styles. Under those circumstances I consider it quite reasonable to question whether criticism arises from the reader's own style of reading and compatibilty with the writer without in any way criticising the reader themselves. The literary event is a meeting of minds and we should gain the most benefit from it that is possible.

I was educated at a traditional English boarding school in the late 1950s. No doubt you have seen representations of such places in books and films if not experienced them directly. They were said to be character-building although I would say that for some they could equally be character-destroying. Either way the environment was one of perpetual creative criticism and one gave as good as one got. In the end everyone benefited without any ill will. Any who didn't hadn't understood the process.

I accept all criticism gratefully, but I also perpetually doubt that I am understood and have to convince myself that I have been. Criticism without an understanding of its origin, the specific reading event that triggered it, is not so valuable as that obtained from an event that one fully understands, so sometimes I need more to get that benefit and will ask for it. That is not being ungrateful. If I were ungrateful I, like some of the critical readers who have written hereabove, would just let things be and do nothing else.

randyveach
February 15th, 2015, 08:30 AM
I am new on this forum, but I would like to think if someone critiques my submission they are giving me there opinion. If they took the time to read it and critique it, I thank them for their time (maybe ask a question if I didn't understand their point). I would next look at their credentials. If they had an award (or several awards), more than 1000 posts, and if their join date was more than 1 year old.. I would thank my lucky stars they read my submission and critiqued it. If on the other hand they were a nubie, or the posts were less than 100, I would still thank them and go one to another review. Anyone that reads another persons submission and then takes the time to respond should get a "THANK YOU", what you do with there advice, weather you agree or disagree, is up to you. Keep in mind that if you bad mouth reviewers you will quickly find yourself without anyone wanting to review your work. Is that what you really want?

randyveach

Crowley K. Jarvis
February 15th, 2015, 08:48 AM
This is exactly the problem I have when I speak to my Father.

He is a very very smart man. He learned math incredibly well. Performed in competitions to see who solved problems the fastest. He took an IQ test once, I forget the exact number but it was high.

The problem is, he's too analytical in his thinking. And, exactly, he can correct people and not even know he's being rude or hurting someone's feelings.

He's always right. He's completely correct and rarely makes mistakes. An incredible man in many ways.
But he hurts people's feelings on a daily basis. He has learned to apologize often.

Now, I use him as an example because we can do that if we're too harsh. It doesn't matter if you're right. But if you completely pick someone apart, you've achieved the opposite of what a critique is supposed to do.

Then, instead of wanting to improve, the writer wants to give up. We're all very nice here, and I've seen it. Some of the most helpful people I've met in a long time, but we do like reminders!

Keep up the good work! Build people up instead of tearing them down.

JustRob
February 15th, 2015, 10:04 AM
Yes, constructive criticism is an extremely difficult and easily thankless task and I suspect that it is often impossible, so anyone who attempts it is due all credit, but equally a critic must be prepared to recognise the dying gasps of a hopeless dream not as criticism reflected back at them but a cry for more help. I am a recent newcomer to this website and my reception intrigues me. First the big welcome and acceptance, then I submit the first chapter of my novel and enthusiasm abounds. "Give us more!" I hear, so I offer the second chapter and it dies a death. I have already had my work read by others elsewhere whom I trust and am aware of my probable shortcomings but also my strengths. In fact one old friend is a true wordsmith, a pedant and perfectionist after my own heart. Having studied many of the world's religions he is now an atheist and to meditate he walks through the forest of Silva Rhetoricae sometimes discussing my literary constructs with me there, so I value his opinion as both an expert and a friend. He criticised me about my work strongly at one point saying "I know that you can do better. Your second chapter proves that," so now coming here I am disheartened. If my second chapter is truly the zenith of my writing career then there is nothing left and my hopes are dashed. So be it. It was only a dream that led me start writing anyway and dreams soon fade away. There are other paths for me to walk in my life. That is why criticism must always be questioned regardless of how many awards or successes the critic has acquired elsewhere, because we always struggle to keep on living the dream. You can easily guess that my car is a Honda, can't you?

