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Thread: Crits

  1. #21
    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.
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  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Angel101 View Post
    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.
    Has left the building.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post
    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, 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.

  4. #24
    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.
    Last edited by squidtender; January 30th, 2013 at 04:01 AM. Reason: language
    Donít 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

  5. #25
    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.
    It all starts with a name and flows from there. A ridiculous moniker springs to mind and it launches like a multi-lubed slippery-sloop down chutes made of buttery-floops. Down, down, down. We watch, spellbound. Rapturous. Glockenspiel. We do our due diligence with penitence and penicillin. Do whatís due, then dew drops on your moon-pops.


  6. #26
    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.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Mairead27 View Post
    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.

  8. #28
    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.
    It all starts with a name and flows from there. A ridiculous moniker springs to mind and it launches like a multi-lubed slippery-sloop down chutes made of buttery-floops. Down, down, down. We watch, spellbound. Rapturous. Glockenspiel. We do our due diligence with penitence and penicillin. Do whatís due, then dew drops on your moon-pops.


  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Leyline View Post
    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.

  10. #30
    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.

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