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Thread: Why It's Important To Critique

  1. #61
    Member JBF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    Simple. With multiple critiques, you believe the things multiple people comment on. You ignore the things that are unique to one critique, unless one really resonates and you think, "Yep, nailed it."
    If I took issue with anything, it's the idea that you can hammer something until it's palatable to all conceivable tastes and wind up with something other than mush.

    The 1/10 may have a point. I tend to credit that most criticism has a legitimate kernel of truth at the root. That being the assumption, even something arguably correct may fundamentally change your story in ways that defeat its purpose, whether in the message or in the telling.

    A blue-ribbon chef can put a world-class product in front of somebody who starts their meal by picking the tomatoes off. Doesn't mean that the dish was made wrong...it means the consumer doesn't like tomatoes. If they complain, by turns, the chef can fairly advise that tomatoes are part of the recipe and that they might find more palatable offerings elsewhere on the menu.

    I've had people tell me that things I wrote weren't westerns because there was no high-noon showdown at the climax. Or because, when there was a shootout, the hero wound up killing his love interest in the confusion. I've taken flak for war stories that didn't touch on politics or have any characters to explain the 'big picture'. Same for sci-fi stories without aliens or medieval settings without dragons and magic.

    It's like the low-fuel light in your car; it means something completely different on a run down to the corner grocery than it does at midnight in a thousand square miles of empty Kansas prairie.
    Last edited by JBF; February 24th, 2021 at 11:29 AM.

  2. #62
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    Critique is like breath; when it's fresh, it's all cool. When it stinks, then oh boy! Most of the time the stinky-mouth owners don't even realize and they gratuitously release the invisible cloud of untherapeutic aroma that pierces our nostrils, which they would find it offensive if we tell them about it.

    I've done other form of art outside writing that attract good critics. At the same time, being a part of a certain entertainment community that's filled with brattish teenagers and childish grown-ups who far too self-conceited and overconfident with their mouth-offs, I've seen a lot critics done only to insult and bury the product, to an extent of terror and death threats to the creators. It's depressing to see even to a fellow consumer.

    That's why finding a good critique is more important than just getting critics. I don't mind getting critics from the heavyweights around here, agree or disagree, because I know they must be weighty. Still, filter is needed.

    Overall, I'm really just not obsessed with opinions, critiques - those kind of keywords. If they happen, they happen. A valuable ones are already hard to come by.
    My story is available on Wattpad: Hidden Content
    Chill and read. Feedback, here or there, is welcome.

  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by JBF View Post
    If I took issue with anything, it's the idea that you can hammer something until it's palatable to all conceivable tastes and wind up with something other than mush.

    The 1/10 may have a point. I tend to credit that most criticism has a legitimate kernel of truth at the root. That being the assumption, even something arguably correct may fundamentally change your story in ways that defeat its purpose, whether in the message or in the telling.

    A blue-ribbon chef can put a world-class product in front of somebody who starts their meal by picking the tomatoes off. Doesn't mean that the dish was made wrong...it means the consumer doesn't like tomatoes. If they complain, by turns, the chef can fairly advise that tomatoes are part of the recipe and that they might find more palatable offerings elsewhere on the menu.

    I've had people tell me that things I wrote weren't westerns because there was no high-noon showdown at the climax. Or because, when there was a shootout, the hero wound up killing his love interest in the confusion. I've taken flak for war stories that didn't touch on politics or have any characters to explain the 'big picture'. Same for sci-fi stories without aliens or medieval settings without dragons and magic.

    It's like the low-fuel light in your car; it means something completely different on a run down to the corner grocery than it does at midnight in a thousand square miles of empty Kansas prairie.
    There are no flaws in plot decisions, only sometimes in plot construction (excess backstory, plot holes, deus ex machina, continuity issues, etc.). In my first read through of the novel I just finished the first draft on, I had a character reacting with the same question to a label twice, a few chapters apart. If I hadn't caught it, that's the kind of thing only one person might catch and you act on it. Or only one person catches a typo. Another possibility is only one of the people is technically proficient enough to point out too many dialogue tags, or too few ... so that a conversation here or there is hard to follow, or a grammar error.