shadowwalker
February 15th, 2015, 03:59 PM
I've gotten some great critiques from "newbies" to the writing scene, simply because they didn't know all the 'writerly' BS - just what worked for them and what didn't. I don't really care about credentials - if it makes sense, it makes sense.

ppsage
April 21st, 2015, 08:41 AM
There's some of us here who neither post work nor criticize. We just like to hang out in the discussion threads and provide the pith that lets the sap of wisdom nourish the flowers of our inflorescence. But seriously, probably we should divide the critical parts of the site into grades, like nursery and kindergarten and so on up, until everybody gets the kind of comment they want.

Arrakis
July 8th, 2015, 01:33 AM
When I critique stories, I am always frank, upfront, and dispassionate. With clinical detachment, I meticulously point out the flaws and strong points, then advise on how the story can be improved--no bias, no sugarcoating. When I write negative reviews, I don't do it to pick on the author, I do it to smooth their rough edges. Nothing more, nothing less. In mine personal opinion, you're not doing them any favours by clouding the truth in sweet words. From mine point of view, that's like pampering an offspring; it may make them feel good now, but it's not going to strengthen them in the long run. If anything, it will just inflate their sense of entitlement without actually making much, if any, progress. I have seen this happen many times when mentoring writers; you keep giving them undeserved praise, and eventually their undeserved ego goes to their head. The truth is painful, but lies are poison. I'm not like some critics whom will just straight up twist your head off.

Despite this, however, I am nevertheless held in contempt by many for supposedly being a bully (and many other names that would take too long to list). When in truth, I'm just being honest and logical. [Shrugs] Such is the life of a stoic.

Angel101
July 9th, 2015, 01:28 PM
I just encountered this attitude, and I've only been back a few days... People who don't want criticism should either say so or quit posting their work online. I don't understand why people take things so personally. It's a writing forum. What do you expect? People to say your work is fantastic and perfect? It's not. No one's work is perfect. We all need to improve. Isn't that why you post it, or is that just me?

What I really don't understand, though, is why other members need to jump in and comment on my criticism. That's not helpful to the writer. Write your own critique. In fact, on other forums there are rules against commenting on critiques unless you're the author of the work that applies. It's good rule and helps avoid arguments and people ganging up on each other. It also avoids people commenting like, "Yeah, what he said."

Sorry, I'm just grumbling... At least I know whose work to avoid. The only upside of the bad attitude!

TJ1985
July 9th, 2015, 01:47 PM
I just encountered this attitude, and I've only been back a few days... People who don't want criticism should either say so or quit posting their work online. I don't understand why people take things so personally. It's a writing forum. What do you expect? People to say your work is fantastic and perfect? It's not. No one's work is perfect. We all need to improve. Isn't that why you post it, or is that just me?

How dare you say their work isn't perfect! Why, of course it's perfect, flawless, and totally without blemish, you're just reading it wrong. That's pretty common when inferiors try to read a truly great work. :P Meanwhile on this planet, some people can take critique and some can't. I know 99.9% of my work could be printed and would serve only to cheapen the paper and waste the ink. That other .1%, it's still bad but it's not *that* bad. (It is, but I'm allowed a .1% variance for my lack of humility.)

I do think some people expect this place is like a hangout for publishers and agents. Get something posted and then hire somebody to help read all the PM's offering seven figure contracts and movie deals. I think that's why rookies have such an aversion to the 10 post rule before posting creative works. It's like we're delaying them from their due destiny with rules. Others see it as a blog to bemoan their lives, and have no interest in learning. I have little use for people who expect me to care about their writing when it's pretty obvious they don't. ;)

The truth for me is, I rarely have to time to crit works properly, and when I do have the time I often worry about pointing out blemishes in a piece the author sees as perfection in pixel form. I do try to, for this reason, minimize the amount I post for critique. It's wrong to constantly post things for crit (admiration) without handing out some admiration for others.

