The Importance of Critiques - Page 2


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Thread: The Importance of Critiques

  1. #11
    My day job is in software engineering, so I deal with critiques all the time. In software we call them code reviews - another engineer has to review the code you write and you have to resolve anything they suggest before you can submit it to the codebase. It's not dissimilar to literary critiques, in that it is largely constructive and strives to be un-opinionated, and it doesn't really matter the relative experience levels of the writer or reviewer. I have gotten some of the best code reviews from people who are way more inexperienced or "junior" to me, simply because they will point out things they may not understand. In explaining them, it always helps me work out what I was actually thinking at the time, and more often than not it will point out some issues that I never thought of. I think the same can happen with literary comments. Anyone can ask for clarification of certain points, or of character choices, or of different ideas. Sometimes it's just about getting the writer to justify her decisions.

    That said, I always have a hard time getting critiques of my creative work. I'm hoping hanging out here will help me get over that!

  2. #12
    I actually prefer regular ol' readers for Beta testing because they give pure feedback.
    Writers view your work with a different eye.
    Sure, a writer still offers valuable feedback, but it is different.
    With a writer, often their feedback is because they would have written it differently than you.

    There is a real art form to deciphering feedback from alpha & beta readers.

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    Writers view your work with a different eye..
    I agree with this. I don't prefer getting feedback from writers because I tend to find it obsesses over trivialities - basically the kind of thing we talk about as nauseum on this board. Things like active verbs or whatever. Things no normal person cares about if the story is good.

    I still accept it appreciatively though, not least because writers (in theory) are also readers and therefore also potential consumers and it's by no means a good idea to start getting particular over who reads your book. But I tend to find it offers a less useful viewpoint, for sure.

    My wife is my beta reader. She doesn't write at all, and is by no means a hardcore bibliophile, but she does read, is able to articulate her opinions, and is happy to tell me when it stinks. I don't really need more critique than that. If she says its good, I'll send it out. Worked so far.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  4. #14
    Sometimes I go over others' work twice - the first time purely for the pleasure of reading and the second to look at nuts and bolts.


  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    My wife is my beta reader. She doesn't write at all, and is by no means a hardcore bibliophile, but she does read, is able to articulate her opinions, and is happy to tell me when it stinks. I don't really need more critique than that. If she says its good, I'll send it out. Worked so far.
    My angel wife has never been my beta reader despite being an official beta reader here in WF (BlondeAverageReader). She too is a regular reader but not a writer and can provide fair, constructive and sympathetic critique, as members have confirmed, but she says that when she reads my work all she sees is just me because she knows me far too well. In fact when I gave her a sex scene to read she burst out in hysterical laughter, which may suggest that I am inclined to write fantasies I suppose. Her ability as a critique writer isn't obvious as she only gives it in private and refrains from doing so in the open forums, but as she doesn't offer any work of her own for critique here either that is reasonable. After some long beta reading correspondence with her one member privately but fondly dubbed her "The Red Pencil", but like most angels she is a seldom seen source of assistance.

    Everyone can tell a writer how they personally react to what has been written and the critique of a pure reader is unlikely to be mixed up with suggestions about how the reader would themselves fix any problems as a writer. There are several aspects to critique, so first there are the reader's reactions, then the potential problems that these imply and then the potential ways of fixing those problems. Even just providing the first of these, which anyone can do, enables the writer to move on to the other aspects in their own way or by seeking advice from more experienced writers if they so wish.

    The really important aspect of writing critiques is that when you spot something that you see as problematic in another writer's work you should also think whether you do it as well. We learn from the mistakes of others as much as our own. By reading solely successful published works it isn't so easy to understand what doesn't work well.
    Last edited by JustRob; August 25th, 2019 at 12:01 PM.
    'Sharing an experience creates a reality.' Create a new reality today.
    'There has to be some give and take.' If I can take my time I'm willing to give it.
    'The most difficult criticism that a writer has to comprehend is silence.' So speak up.

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I agree with this. I don't prefer getting feedback from writers because I tend to find it obsesses over trivialities - basically the kind of thing we talk about as nauseum on this board. Things like active verbs or whatever. Things no normal person cares about if the story is good.
    Yup. When I am beta testing a book, I am looking for broad strokes, but often writers get caught up in proofing the story, which I don't need because after Beta testing it'll be edited several times again.
    In fact, I find most of the final proofing errors when I go through a printed proof copy. Dunno why, but I miss a lotta stuff on the screen, but in printed form it stands out.





    PS: Scars, you should see a review for your release earlier this month. Congrats on that. Should show up in a few days.
    Oh, also, I tweeted it out to a few thousand people as well.
    Njoy.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    Yup. When I am beta testing a book, I am looking for broad strokes, but often writers get caught up in proofing the story, which I don't need because after Beta testing it'll be edited several times again.
    In fact, I find most of the final proofing errors when I go through a printed proof copy. Dunno why, but I miss a lotta stuff on the screen, but in printed form it stands out.





    PS: Scars, you should see a review for your release earlier this month. Congrats on that. Should show up in a few days.
    Oh, also, I tweeted it out to a few thousand people as well.
    Njoy.
    Ralph you’re the bomb. Thanks for the support you give to other writers. Aspirational stuff!
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  8. #18
    When I was a newer writer, giving and getting critiques was the one thing that improved my writing the most, by far.

    I used to participate heavily with critiques/beta reads but after a zillion times around, you catch on to the basic few dozen newbie mistakes and then you don't need as much help any more. Now I mainly just put my work through one trusted person before submitting or self-publishing it.

    After that point, giving critiques/beta reads is really just you helping out, which is nice, but unfortunately, the whole attitude of it changed somewhere along the line.

    The old school way was that critiquing/beta reading was recognized as the favor it is, and treated accordingly. The recipient was expected to thank you, then go do whatever they wanted with your suggestions, the end. (Well, of course they could ask for clarification if they didn't understand something you said, but that's about it).

    The etiquette seems to have changed to the recipients arguing, or expecting that the critique/beta read is actually only the beginning of a long working relationship of discussing their work with you. (Often without even getting the "thank you"). I've heard the same from many other longer term writers.

    So when people complain that they are having a hard time getting critiques or beta reads now, I am not surprised.

  9. #19
    I for one am absolutely thrilled to have just about anybody read, much less critique, my work. It feels like a tremendous honor. Doesn’t matter if it’s Stephen King, Albus Dumbledore, Tweedle Dum or Phil who scrapes bird shit off the sidewalk for a living. The mere privilege of having an audience, especially an opinionated audience, is a gift.
    Deactivated due to staff trolling. Bye!

  10. #20
    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Ma'am View Post
    The old school way was that critiquing/beta reading was recognized as the favor it is, and treated accordingly. The recipient was expected to thank you, then go do whatever they wanted with your suggestions, the end. (Well, of course they could ask for clarification if they didn't understand something you said, but that's about it).
    It may be the 'old school' way but this is how the workshops on WF should still operate. Feedback is like gold dust. Even if the writer feels the critique is of no value a simple 'thank you' costs nothing.

    I am always telling new members if they expect critique on their work they need to work with other writers first and become part of our community
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