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Getting Comments on Your Posts (1 Viewer)

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Senior Member
When I first arrived here, I complained at the difficulty some people on this site were having getting replies to their writing. But since then I've learned a few things to help get people to critique your work. Hope this helps those having trouble.

1) The biggest thing is to give advice to other people. Usually they return the favour. For every story you post, you should try to critique 3 or 4 other stories. I think most people are just too self-conscience to give advice. Don't be. Advice is always welcome.

2) Ask specific questions. I think people want to help each other on this site, but if you don't give them specific questions they might not know what kind of advice you are looking for, and then they just wind up saying things like "Good job"; which is no help to anyone.

3) Don't insult or ignore anyone's advice. If you have a problem with someone's advice, tell them what that problem was, and thank them anyway and tell them that future advice from them is still welcome. This is as much for them as other people reading the post.

Anyone else have some tips?


Senior Member
More Tips

-Work on your critical skills. This means being able to give straightforward, constructive criticism. Let's be honest, the main reason a lot of people take the time to comment on your work is because they want you to return the favour. So make a reputation for yourself as a good critic and more people will take the time to comment on your work.

Here's some tips on how to improve your critical skills. Although it centres on poetry, I think the same tips can be applied to prose.

And for poetry critics, it helps if you know what you're talking about. Click here for loads of info about poetry.

(BTW, I don't recommend posting on PFFA unless you don't mind dealing with a bunch of rather asinine rules, and Gestopo-worthy mods. Though the criticism is definately top-notch. The rules of posting are very strict there, so make sure you read the guidelines if you are going to post there.)
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True. If you're going to post something very long, then post it in parts.

Additionally, never post more than one piece of work at a time.

Eleutheromaniac is quite correct.. The key to being replied to is to reply to others. And please do be honest. As my learned friend pointed it, "Good Job!" is no use to anyone. Sometimes I come across something that I like too much to raise any complaint against - that's fine, but it's rare. Mostly even if I like something, which I often don't, I'll still find something wrong with it. Apart from when I'm being lazy, of course.

If worst comes to worst, just PM me.


The subject line of the post is also important. Since it's the first thing any possible readers see, the subject is almost as important as the first line. It should catch the readers' interest. Titling your posts things like "Something dumb I threw together," "Yet another chapter--please critique," or "Doesn't have a title" is a real turn off.

And, of course, basic attention to spelling and grammar makes stories easier to read.

It's a shame about the length limit, though. It's very true that the longer a story is, the less likely it is to be read, but there are doubtless some great stories that are long, and are best taken in full, not as serials.

DL Ferguson

Senior Member
I don't read anything that starts off in this manner : "I know this is no good..." or "This story sucks but could you please..." If YOU don't think your own story is any good, then why on earth would I want to read it?

And I'm sorry, I know people have problems with spelling and grammar and whatever but if you don't take the time and effort to present your work in a coherant manner that I can read without difficulty then I'm going to go on and read something else.

And last but not least: my mother gave me a piece of advice when I was a kid and never forgot it: if you want a friend, then BE a friend. The best way to get people to read your work and comment on it is to extend yourself and read and comment on other people's work. A large problem on not only this message boards but a few others I frequent is the enormous number of people who sign up solely to get feedback on their own work and if they don't get it right away they up and leave.

Look, everybody would just love to get feedback on everything they write and get it the same hour they sign up on a forum like this but it doesn't happen that way all the time. Sometimes you just have to be patient and build up a prescence where people will be interested in getting to know your work.


Senior Member
Something that can also help is getting to know people around the forum better. Post in the lounge or in word games and people may decide that they'd like to read some of your work.

Obviously, giving useful comments on other works will get more people to read it. It may be that they're returning a favor, or perhaps some other reason.

When you do things like that people will notice you're there. That you're on the forums. After all, if you post a story and then just wait for a reply, how are people going to be sure that you are actually going to stay long enough to see the advice they offer?