AtleanWordsmith
July 9th, 2015, 02:09 PM
As a recently-freed newbie, I can completely attest to this. Now that I've gone through the Trial of the Ten Posts, I demand an agent and a publisher, and someone to tell me how wonderful my work is, and immunity from all negative criticism.

I... I don't like the way you're looking at me.

Please don't hurt me.

No, please! Not in the face! It's my best fea-

__________________

When I critique, I generally try to ignore things like grammar and sentence structure, because I know that there are people out there who are waaay more qualified than I am to handle it, and who will handle it.

Truth time: I don't actually know a lot about how grammar actually works. I picked up things like how sentences are supposed to be structured and what type of punctuation goes where, but for the life of me, I could not actually sit down and tell you how to do it. I do, however, know about flow. A lot of my writing is done in a casual manner, sacrificing certain rules in order to maintain the flow of the story. I'm not always successful, but I've been told that my writing is easy to read, and that's what I find important.

So... that's what I attempt to help people with, when and where I can.

TKent
July 9th, 2015, 02:24 PM
Ah...it appears no one gave you the full run down:

1. Ability to post your work for crit = 10 posts
2. #1 plus access to an agent who will harshly reject you = 10 posts + 10 in depth crits of 5K or longer works by fellow members
3. #2 but with a really sweet rejection = 10 posts + 10 in depth crits + 10 contest judging gigs
4. #3 plus access to an actual publisher who will harshly reject you = 10 posts + 10 crits + 10 contest judging gigs + 10 tweets that WF is best writing forum in the world
5. #4 but with a sweet rejection = 10 posts + 10 crits + 10 contests + 10 tweets + 10 Facebook shoutouts that WF is best writing forum in the world
6. All of above BUT with acceptances by the agent & publisher = keep writing until your work ROCKS + your first born child (don't worry, you'll be too busy writing to take care of her/him anyway)
7. Someone to tell you how wonderful your work is, and immunity from all negative criticism = it will never happen ;)



As a recently-freed newbie, I can completely attest to this. Now that I've gone through the Trial of the Ten Posts, I demand an agent and a publisher, and someone to tell me how wonderful my work is, and immunity from all negative criticism.

I... I don't like the way you're looking at me.

Please don't hurt me.

No, please! Not in the face! It's my best fea-

Angel101
July 9th, 2015, 03:28 PM
LOL. Are there medals for pissing people off? After this, I feel like I should get one. Holy moly. I have two toddlers, and yet this is the silliest thing I've dealt with all morning.

AtleanWordsmith
July 9th, 2015, 05:06 PM
Just let it roooll off your shoulders, Angel. Not everyone handles criticism well, and if they're going to dismiss your attempts to help because they didn't like what you had to say... well, they won't be receiving any help from you in the future.

They might find that they're turning off other would-be critics and mentors, as well. Nobody wants to waste their time and effort trying to help someone who won't be helped.

Bump 'em and roll on.

Harper J. Cole
July 9th, 2015, 09:07 PM
Interesting thread. I'll admit to being surprised at how direct some of the criticisms were when I first joined, but by the time I got around to actually posting anything I was used to them. Important thing to remember is that they're the same for everyone, though someone newly joined might not realise that.

HC

aj47
July 9th, 2015, 10:55 PM
Some people have a tough time separating themselves from their "word-children" and so they feel any fault you find in the word-children is criticism of them.

Bah.

Cran
July 9th, 2015, 11:59 PM
What I really don't understand, though, is why other members need to jump in and comment on my criticism. That's not helpful to the writer. Write your own critique. In fact, on other forums there are rules against commenting on critiques unless you're the author of the work that applies. It's good rule and helps avoid arguments and people ganging up on each other. It also avoids people commenting like, "Yeah, what he said."

