What comments or what criticisms have you received in a critique?


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Thread: What comments or what criticisms have you received in a critique?

  1. #1

    What comments or what criticisms have you received in a critique?

    Besides the obvious being my language skills needing work. I agreed for instance or that I violated certain rules. I needed to improve the work. I needed the reader to see the action done by the character. He is more of a victim.

    Action is character. I agreed with this. I think I had written characters that were a bunch of talking heads that had character arguments. Then I thought this: I have heard before I just don't know how to fix it. So I read a book on the topic.

    Then I read that action is really anything the protagonist does that can change the outcome of the story events. The villains perform the action and cause something to happen because of their goal.

    If you read Humpty Dumpty the nursery rhyme, it tells a story. But Humpty Dumpty is a victim, he does nothing to save himself.

    Iago is an agent of action who creates events in Othello and Othello reacts. Even though the play is titled Othello. Othello is passive. But noticed Iago has a goal of changing Othello's reputation and eventually Othello dishonors himself by killing desdemona and killing himself. The play has nothing to do with othello being the protagonist, and it makes me think all Shakespeare's characters are anti-heroes.

    My opinion:

    You could try what a book suggests. You setup a goal which is what the central conflict is about, and is what the story is about. That would imo be what I would include in my rewrite of the new version of the story.

    My dialogue also needs work. But anyways by giving each main character and person a goal, you have a ending for the story in mind. Let's say a character wants to become a king. How will you know the story ends? When the character turns into a king when he is not (change occurs naturally because of the goal, and the life of the character changes forever). You use a verb and create a simple statement that can be accomplished and can be the ending of the story (with a direct object included in the sentence with a transitive verb). When you add a person to help attain the goal who needs to cooperate with the goal then the conflict can reveal character as there is action to solve it, something physically visible that has to do with the goal (by frustrating the other minor character). This helps to create a scene. An example would be the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is a protagonist who takes action. But she needs the wizard, the good witches, and the help of the friends of hers to accomplish what they want in order to fulfill their want. They are minor characters. They need to go to the witch's castle and defeat the witch (action) by attaining the broom for the wizard to return Dorothy back to Oz. (my guess is to cancel the magic powers of the witch)

    In summary what a goal needs to be: needs to be urgent, have stakes, it needs for another character to participate to try to solve it or frustrate, something that can be completed or accomplished visually or heard (how will he or she, or the character know?), something positive, something visual (physically an action is either seen or heard as an action in the story).

    My example using this lesson from a book I am reading from a writing exercise to compose a goal for a character: A character has a goal to get high enough scores on exams or grades to pass his final examinations. This is in order to graduate he needs to pass with high grades. Or we could be more specific: he needs to land on the dean's list.

    This goal can be complicated by characters that aid or frustrate the character. Thus change also happens because the situation is in jeopardy or in danger of changing the characters's life forever. By having a different character want something they negotiate how to attain the goal. But on their own terms. You can have an egocentric person, a miserly person, each personality suggests how or what tactics or strategies they will use to attain the goal the protagonist needs.

    I haven't finished but that's the theory behind how I think I could fix it (book theory by a college teacher). What is the purpose of this thread? The reason I created it is for the following: to learn how to fix our mistakes. To report our critiques and thus discuss what works and doesn't work.

    For newcomers to this thread: Post a critique or some comments from one of your stories. We can each take turns doing this, and if a person likes the suggestions on how to fix it the story based on the feedback then maybe we can learn something from it. (for instance my issue of two-dimensional dialogue how can I fix it? Or how can I fix characters needing to take action? I am also guilty of writing too much exposition, even though I lumped it at the end of the story). Continue please...
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; June 19th, 2019 at 08:27 PM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  2. #2
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    From a beta reader earlier this year:


    I'm not sure how I feel about this section. The POV was a little erratic. I would say keep it all Ao if you can. though the demon showing its face in the city was a good way to remind the reader the threat they pose.
    I'm not so sure I liked this section. the wax is their property! They had to give up the location in order to get help to hunt down demons that will probably slaughter them all anyway? these villagers are assholes.
    Most of my issues are around characters doing out of character stuff, or me switching POVs when people don't want me to Though to be fair, that second comment was followed shortly thereafter by this:
    OH SHIT. ignore my earlier comment about the meeting thing. maybe besides having someone state a little more clearly what the subject of the meeting was right at the beginning. I really need to stop telling you to delete things LOL