    The only real plotting decision issue is when an author's story is trite (or important parts of it), just the 80th version of something you've personally read a few versions of ... or even the second time ... it will be a LONG time before you can write a series about a wizard's school.

    Otherwise, don't take criticism from nitwits. LOL Isaac Asimov only wrote one book with aliens (The Gods Themselves). Ironically, he did that because he was ribbed about having no aliens. But when he wrote it, he didn't want "funny looking humans", so he wrote very different aliens and won a Hugo. Much later, he wrote that his robots, who had the protection of humanity in the (by then) Four Laws, sent out robotic ships which cleansed the galaxy of life which might be dangerous to humans. "So there, take that!" says Asimov. LOL

    IMO, the best western ever made is "The Big Country". The hero doesn't carry a gun, and fires one shot in the whole movie, when he fires a dueling pistol into the dirt. It's one of the few movies I can name where the film was better than the book ... far better. The book had some repetitive sequences eliminated by the film, and it made for a tighter story. The same author (Donald Hamilton) wrote the Matt Helm series, with a very violent hero.

    So throw criticism like that in the trash where it belongs.

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    You say it isn't, I say it is. Who's right? Neither of us? Both of us? I don't know...

    What I do know is plenty of aspiring filmmakers found (and continue to find) Ebert extremely inspirational during their journey and his critiques were generally considered the gold standard. Who are you to say they're wrong?
    When did I say they were wrong?

    You mistake a critic for a mentor, or a tutor. It's NOT a critic's job to highlight strengths in a piece particularly if they don't think there are any worth highlighting.

    How does it qualify as a critique? By fulfilling the definition. Critique is "a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory." Nowhere in that definition does it say that the 'assessment' must spell out what was written well or what must be done to improve it. You have added those things. You are not entitled to do that.
    We're in a thread discussing critiquing writing of fellow members and how it benefits our own writing.

    But you're not simply dismissing it as a waste of time. As mentioned, you are entitled to do that. What you're doing, which you are not allowed to do, is playing No True Scotsman with what is or isn't critique and shaming those who you don't think critique in the correct way (which just so happens to be a lot of famous critics).
    I have no idea what "No True Scotsman" means. I wasn't shaming anyone. Just pointing out that 1) The example of Ebert's review of A Clockwork Orange isn't the type of critique useful for our setting and 2) if it is a critique, it's still a hit piece with a political agenda.

    Finally, fame doesn't equal competence.

    Which, as mentioned in a prior post, is a reason why people may feel less inclined to critique, or least to do so honestly. That is why you ought not do it.
    Honesty is brutal. Not bullying.

    Oh geez, book critics are like Nazis? Godwin just shat his pants.
    How in the hell did we get here?



    Only if the mod was a fool or the piece in question was written in bad faith. Either of those things are possible. Neither of them makes a difference to the argument.
    I'm new here. But, most forums I frequent don't tolerate personal attacks, trolling, belittling or other such behavior. Posting something along the lines of "Reader beware! This story might have you hurling in a sick bag" falls in at least one of those categories.

    But you know what does get warnings? Discussing moderation.
    What?

    Never mind. If what I said is out of line, I invite the mods to let me know.

  5. #65
    Because I'm very capable of missing something-
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    (I don't think it's possible to write hit pieces by accident)?
    I do think it's possible. People make mistakes all the time.

  6. #66
    From the workshop etiquette sticky:


    • Try to be specific as to what you are looking for in feedback if you can, such as what elements of the piece you would like the critiquer to focus on. Grammar/editing, dialogue/character development, general narrative, etc. It may also help to say what your intentions for the piece are. Do you plan to submit it for publication, or is it something you only intend to share on the forum?




    Well? 'Man up'.
    Just An Ordinary Bloke, Doing Ordinary Things, In An Extraordinary World.

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