I'm sorry, but it is not a good rule; it's a cop-out to protect critical elites without regard to the validity of the criticism. The rule here is that critics are not immune to challenge or question; that, more than the writer should be expected to defend the writing, the critic should be prepared to defend the critique.

This way, we avoid subjective taste being presented as objective assessment or empirical judgment.

Angel101
July 10th, 2015, 12:14 AM
I understand what you are saying. Everyone has their own way of doing things. I prefer to critique without being trampled by people who are more concerned about feelings than writing. If I were having a civil discussion with someone about my critique, that would be totally different. That is not what happened, which the only reason I brought that up. Also, as a writer, I find it more helpful to get totally different perspectives from different people without reading their arguments with each other, arguments which always seem to veer away from the original topic. Sorry, I'm not suggesting change. I was just sharing my frustration from this particular experience.

Cran
July 10th, 2015, 12:48 AM
Well, being trampled or veering off-topic becomes a moderation issue, and anyone is entitled (indeed, encouraged) to report such posts if a moderator has not stepped in.

musichal
July 10th, 2015, 12:59 AM
Personally, I think the critic sometimes needs to have the same skin-thickness he expects from those critiqued.

Kyle R
July 10th, 2015, 01:24 AM
My current perspective on critiquing:

I'm a fan of the critics who identify what the writer is attempting and offer suggestions to improve their efforts.

I'm not a fan of the critics who pick apart the writing because it doesn't match how the critics themselves would write it.

I say: help the writer do what they're trying to do. Don't try to push the writer to do it your way.

This means letting go of the notion that you know better. It means trusting that the writer has their own creative plan. It means stop trying to teach the writer, and start trying to help them, one fellow writer to another.

:encouragement:

scrub puller
July 10th, 2015, 01:26 AM
Yair . . .

What we like and dislike is subjective and I often qualify comments with . . . (in my opinion).

I hardly ever comment on punctuation or spelling which I believe is more properly described as editing.

The same as a poster mentions up thread, I look for style and flow and structure.

Most times these elements will be enhanced by wholesale cropping of words particularly the 'was's' the 'were's' the 'this's and the 'that's' and 'ing' and 'ly' words.

I keep mentioning such points and, if folks object (as has been known to happen) it's their problem not mine.

Of course the other issue is what application the document is written for. Pieces intended for self published niche readerships will likely have a different look and feel to more mainstream publishing . . . all perfectly understandable.

In any market though, smooth easily read and comprehended prose, describing action, emotions or surroundings is to be preferred over pretentious wordy rhetoric and I will always critique to that effect.

Cheers.

Pluralized
July 10th, 2015, 03:26 AM
Give what you can, let the writer do with it what they will. Be helpful, be thorough, but don't ignore someone's work because you are concerned whether others will approve of your crit. I don't think I've ever done what could be called a 'great' critique, but have helped writers find glitches on occasion. Probably pissed a few off too, but you'll have that with any creative medium where there's critique.

Crittin's as much for me as for anyone. My editing eye has sharpened up tenfold from it and I love the reciprocal help I get from others.

It's what makes this place well-rounded, in my opinion, because without honest critique it is hard for writers to actually improve. Wish I had more to give in terms of skill as a critter, but that's not going to stop me from trying to help.

Arrakis
July 16th, 2015, 12:15 AM
My current perspective on critiquing:

I'm a fan of the critics who identify what the writer is attempting and offer suggestions to improve their efforts.

I'm not a fan of the critics who pick apart the writing because it doesn't match how the critics themselves would write it.

I say: help the writer do what they're trying to do. Don't try to push the writer to do it your way.

This means letting go of the notion that you know better. It means trusting that the writer has their own creative plan. It means stop trying to teach the writer, and start trying to help them, one fellow writer to another.