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  3. #3
    Bdcharles, did you eventually find pointers or ways on how to fix it on your own? Point of view is a popular topic in writing discussions (it can be difficult to sometimes control a shifting point of view; depending on the person). How about the out of character actions? Anything will do. We can learn by discussing some of our stories and what people say or said are good examples of writing to discuss on a writing forum. I think I do own a book that explains exclusively point of view as a topic that is discussed by the author who wrote that book I mentioned.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; June 19th, 2019 at 07:55 PM.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  4. #4
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    Bdcharles, did you eventually find pointers or ways on how to fix it on your own? Point of view is a popular topic in writing discussions (it can be difficult to sometimes control a shifting point of view; depending on the person). How about the out of character actions? Anything will do. We can learn by discussing some of our stories and what people say or said are good examples of writing to discuss on a writing forum. I think I do own a book that explains exclusively point of view as a topic that is discussed by the author who wrote that book I mentioned.
    I did but a second pair of eyes is always helpful. The only thing that got in the way before was being too close to it, or forgetting what the feel of a particular scene was like. Eg: I might be writing a tense scene, then leave it, then come back to it in a completely different frame of mind and start writing again. Then, while reading the whole thing, a beta might be all caught up in the tension only to have the air suddenly go out of the moment and the pace drop right off as the reader enters the new bit. To get around that I have to generally reread from further back than I otherwise might like.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  5. #5
    my main criticisms used to be that i had a bad habit of coming off like i was born in the 1800s. but these were my main influences when i first started.
    i did take those criticisms to heart. i found them to be valid criticisms. and i did work to modernize my manner of writing. i sometimes do have a tendency
    to be a bit "purple" sometimes, but not nearly as bad as i used to be.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  6. #6
    Mentor Megan Pearson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dale View Post
    i sometimes do have a tendency to be a bit "purple" sometimes, but not nearly as bad as i used to be.
    Okay, what does that mean? (& do we want to know, & Are you glad you've improved?)


    The best critiques I've ever received were for speeches I wrote at Toastmasters. I really learned a lot about how to critique from them, as well as how to write a short speech. Great group of people.

    The worst criticism I've ever received was from my mother, who took what I wrote to be about her. Egads. Recommendation: don't share your writing with someone who takes your work personally. The response had very little to do with what I had written.

    The second worse criticism is the "wow, you're such a great writer" & so on & so forth. Egads on this, too. Recommendation: take praise & flattery with a grain of salt. Then go find someone with something more helpful to say who can actually help you address the issues you have in your writing.
    "A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
    ~ John A. Shedd


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Megan Pearson View Post
    Okay, what does that mean? (& do we want to know, & Are you glad you've improved?)


    The best critiques I've ever received were for speeches I wrote at Toastmasters. I really learned a lot about how to critique from them, as well as how to write a short speech. Great group of people.

    The worst criticism I've ever received was from my mother, who took what I wrote to be about her. Egads. Recommendation: don't share your writing with someone who takes your work personally. The response had very little to do with what I had written.

    The second worse criticism is the "wow, you're such a great writer" & so on & so forth. Egads on this, too. Recommendation: take praise & flattery with a grain of salt. Then go find someone with something more helpful to say who can actually help you address the issues you have in your writing.
    "purple" im writing means "flowery to the point of being abstract or unclear in story structure". something like that.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  8. #8
    Mentor Megan Pearson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dale View Post
    "purple" im writing means ...
    Oh. Had I ever received that criticism, I would have been in the dark.
    "A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
    ~ John A. Shedd


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Megan Pearson View Post
    Oh. Had I ever received that criticism, I would have been in the dark.
    yeah. maybe the label "purple" came from because it happens when a writer tries to be a "poet" and a "storyteller" at the same time. lol.
    like "poet" is blue and "journalist" is red. so you mix them? you got purple. lol. don't really know. but i honestly do think of myself as a "poet".
    so i always end up "purple" writing stories.
    "Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

  10. #10
    Some criticisms were weird and I didn't understand them. One was I should change one of the major characters from a female to a male character, to avoid the whole damsel in distress problem, a reader told me. I replied 'Oh, what damsel in distress problem would that be', sinec I didn't know there was one or what they meant by that. But they didn't respond back.

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