Speaking of rambling . . . .

*shuts up*
I'll finish with that...

Ilan Bouchard

Most people have said it, but it bears repeating.
I know when I get a lengthy, well-constructed comment that will actually help my story or poem when it's re-written, I usually do a search for that person's username and read some of their work.

I also rarely see the point in giving a "good job" post. On forums it may make no difference to some writers, but writers who aspire to become professionals genuinely want people's honest answers. If I don't like something, I tell them why, if I like something, I tell them my favorite part. If someone is offended with a review they get, perhaps it's the reviewer who has been too rash, but usually it's just the ego of the writer getting the best of them.
It's useless to humor a writer and comment vaguely.

And something that's not been said:
Whenever you post, make sure you put at least one point that hasn't been said. No one wants to read the same advice over and over (although sometimes it's useful if there's a large contrast of opinion). Yes, I'm a hyprocrit sometimes....


Senior Member
One point to add; when comment/critiquing, the word 'you' should never be followed by an adjective or noun. The idea is to comment about the work, not the person or their opinions.

I've seen threads on other forums that dengenerate into a never-ending slanging match, simply because way back near the start, someone aimed a comment at the person.

Personally I want all the types of comment, but some react poorly if all they get is corrections for typos or misspellings. If you're like that, the solution is simple - Proofread First!

The members here are far more forgiving of such things than publishers or anyone who'd pay for your work, so remember they're trying to help, not just criticise your use of language.

(OK, put soapbox away, retire quietly back into the shade)


Critical Advice to Friends


When a manuscript is submitted for publication, most writers are literally at the publisher's editorial mercy. We can, of course, "get our back up" and withdraw the manuscript if their slash-and-burn policy is conceived as too severe. This may serve our writer's ego, but defeat the main purpose of writing: publication. The alternative is a contract allowing the writer to approve all changes to his manuscript. Such a pact is virtually impossible to obtain for anyone of lower stature than a Michener or a Crichton.

As published authors, we are sometimes asked to edit a story for a friend. When that happens, we must be careful not to impose our own style upon the friend's writing. The budding writer also has a responsibility: ensure that our critique doesn't destroy the style that he/she is developing.

Proofreading is an entirely different story. The proofreader's task is to find grammatical, punctuation, spelling, and formatting errors - nothing more.

A critique group serves a third and very different function. We critique-group members must be sure that our suggestions do not become ADVICE. And the writer should not take as advice, any criticism that he/she receives from the group. Advice is much like editing in that an advisor may feel that because her suggestions were solicited, the writer is obligated to accept and use them.
Published authors are frequently asked to read and ADVISE on an unpublished writer's story. Many of us shun that task because it comes so frequently, but occasionally one simply can't avoid it. When this happens to me, my written critiques are always preceded by this note in one form or another:

Dear Friend,

My writing is similar to yours, but different enough that any changes I might make could disrupt your style. The suggestions therefore, are what I would do to enhance the manuscript's chances for acceptance by the editors at publications for which I write. The changes, however, might not produce what your own publisher wants.
Furthermore, I never say to my author friends, "It's a wonderful story!" or "That story stinks!" even though what I feel triggers one of those emotions. This is because I probably have different tastes in literature than your intended audience, and what is wonderful to me may seem lousy to them.

Please understand that what follows is not to be considered advice! I particularly like the statement on the subject of advice in Rumer Godden's A Candle for St. Jude:

"Advice is the worst kind of help. It is pernicious, and if you don't know what that means," said Mr. Felix, "you should go and look it up in the dictionary." Hilda looked it up and was surprised to find how strong and final its meaning was.

This said, here are a few comments about your story.
[Then I follow that note with a detailed list of suggested corrections.]

I should add for today's readers that in our litigious society, simply reading a friend's unpublished manuscript could place you in jeopardy of a lawsuit for plagiarism. Be careful about unwittingly stealing from him/her.
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