:encouragement:

I definitely have to agree with this post. Mine belief is that every writer should find their own unique style, instead of looking up methods on Google or elsewhere. Despite mine blunt honesty, I always try mine absolute best to let the writer make up his or her own mind, instead of acting like an overbearing relative. For instance, instead of giving them mine own ideas, I'll ask them questions about the things in their stories--that way, they'll make themselves expand upon the plotline without any input from me. From mine perspective, that actually helps them more, since they're lifting the mental weights on their own. I might make a suggestion or two, but I don't try to shove it down their throat.


Personally, I think the critic sometimes needs to have the same skin-thickness he expects from those critiqued.

Ha ha, well said. Everytime I write a review, I am always steeled for a backlash.

Challenge your critics! Ruin their lives!

caters
July 11th, 2016, 08:13 PM
I personally am very sensitive to criticism. Almost all the comments I get on my writing are of this form:

"Writing and supposed edits" "This is wrong, that is wrong, this word is wrong, this whole sentence is wrong, your idea is wrong"

And I hate wrong whether I know that I did something wrong or whether someone is commenting on my wrong.

They almost never give me positive comments and even when they do, the negative is way higher in magnitude.

This is exactly why I have stopped posting my actual writing here and instead posting my ideas.

I get angry at them. It only shows as frustration in my posts but it is more than frustration.

I feel as though they are unnessacarily attacking my own writing. My momma isn't like them when it comes to editing.

She still gives very good edits but in a pleasant way, not one that makes me angry.

Harper J. Cole
July 11th, 2016, 08:39 PM
Hi there caters,

I'm sorry you've not been happy with the feedback. It can be tricky to pitch the level of critique so that it's helpful without being hurtful. I did see that one member made a personal remark in your previous thread, which is unfortunate.

On the whole, though, I think that people are just trying to help you to improve as a writer. We can all get better - I know I've learned a lot here.

I hope that you have better experiences with us in the future.

HC

Carly Berg
July 11th, 2016, 08:58 PM
The only critique I remember that p*ssed me off insanely was one where the woman made the comment, "You are an idiot." I had already developed somewhat tough skin by then from heavy participation in the critique process but that one made steam come out of my ears. If she'd been in front of me, I'm pretty sure I'd have slapped her upside the head. I'm not saying it's not true but she didn't have to say it that way!

However, in a weird way I think the critique comments that don't sit right with us are doing us a favor. Better to get that milestone first stingy review (and possible meltdown lol) handled on a semi-private, moderated critique board than out in public after your work is published. No matter what you write, someone is not going to like it and they can say pretty much anything they want, out there forever, right there next to your "Buy This Book" button. Your only choices then are to eat it or entertain the entire internet with a public tantrum. :p

caters
July 12th, 2016, 11:03 PM
Hi there caters,

I'm sorry you've not been happy with the feedback. It can be tricky to pitch the level of critique so that it's helpful without being hurtful. I did see that one member made a personal remark in your previous thread, which is unfortunate.

On the whole, though, I think that people are just trying to help you to improve as a writer. We can all get better - I know I've learned a lot here.

I hope that you have better experiences with us in the future.

HC

So you're saying that I am just perceiving those comments with edits as negative comments when really they are positive comments and just don't look like it at first?

Harper J. Cole
July 12th, 2016, 11:16 PM
Well, you could look at it both ways, but I think they're positive in that they're suggestions you can incorporate into your stories if you like.

HC

Cran
July 13th, 2016, 12:17 AM
I personally am very sensitive to criticism.
That's unfortunate. It means you face a future of pain and disappointment even if you do good work in any field. Even the greatest, most talented and successful people are not immune to criticism, and not just from those who love to snipe or chip away at someone to salve their own egos, but from those with the benefit of arm's-length perspective who can see the chink, the missed flaw, or a better way to approach or develop or present the work.





