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Thread: Crits

  1. #11
    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.
    Last edited by JosephB; January 29th, 2013 at 06:05 PM.

  2. #12
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  3. #13
    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

  4. #14
    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.

  5. #15
    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.
    Last edited by Freakconformist; January 29th, 2013 at 06:47 PM.
    Don’t mind me; somebody threw self-doubt and reality in with my desire to create, and now my mind stuck on the spin cycle.Hidden Content

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freakconformist View Post
    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!
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  7. #17
    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.
    "The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all. It was a saying about noble figures in old Irish poems—he would give his hawk to any man that asked for it, yet he loved his hawk better than men nowadays love their bride of tomorrow. He would mourn a dog with more grief than men nowadays mourn their fathers.

    And that's how we measure out our real respect for people—by the degree of feeling they can register, the voltage of life they can carry and tolerate—and enjoy.
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  8. #18
    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.

  9. #19
    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. ) 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!

  10. #20
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    Love the video, Angel, "Don't you go bringin' me down with your dictionary!"
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