I am new to all this and still trying to get the hang of things.
I was going through the Fragments section and caught myself doing something. First I read the fragment. Then I read all the responses to make sure I'm not going to repeat something someone else said, and also to get a feel for proper critiquing techniques (I did say I'm new).
I believe this works against the purpose of posting fragments for feedback for a few reasons:
1) If I read the feedback of others, it influences the way that I perceive the fragment. I may miss something that others caught, and neglect to mention that I totally missed it (which is valuable feedback in itself).
2) I may allow myself to be mis-led as to the writer's intent by the feedback of others. In effect, I would be commenting on the feedback rather than the fragment.
3) If I don't offer a criticism (or compliment) simply because someone else already said it, I am depriving the writer of reinforcement of that opinion (it may look to the writer that only one reader felt that way when most shared that feeling).
I have corrected my own handling of Fragments and Feedback to read the fragment first, offer my feedback, and THEN read the feedback of others. I am posting this topic because as I have gone through various fragment postings, there are times when I seem to see a pattern of others doing what I was doing. As a result, the first feedback response(s) to a fragment can have undue influence on feedback that follows.
[This message has been edited by NoTimeToThink (edited April 18, 2007).]
I'd like to recommend something a little in between.
After you read the 13-line posting, hit the reply button and type your response in the reply box.
Then scroll down the page and you will find a view box with its own scroll bar that shows the entire topic.
Before you submit your own reply, you can read what others have said, and then add your support or disagreement (or recognition that you missed something or misunderstood something) to your response, and then submit it.
That way, you can share your initial, uninfluenced response, and combine it with insights you have received reading other responses, all in one post.
First I read the Fragment. I refuse to scroll down further until I have. This--I noticed--was affecting my responses, a little. For the most part, though, they were the same in general.
When I post my critique, it is mine. I peruse the other critiques to see if they have mentioned what I have noticed. If they have, I downplay my response on the item in question as: "I agree with [insert name here] in that..." If they haven't, I delve deeper into what caught my attention. I (we) may not always sound like it, but I am (we are) trying to help.
On the other hand, when I disagree with a comment, I point that out, too. I have seen a few disagreements in various threads. Some have gotten heated, because most critiquers aren't sheep to be led by the herd. If they agree, they agree. If they don't, you'll know.
I have read a post that said: "I have nothing to add." and respected it. Instead of wasting space and reiterating everything, the poster -- by such a short blurb --was in effect saying "I read your fragment and persused the other comments for the value I could add. I have decided that every point I considered has been made. I just wanted you to know I cared." IMHO this is of value, too.
I'd like to recommend something completely different.
I'd like to see KDW divide the F&F forum in two -- one for those people who have completed stories they want critiqued, and another for those who want fragments critiqued.
The 13-line rule should hold in the forum for stories. Potential readers should know what they're getting into before they ask for the story. But the only response should be, "Yeah, I'll read it," not a critique on the first 13.
But the rule should be modified in the fragment forum. Instead of only 13 lines, a complete unit of fiction -- a scene, or a paragraph or two of description, or whatever -- should be offered. It's simply impossible to say anything intelligent about something if you don't see it in its entirety.
The way it's set up now, F&F is promoting very bad writing habits. You don't write Page 1 and then ask someone to read it before writing Page 2. You write a story, rewrite it, then ask for readers. If you're in the middle of a rewrite and want to know of something is working or not -- or if you're working on some writing exercises and want some feedback -- then you can post that fragment in the fragment forum and ask for help.
But the way it's set up now ... I don't think it's working very well.
quote: The way it's set up now, F&F is promoting very bad writing habits. You don't write Page 1 and then ask someone to read it before writing Page 2.
I beg to differ. F&F is not promoting that a writer have each step critiqued. In fact, no one is. Everyone who voluntarily critiques, do so with what is requested of us. That's the only way we can.
quote: Potential readers should know what they're getting into before they ask for the story.
I agree. But, it's not Fragments & Feedback -- nor any of the critiquers that I know of -- that are responsible for the people that submit as their drafting the original. I think that you are generalizing what is the responsibility of the submitter.
And there are concrete reasons for the first 13 being the limitation.
[This message has been edited by InarticulateBabbler (edited April 18, 2007).]
The thing that annoys me is when people submit something, read the feedback they've been given and then repost their edited first 13. That way when you're reading old posts you can't follow the comments cos you can't see the original 13 lines. There should be some standard in which you repost the edited 13 lines as a reply rather than editing your original posting.
Just an idea but I think it would help a lot of us newbies
Jason - I agree that the original 13 lines should be left alone - often times I can't tell that the original has been changed from the start.
But I don't think posting the rewrite as a reply is the answer. I don't know the rules (I'm new, too), but I think that the entire topic should only involve the First 13 posted at the very top. Once the writer decides it is time to edit their 13 lines and resubmit, they should open a totally new topic for the new version. Then make a reference to each topic from the other if you want to follow the history.
KDW - BTW, thanx for pointing out the scroll box at the bottom of the reply page - I never even realized it was there. I've been opening a second window to bring up what I'm commenting on - this is much better!
I have to agree with Jason in that I would prefer if people posted alterations seperately, rather than change the original - this does pose problems though when someone crits the original without realising there's a re-write. Perhaps if we left the original alone, but added a tag saying there is a re-write further down would be better - or post the re-write on a new thread if necassary.
On critiquing. I do read the first thirteen then read the comments. If I agree with them and feel I have nothing to add, I won't post a reply. If there is something to add, I will add it.
I just wanted to say I think it's important to post agreement or disagreement with other critiques. Personally, if I see one comment about something I write, I give it light consideration. I may or may not agree. If I see three or more comments on the same thing, I pay close attention to it.
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I recommend that rewrites of the first 13 lines appear in the same topic as the original first 13 lines, but chronologically, so people can compare the original to the rewrite. I don't recommend that the author start a new topic for each rewrite.
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