Encouragement vs Honesty - Page 5


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Thread: Encouragement vs Honesty

  1. #41
    So if I choose to critique something of yours, it is a privilege.
    There's something to be said for humility, first of all, but also - it's common courtesy and a part of any critique-centric community, that we give as well as take. From my perspective the best approach to growing as writers (if that's what we're here for) is to make selfless critique part of our regular activity (especially for you 'mentor' types!).



  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Pluralized View Post
    There's something to be said for humility, first of all, but also - it's common courtesy and a part of any critique-centric community, that we give as well as take. From my perspective the best approach to growing as writers (if that's what we're here for) is to make selfless critique part of our regular activity (especially for you 'mentor' types!).
    Surely, you don't take this to mean that we are, by virtue of our membership in this community, obligating ourselves to critique every work that flickers across our screens? For that is the alternative to being selective.
    Dream big, fight hard, live proud!

  3. #43
    Member hvysmker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astroannie View Post
    Surely, you don't take this to mean that we are, by virtue of our membership in this community, obligating ourselves to critique every work that flickers across our screens? For that is the alternative to being selective.

    I can't agree, astroannie. On the two sites I've Admined, one duty of Mods was to make certain every story or poem had at least two crits. If, after a few days, other members didn't do it, the Mods stepped in or an Admin would do it. I've, personally, given very few "I like it" comments. Even if I can't find errors or perceived errors, there's always something to mention. Some way it affects me or brings back a memory.

    Sorry, you poets, though, he-he. I never crit poems. I grew up with only traditional rhyming poems and know nothing of the rules, either of them or other types. Also, I have no interest in poetry.

    Funny, because the first thing I had published, ever, was a Haiku in a Japanese newspaper. A girlfriend conned me into helping her write one for a contest. We submitted ours and I won first place. It was in English, and she was really pissed.

    Another time, a small publisher bought four of my stories for a hardcover collection. When I received my complimentary copies, I found he'd put two of them in the poetry section by inserting extra blank lines. Now, how the hell do you make poems out of two to three thousand word stories? That was the clincher. No more poetry for me.

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  4. #44
    I agree that we all need to give if we are going to take, but we also have to pick and choose our battles, i.e., both what we give and what we take. I choose to critique (1) when I think that I can genuinely help and (2) when I actually, you know, have the time to put in the effort to do a critique well.

    Typically, the worse a work is the less likely I am to have the time to do a proper critique, at least unless I can spot a specific overarching flaw to point out. I certainly don't begrudge anyone the approach that they find works for them around here.
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  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by astroannie View Post
    obligating ourselves to critique every work that flickers across our screens?
    Of course not. Just advocating a more selfless, less arrogant approach to the work.

    Quote Originally Posted by InstituteMan View Post
    Typically, the worse a work is the less likely I am to have the time to do a proper critique
    Those are the ones that need you the worst.



  6. #46
    P, heh... that's why I ignore you... you don't need me anymore... and I don't want to inflate your head by heaping praise. Yes, I read them, but I withhold.

  7. #47
    I remind everyone to get back on topic.

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  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Bowman View Post
    You have to realize that people who are in or have recently come out of that kind of situation have been beaten down for a very long time. That person could be the next H. G. Wells or Lovecraft. That person could have something very important to say that the world needs to know. But, given the fragility of their state of mind, a few harsh words could very well cause that person to walk away with their head hanging down feeling the same old feelings that have been repeatedly beaten into them over many years.

    We simply do not know. And because I do not know, and having been there, I prefer to take a more gentle approach until I see more of the person's posts. I am always honest about what works for me, but I always let the person know what does, as well.
    When I first started writing, I drew a lot of contemptuous sneers and snickers from my cousins and friends. My immediate family were supportive, if a little uninterested, but my friends and other members of my family laughed at me as though I were some moron with delusions of grandeur and visions of being the next [insert popular author here]. I could have acquiesced and acceded to their expectations of me, but I used their words to light a fire under my ass. They have no idea to this day that when they run their mouth about me being a writer, they are inspiring me to become better, wiser, and more successful than they could ever wish to be. If they had been supportive and encouraging, I mightn't be the writer I am today.

    Nobody can make you (generic) quit but you. Nobody can make you feel bad about yourself but you. You decide to feel beaten down and oppressed, if that's what you want to feel. You decide to let their words break you instead of make you. You have the power to take those harsh words and turn them into a fire that makes your belly ache and your heart roar. Or you can let them define who you are rather than who you can and should be.

    It's your choice.
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  9. #49
    So, while I completely understand that honesty is normally the best way to go, I also understand that sometimes, just sometimes, being honest could quite possibly be a final step in someone giving up on his/her dream of writing.
    I experienced this when I came here. Somebody commented on my work that didn't think it was very good at all. In fact, they went through it and picked it apart. I was pretty butt-hurt about it, honestly. It's never easy to see your work shredded and thrashed about like that!

    But their comments stuck with me and I wanted it badly. So I worked hard to improve and actually implemented their advice. It works, but takes time. Some people who only want instant gratification and platitudes, aren't meant to have their work placed in a critique environment. Not that I advocate always being a hard-ass, but honesty is needed always. I like Kyle's particular brand of critique, which I'd invite everyone to seek out. Kind, helpful, honest. Always.



  10. #50
    WF Veteran Tettsuo's Avatar
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    If ever asked to honestly review someone's work, I bookend the criticism with compliments. There's always something positive one can say about someone's artwork.
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