The Importance of Critiques


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Thread: The Importance of Critiques

  1. #1

    Question The Importance of Critiques

    Even as a new writer with little to no experience, I recognize the importance of getting critiques from peers on your work. It's a tool that can help you grow as a writer and hone your skills. This is a tool that I would like to take advantage of here. As I have seen pointed out in threads that have tips on critiquing, you can't really expect people to critique your work without first writing critiques of other work. That makes sense.

    However, as a new writer who is only beginning the journey and has little to no experience in the art, I don't feel that I am qualified to critique other, more experienced, writers. I would hardly call myself a peer. So, what is the new and inexperienced writer to do?

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Write whatever comes to mind. You'll figure it out as you go. Better to say *something* than nothing at all.

    Even as a new writer, you can still comment.

    1) "I enjoyed/did not enjoy this piece because...
    2) This part worked/didn't work for me because...
    3) I got confused here and here..."

    You don't have to talk about nitty gritty details like verb tenses and voice--just say *something* and let the writer know you read it. Reading other people's works--and the comments they receive will also help you become a better writer.
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by seigfried007 View Post
    Write whatever comes to mind. You'll figure it out as you go. Better to say *something* than nothing at all.

    Even as a new writer, you can still comment.

    1) "I enjoyed/did not enjoy this piece because...
    2) This part worked/didn't work for me because...
    3) I got confused here and here..."

    You don't have to talk about nitty gritty details like verb tenses and voice--just say *something* and let the writer know you read it. Reading other people's works--and the comments they receive will also help you become a better writer.
    Thanks for the help. I just don't want to come off looking like a now-it-all that has no real experience.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    However, as a new writer who is only beginning the journey and has little to no experience in the art, I don't feel that I am qualified to critique other, more experienced, writers. I would hardly call myself a peer. So, what is the new and inexperienced writer to do?

    Any thoughts?
    Yes, just do it. I've been through that too, and you might be surprised how much an inexperienced writer can catch.


  5. #5
    Well, I went and did some reading and critiquing. Hopefully nobody hates me.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    Hopefully nobody hates me.
    Around here they turn you into a character in one of their stories.


  7. #7
    I think the importance of critique really changes as you progress.

    When I am critiquing a writer who is obviously very new, I try to focus critique on whether they actually can write or not. The basic nuts and bolts: SPaG, narrative flow, descriptive integrity, overwrite, that sort of thing. Unfortunately I tend to be quite harsh when it comes to expressing what I think works and doesnít - I donít believe in balancing negatives with positives unless itís warranted. Canít help it. Recognizing this, I donít critique a whole lot of total beginner writers, because I feel like most people who are asking for critique are really asking for encouragement and validation and being honest might not be what they want.

    For more advanced writers (or at least those who profess to be), though, the gloves come off. I am somebody who likes my own work to be brutally autopsied. I believe in the importance of reality checks, the penetration of delusion, and generally being torn apart, because thatís how I learned. So long as there are no ulterior motives going on (which sadly there often are - people being people) I am a believer that life is too short to be told how great you are. An advanced writer doesnít, or shouldnít, need to be told they are a good writer. What they need is to be told how to make their work better.

    I do think the idea of not being qualified to critique is nonsense, though. Assuming you can read and buy books, your opinion is just as valid as a college professorís. You may lack the ability to articulate what works in a piece and give advice (everybody thinks critique should come with advice and suggestion - thatís bull too. Why do I have to help you solve problems with your writing?), but you are still perfectly capable of saying if you like something, and as long as you have money I care about what you think as a potential consumer as much as somebody who might ďknow moreĒ. So donít be afraid to have a voice. Never be afraid.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    Well, I went and did some reading and critiquing. Hopefully nobody hates me.
    You're taking time out of your busy day to read something that a person you don't even know wrote and slapped on the Interwebs--you're a gorram hero for even trying.

    We true professionals are happy just to get looked at, buddy. Trust me, I'll thank you for reading and be ecstatic if you read anything all the way through. What I write ain't always easy to read (not a mechanics thing but a subject matter issue). I'm to the point now as a writer that I'm thrilled even for negative reviews so long as the person read it and paid some kind of attention to the story. I'm certain I'm not the only person like that here, either, so write whatever reviews you feel like writing (but do read the comments of others in the thread first and don't waste your time on people who will needlessly argue with you and abuse you--your're time's worth more than that).
    "Ammonia will disinfect sin."
    --adrianhayter

    "Art is life, just add bull****."
    --Chris Miller

  9. #9
    You have some very good points here. These for instance:

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    I try to focus critique on whether they actually can write or not.
    As a new writer, while encouragement is great to receive. The more important question may be can you do this or not. Which I'll be honest, I'm not to sure about myself.

    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Assuming you can read and buy books, your opinion is just as valid as a college professor’s.
    I assume, as a writer who is making the effort to pursue critiques and working to sharpen their skills, a critique from the average book buyer would be an important critique, since that is theoretically the end goal. People buying your books.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    However, as a new writer who is only beginning the journey and has little to no experience in the art, I don't feel that I am qualified to critique other, more experienced, writers. I would hardly call myself a peer. So, what is the new and inexperienced writer to do?

    Are you an avid reader?
    Then you are qualified to offer feedback & critique.
    After all, your target audience is readers.

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