Almost all the comments I get on my writing are of this form:

"Writing and supposed edits" "This is wrong, that is wrong, this word is wrong, this whole sentence is wrong, your idea is wrong"

They almost never give me positive comments and even when they do, the negative is way higher in magnitude.
OK. If a critique points out what is wrong without explaining why it is wrong and then providing what would make it right, it's a poor critique.

If a critique ever refers to the idea, rather than the presentation of that idea, it is not a critique; it is a breach of critical protocol and should be ignored utterly because it comes from someone who does not know how to critique properly.

It is not our right to argue or challenge the idea, only to assess and help improve the presentation of the idea.



This is exactly why I have stopped posting my actual writing here and instead posting my ideas.
Well, that's your choice. But ideas cannot be critiqued, and therefore do not belong in the creative forums. Discussing and developing ideas can be fun, but won't help to better write or otherwise present them.



I feel as though they are unnessacarily attacking my own writing.
Unnecessarily attacking is probably what you believe, considering your sensitivity to criticism. I, however, take it as a personal insult that you would suggest the members of my forum who take the time and trouble to read and respond to your own writing are trolls.

Your own writing is what WF members volunteer to go through, point out weaknesses or flaws, and, if able, to recommend remedies. That's what WritingForums.com was created to do: to help writers (and creative artists) improve their writing (and creative arts) and do better in their chosen pursuits.

If your writing is attracting trolls, then perhaps it says something about your writing and your future prospects. Regardless, trolls should be reported the instant they are found so that they can be banned from this forum. However, someone telling you to fix your spelling, or that a word or sentence doesn't mean what you think it means, is not a troll. That member is doing you a favour.


My momma isn't like them when it comes to editing.

She still gives very good edits but in a pleasant way, not one that makes me angry.
I hope your momma is a member so she can help show the way to others.


The only critique I remember that p*ssed me off insanely was one where the woman made the comment, "You are an idiot."
Did this happen here? Who made this comment in breach of da Rules* to you? Did you report it?


*Flaming: Flaming will not be tolerated. When critiquing, keep observations about the work, do not make inflammatory personal judgments of or attacks on the writer. In any discussion, keep it about the topic and not the poster. Violations will be deleted. Repeated offenses or ignoring staff warnings will result in an infraction.

Arrakis
August 11th, 2016, 09:12 PM
I hate that word, "positive". Quite frankly, not every positive action has pleasant results. Many positive thinkers I've met want everyone else to be like them, out of some misguided idealism, without ever realising just how narrow-minded and uncivilised they are. With them, it's always positive-positive-positive, and when they see something negative, their whole damn world comes crashing down. But they never stop to think: is it a productive negative, or a destructive negative? Just goes to show that too much of a good thing can--and often will--create a bad thing.


Your protagonist is one-dimensional and needs more depth.


Your writing sucks. Give the hell up.

See the difference?

caters
August 11th, 2016, 10:20 PM
No matter which type of negative, I get angry(which I only show as frustration) if that shows up in a critique. My momma can do just as good as them but without all the angering negatives.

Only as a last resort do I actually show my anger but even then it is indirectly(post about all the thinking I went through writing the whole chapter or scene(like saying "Robin is just not very expressive of his emotions, not an emotionless robot like you say he is." and showing that it is just lack of expression, not lack of emotion.)).

She knows I am very sensitive to negatives and so she positively critiques and edits it.

For example she might say "Why don't you change it from "Alma had pain from her heart" to "Alma had angina"?" or something along those lines. She never says it in a negative way. She always gives me suggested edits and never forces me to edit it this way or that way. She also asks me if she did a good job editing it before she goes to the next edit.

Me and my Momma are like a team. We work for each other. I write stuff for her to edit and she edits what I have written and then I write more stuff for her to edit(other stories or more chapters of the same story).

Those negative critiques I get on forums make me feel like "They are forcing me to edit my characters, Well I made my characters the way they are for a reason." or "It is perfectly fine there, what are you talking about?"

