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What do you like to see in a critique? (1 Viewer)

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Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I generally critique substance. Some writers prefer to see other or different comments in a critique. How do I critique style or prose which is a weak area of mine? What do you like to see in a critique?
 
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Terra

Senior Member
I'm fairly decent at sentence structure, grammar, etc. which doesn't mean perfect by any means. My weaknesses are tense and voice, so I very much appreciate any and all help in that area. Thing is, those are the areas I usually receive critiques on from the writers group I belong to where I live. When you mentioned substance however, that resonated. I'd like to know if what I'm writing has ooomph, or if it's just meh.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I like it when someone has made an attempt to discern the feel, the voice, the personality of a piece. Even if it's just the writer's own personal quirks coming through unbidden, it's nice to see something unique picked out. It helps contextualise the rest of the crit. For example, poor grammar can be forgiven if the voice supports it.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Honesty, but one is not allowed. I've seen stuff on here which is absolute cr*p, but one has to keep silent lest a snowflake should melt...

I am not at all sure that is true. If you simply say it is crap and leave it at that you will probably get jumped on, and fair enough, that is not useful and more than a little insulting. If you say it is crap, describe why it is crap, then give some useful suggestions as to how it could be improved, that is something else. NB "Screwing this up and throwing it in the bin would improve it greatly" is not a useful suggestion.

Seriously, the forum is not meant simply as showcase for good writing. If we can help people express themselves better it is an all round win; stop being a grumpy old man, it is not an attractive pose.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
If you can't find anything to criticize, try to offer a way to improve the story or the characterization in some way. Every story can be improved.

Excellent point on the characterization. Definitely seems like an area I can focus on whenever I am writing a critique.
 

Bloggsworth

WF Veterans
I am not at all sure that is true. If you simply say it is crap and leave it at that you will probably get jumped on, and fair enough, that is not useful and more than a little insulting. If you say it is crap, describe why it is crap, then give some useful suggestions as to how it could be improved, that is something else. NB "Screwing this up and throwing it in the bin would improve it greatly" is not a useful suggestion.

Seriously, the forum is not meant simply as showcase for good writing. If we can help people express themselves better it is an all round win; stop being a grumpy old man, it is not an attractive pose.

I do, quite a lot. I've never said anything was cr*p even if I thought so.
 

LCLee

Financial Supporter
I think when one post their work for a critique, they should say what they’re looking for. I don’t think they should throw a bunch of stuff on with little care of the profession and call it a rough draft. Clean it up so we can understand the intention.
Personalty I like brutal, and I’ve found a beta that I work with who is great.
I hate when critiquers rewrite my stuff not in my voice. I try to keep the critique in the op’s voice, even though I may cringe at their verbiage.
 
Since I'm getting back into the swing of things, the biggest thing I want to get out of a critique is if what I wrote works. Does it work as a horror short story? Does it work as a comedy? Of course, I'm always open for someone pointing out spelling and grammar mistakes (I don't want to look like a fool) but I need to know if it works or not. Is it too slow? Is it too fast? Does it need something to add to a particular scene? Am I overthinking a scene? Did I give too much or too little descriptions? I always ask people who read my stuff if they getting what I'm trying to do or if they understand what I'm going for. If they don't, I ask them to elaborate. I want to get it right. If I failed to nail it then I have failed as a writer in my opinion. Then again, I am a nervous wreck so take what I said with a grain of salt.
 

TL Murphy

Met3 Member
Staff member
Chief Mentor
I like it when someone shows me how I can get more out of the story or poem. I think we all miss opportunities to go deeper because we just don't see it. I like a story or poem that is multidimensional but sometimes possibilities elude me so I appreciate the other perspective that can sometimes see broader connections.
To do this the critic has to put him/herself in the author 's shoes to some extent and try to find that POV, which can be a challenge. But it thrills me when I see it done.
 

TheManx

Senior Member
Oh, here’s something that bugs me — and I’ve seen it here — when someone refers to WE writers and WE poets — like we’re all some amorphous blob...
 
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