Why It's Important To Critique


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Thread: Why It's Important To Critique

  1. #1

    Why It's Important To Critique

    When you write, you inevitably read what you've written over and over again, until eventually you'll add rhythm and fluency where these is none. It's hard to step right back from your work in progress, which is why a week in the drawer before the final passes is recommended often. You're just too close to judge it objectively.

    By critiquing other people's work, you can switch that objectivity on easily. You don't know their deeper intentions so view the text more coldly, more logically. Often, they'll make the same mistakes you're making but no longer see. That's the value of critique. Not only do you get to learn from the people you critique, in terms of rhythm, fluency, word choice, grammatical structure, you get to see your own mistakes framed clearly.

    You would be surprised how many of those 'hidden' mistakes you suddenly start picking up on when returning to your own work. It's as if that subjective veil has been reset, allowing the objective self to see what you've written for what it is.
    Craft / Draft / Graft And Write To Entertain.

  2. #2
    I have often said on this site, that putting your work in a drawer for a few weeks is a good technique as it allows a modicum of "the fresh eye" on your own work. Occasionally I leave work for a while then try to rewrite it from memory, often finding that forgotten sentences and phrases should not have been there in the first place. One of my 12 line poems went through 79 iterations before I thought I had it right... though I'm still not certain. Recently I made minor adjustments to a poem I wrote 21 years ago!
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  3. #3
    By taking things apart, examining the pieces, and reassembling them, we learn how things function. It is an (inter)active process. We become conscious writers. Critique is one of the best teaching, (learning) tools available.


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Darkkin View Post
    By taking things apart, examining the pieces, and reassembling them, we learn how things function. It is an (inter)active process. We become conscious writers. Critique is one of the best teaching, (learning) tools available.
    It is an odd thing. A week ago, I spent 45 minutes going through a piece and critiquing it. When I returned to my own piece, I immediately found three mistakes in the second paragraph that I hadn't seen before on the dozens and dozens of read-throughs.
    Craft / Draft / Graft And Write To Entertain.

  5. #5
    Yes, because we don't simply go good/bad or like/hate, we then analyse what it is about the piece that we don't like, and that then helps us with our own writing because we have a greater understanding.
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    Yes, because we don't simply go good/bad or like/hate, we then analyse what it is about the piece that we don't like, and that then helps us with our own writing because we have a greater understanding.
    Absolutely. I'd also advise new writers to keep their stories short (2 - 3 pages) to begin with. The quicker they produce content for critique, the quicker they can bring what they've learned to the next project ... and so on. They'll also get more reads and more critiques if they're short. It's a win win.
    Craft / Draft / Graft And Write To Entertain.

  7. #7
    I don't do the classic "write then edit" route anymore.
    By the time I do my first full read thru, I have already read and edited the thing multiple times.

    For my book length fiction I write the first 100 pages, until I really know the characters, then I doubleback to the beginning and apply that knowledge where the characters are thinnest. (They are thin at the beginning because you just met them.)
    After that I tend to doubleback every 100 pages or so. The purpose is to not only ensure that I am on the proper story trajectory, but to refresh the pace of the story in my mind. When you are writing, your suffer from a form of time dilation. Think of it; it takes weeks to write a chapter that the reader finishes in an hour or less. So as the writer you may feel like you covered a tremendous amount of ground in those last 100 pages, when in fact you have simply finished another chapter.

    But when I get done, my characters are tight, and the story is exactly what I was aiming for.
    However, this is an advanced way of writing and may not suit all new writers.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    I don't do the classic "write then edit" route anymore.
    By the time I do my first full read thru, I have already read and edited the thing multiple times.

    For my book length fiction I write the first 100 pages, until I really know the characters, then I doubleback to the beginning and apply that knowledge where the characters are thinnest. (They are thin at the beginning because you just met them.)
    After that I tend to doubleback every 100 pages or so. The purpose is to not only ensure that I am on the proper story trajectory, but to refresh the pace of the story in my mind. When you are writing, your suffer from a form of time dilation. Think of it; it takes weeks to write a chapter that the reader finishes in an hour or less. So as the writer you may feel like you covered a tremendous amount of ground in those last 100 pages, when in fact you have simply finished another chapter.

    But when I get done, my characters are tight, and the story is exactly what I was aiming for.
    However, this is an advanced way of writing and may not suit all new writers.
    This is actually how I write too, to the letter, but I've not cracked the novel yet. I've now got three unfinished novels, all of them out of control with complexity I had no need to add. I was planning on forgetting the 'edit as you go' method, but I think I'm stuck with it. I just can't move on until the paragraph I'm working on is at least half decent or the word I'm looking for is pretty close to what I wanted.
    Craft / Draft / Graft And Write To Entertain.

  9. #9
    Member LadySilence's Avatar
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    I divide the criticisms into 2.
    1) There are constructive criticisms.
    2) There are destructive criticisms, born only to insult.


    Constructive criticism is always well accepted, it helps to grow, as a writer, and as a person.


    I have received a lot of criticism, both constructive and destructive.
    I have never made any criticisms. I don't know where to start.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by LadySilence View Post
    I divide the criticisms into 2.
    1) There are constructive criticisms.
    2) There are destructive criticisms, born only to insult.


    Constructive criticism is always well accepted, it helps to grow, as a writer, and as a person.


    I have received a lot of criticism, both constructive and destructive.
    I have never made any criticisms. I don't know where to start.
    There are also destructive criticisms that aren't designed to insult. You have to be honest with yourself and recognise where you sit on the 'hierarchy' (for want of a better word) If you don't, then often you'll end up making matters worse. You've also got to be aware of what you're trying to achieve. Even if someone with a much better grasp of writing than yourself gives you advise on restructuring, and even if that advise it great, if it in any way interferes with what you're trying to achieve, it could be detrimental to take that advise. In that instance, you've got to try and figure out why what you intended didn't work rather than simply change it in line with the advise. It's not always easy because you're the beginner and the person critiquing isn't.
    Craft / Draft / Graft And Write To Entertain.

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