Cran
August 12th, 2016, 12:34 AM
No matter which type of negative, I get angry(which I only show as frustration) if that shows up in a critique. My momma can do just as good as them but without all the angering negatives...

Me and my Momma are like a team. We work for each other. I write stuff for her to edit and she edits what I have written and then I write more stuff for her to edit(other stories or more chapters of the same story).

Those negative critiques I get on forums make me feel like "They are forcing me to edit my characters, Well I made my characters the way they are for a reason." or "It is perfectly fine there, what are you talking about?"
If all of this is true, why are you wasting your time on forums?

Why are you here?

caters
August 12th, 2016, 12:40 AM
I thought I would get at least 1 positive critique. And even if I wouldn't I figured that posting about my ideas would give me good suggestions. So yeah, even with only negative critiques here, I am still getting positives about my ideas so I am still getting help from you, even if it isn't from critiques.

LeeC
August 12th, 2016, 01:04 AM
I thought I would get at least 1 positive critique. And even if I wouldn't I figured that posting about my ideas would give me good suggestions. So yeah, even with only negative critiques here, I am still getting positives about my ideas so I am still getting help from you, even if it isn't from critiques.

I'm well aware that unwelcome perspectives fall on deaf ears, having been there. Be that as it may, something I learned in my art career, and again with writing (an art in itself), is that pats on the back retard one's skill development. One benefits most from others critical perspectives of their work, even finding nuggets in remarks possibly meant to sting. The artist, and especially the writer, is best served in first clearing the hurdle of separating self from skill development.

In writing for public consumption, it's the public ear that need be captured. On the other hand, if one is writing only for self-amusement, then it's contradictory to present one's efforts to the public. Demanding praise for one's efforts is self-defeating.

Phil Istine
August 12th, 2016, 08:54 AM
I thought I would get at least 1 positive critique. And even if I wouldn't I figured that posting about my ideas would give me good suggestions. So yeah, even with only negative critiques here, I am still getting positives about my ideas so I am still getting help from you, even if it isn't from critiques.

I'm not so sure that labelling critique as "positive" or "negative" is particularly helpful. If someone notes that a piece of writing turns them off, but also attempts to say why, that is good in my view; it gives the writer something to work with. It's possible that the one supplying critique has misunderstood the piece, so it opens an opportunity to discuss this. If the critter has misunderstood it, there's a fair chance that others may too, so it gives an opportunity to make adjustments.
However, changing a piece due to a critique is always author's choice, but if a few are saying similar things, it's advisable to look a bit harder.
From the other side of the fence: I have found that it takes a lot more balls to give critique than to post work.

Job
September 8th, 2017, 05:00 AM
90% of everything I know about writing has come from being critiqued and giving critiques. Mostly through giving critiques.

topcol
January 21st, 2018, 07:27 AM
I cannot fault any of the comments here re: negative feedback. It strikes me that reactions to same are remarkably similar to the differing reactions of British and French restaurants when they receive a complaint about their food.

It is somewhat better in Britain now but generally complaints about meals served in UK restaurants often provoke defensive responses from the kitchen or serving staff leading to no improvement in the food or service. French restaurant staff will take the complaint seriously and attempt to resolve the problem which has caused the complaint.

I think writing and receiving negative critiques is pretty much along the same lines, just swap 'British' for affronted critiqued writers and 'French' for those who take the criticism in the spirit in which it is offered.

Incidentally, I am British with French relatives, no criticism of the respective cuisines intended.

Keep up the good work, you critics (critiquers?).

topcol

Garvan
January 21st, 2018, 01:56 PM
I think that giving one-sided critiques are the worst thing to do to a writer. Regardless of what kind of "negative" you use it is useless without knowing what you did right. So next time you give a critique - take the time to point out what was done WELL as well as what needed more work.

