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  1. #31
    Member dolphinlee's Avatar
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    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.
    Last edited by dolphinlee; February 2nd, 2013 at 12:37 PM.

  2. #32
    Member Rustgold's Avatar
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    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by lasm View Post
    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
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  3. #33
    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.

  4. #34
    I've stickied this because I believe it's an important discussion for all who give and receive crits.
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

    If I act like I own the place, it's because I did.





  5. #35
    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.
    Last edited by Staff Deployment; February 3rd, 2013 at 04:56 AM.

  6. #36
    Member Rustgold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cran View Post
    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-w...crit-here.html
    Caution : Doesn't come with 1698-B sanity certificate
    I'd kill for a blueberry scroll, or maim for a apple one. Alas...

  7. #37
    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)
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

    If I act like I own the place, it's because I did.





  8. #38
    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).

  9. #39
    WF Veteran Lewdog's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #40
    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.
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