Lucina
April 16th, 2018, 10:33 AM
I guess when I love them it's maybe in the manner of a parent, who wants her kid to be happy and healthy and therefore tells him to clean his room and brush his teeth, and sends him off to school. And I want to hear that he's wonderful sizzling hott 2 online (http://sizzling-hot-play.com/ro/), but if he misbehaves or has a fever or whatever, I need to know it.

H.Brown
April 16th, 2018, 10:57 AM
Hi Lucina, while I like the sentiment behind your statement but I don't see how it reltes to the Op. Can you explain it further in way of critiques?
I guess when I love them it's maybe in the manner of a parent, who wants her kid to be happy and healthy and therefore tells him to clean his room and brush his teeth, and sends him off to school. And I want to hear that he's wonderful sizzling hott 2 online (http://sizzling-hot-play.com/ro/), but if he misbehaves or has a fever or whatever, I need to know it.

sarahvdan
May 23rd, 2018, 07:03 AM
I love glowing reviews. Who doesn't? But I also know that the positive ones, however nice, aren't as useful as the negative. It's hard to know whether praise is because the work is really that good or if someone is being nice. I don't believe I've ever written a first draft that couldn't use some sort of tweaking, so to get a handful of positive responses doesn't really do me much good.

TMarie
September 25th, 2019, 03:36 PM
Returning to WF after many moons, the sticky notes in this forum section is a great place for me to re-enter. The last critique I received here was excellent, however I felt the need to defend and explain what I wrote. The person giving me their critique was not asking for an explanation in any way, but that was lost on me at the time. I'm slowly learning to take that pause before reacting and responding, not only to writing critiques, but also to life in general.

indianroads
January 4th, 2020, 08:22 PM
On sites such as WF I'll only ask for a crits regarding the blurb (used on the back cover and Amazon product description) because it's short and to the point. If I need something longer I'll go a beta reader or my editor. My view is that asking someone to review / critique a 3000-4000 word chapter, especially if it's out of context, is just too much to ask of even a wonderful site like WF.

Without screening where the critique is coming from we could end up with some who dislikes the genre of the piece, or doesn't understand or relate to the theme of the story.

Although it's probably unnecessary, I always add that I bruise easily and ask the reviewer to be gentle. The feedback I've received has always been valuable and greatly appreciated.

BTW - I have a blurb up for crit down in Publishing -> Publishing Discussion -> Query...

R. A. Busby
January 12th, 2020, 07:38 PM
On sites such as WF I'll only ask for a crits regarding the blurb (used on the back cover and Amazon product description) because it's short and to the point. If I need something longer I'll go a beta reader or my editor. My view is that asking someone to review / critique a 3000-4000 word chapter, especially if it's out of context, is just too much to ask of even a wonderful site like WF.

Without screening where the critique is coming from we could end up with some who dislikes the genre of the piece, or doesn't understand or relate to the theme of the story.

Although it's probably unnecessary, I always add that I bruise easily and ask the reviewer to be gentle. The feedback I've received has always been valuable and greatly appreciated.

BTW - I have a blurb up for crit down in Publishing -> Publishing Discussion -> Query...

Yes -- I've definitely seen that on places like Reddit or Scribophile where readers -- well-meaning ones, of course -- say, "I don't see the point of this character interaction in this chapter," and in my head I'm all, "But it feeds into something important later!" How, of course, are they to know that? :D

NoFuchsGiven
January 16th, 2020, 09:55 PM
I had previously been a member of a similar forum to this.

From what you have said you sound like you are genuinely offering your opinion and an honest critique.

The problem sounds as though the people you are offering the critique to do not posses the thick skin required to take another persons' opinion.

I found that some people would say in their post "I'm new to this so please be kind" or "I've got thick skin, don't go soft" so that people knew before they tore them a new one.

When people argue with the people offering them help and guidance it annoys me. It's like "here is my work, let me know what you think..." so you tell them your opinion and then they say "no. your wrong. your opinion is wrong."

Anyway, keep offering help and being honest.

NFG