Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Narcissism and Critiquing

   
Author Topic: Narcissism and Critiquing
Lloyd Tackitt
Member
Member # 9714

 - posted      Profile for Lloyd Tackitt   Email Lloyd Tackitt         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This may anger some people, sorry about that.

I have noticed that there are a few critiquers on this forum that really aren't critiquing so much as showing off.

I see some critiques (of the first 13 lines) that go into great detail about the nuance of nearly each and every word. Really digging in and coming up with suggestions that don't change the impact of the writer's work. As a lawyer once put it "making a distinction without a difference."

I've seen this before. I generally inhabit a board called writing.com, and have for a few years. There you post an entire story, and receive critiques. Something like a quarter of the critiques tend to be as described above.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the point to determine whether or not those first 13 lines make you want to read more - and not to nitpick the word choices used to the level that it begins to sound like an autopsy report?

Go ahead - hit me!

PS - I am not talking about the reviews posted on my first 13 entries - they have all been cogent; this is not sour grapes. I am talking about other posts I have read on here.

Posts: 64 | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
axeminister
Member
Member # 8991

 - posted      Profile for axeminister   Email axeminister         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I sometimes go too far in my crits. [Frown] I'm working on that, and I do apologize to anyone who has received a red ink'd crit back from me. I pretty much feel like a complete tool after I send them.

Give too much and it's all just noise, noise, noise.

I've had crits come back to me so full of ink that I ignored all the comments. Try to put your finger on a white dot when the TV is all staticy.

However, until I master the art of the perfect crit, I'm going to do things my way. Oh yeah, that's as selfish as it gets. But how else can I learn to critique than by doing it wrong? Or, how else can I know what works and what doesn't in my own stuff other than blowing up someone's 13?

I try not to aggravate people, but I'm sure it happens. I just hope they ignore me until I go away.

However, I will say, if you put something up, you must take the good with the bad.

<shrug> Was that helpful? Or just more noise?

Axe

Posts: 1467 | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
aspirit
Member
Member # 7974

 - posted      Profile for aspirit   Email aspirit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As I see it, there's more than one point to posting and commenting on 13 lines. For example, the writer of the 13 lines might want to know:

1. If the opening hooks any readers. Do they want to read more?

2. How effective are the lines. Are readers wary by the 14 line? Even when readers are willing to continue, they might have seen or felt issues with the first 13 that take away from their immersion. If the readers come across those issues again in the story, then they'll stop reading. In this situation, line edits might help the writer understand what's making readers wary and what's working enough to keep them reading.

Critiques of the first 13 lines aren't only for the writer, though. Critiquers are practicing evaluation skills that can be used when editing their own works later. Unfortunately, I think people can get carried away with their practice. We don't have to post our entire evaluation. More than a few times, I've nitpicked other people's lines for my benefit--but didn't publish my critique. Before publishing, I consider whether or not my critique is likely to help the writer.

However, the writer isn't always clear about what kind of responses (s)he wants. Too many times, I've seen 13 lines posted without any comments by the writer. When that happens, the writer looks like (s)he's asking for anything and everything.

Posts: 1136 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
aspirit
Member
Member # 7974

 - posted      Profile for aspirit   Email aspirit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
To summarize my points: Few if any critiquers are intentionally showing off, nitpicks are sometimes what the writer of the 13 lines wants, and (no matter who you are) let people know what kind of response you want when you post your 13 lines.
Posts: 1136 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LeetahWest
Member
Member # 9402

 - posted      Profile for LeetahWest   Email LeetahWest         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I suppose that for me, getting the wording right is a part of the critique. May I give you an example?

My husband has a very fluid way with words. His sentences are very melodic. However, the improper use of some adjectives need to be addressed and the sentence structure lacks . . . well, structure. I do a brief edit of his work, (as I am not a professionally trained editor, only a self trained one) and it doesn't ruin his story, but it does help clarify.

That process I described above may be considered editing and not critiquing but to me it is both. Here are a few sentences in my husband's work where I had to do as described above.

Original Sentence:
That first night drifted off with her memories as the smoke of the lantern danced above its flame threatening to stain her nostrils with its foul miasma.

He expressed he is trying to convey that her thoughts drifted off like the smoke from the lantern.

Reworded/structured sentence:
The memories of that first night melded away as with the lantern smoke that danced above its flame threatening to prick her nostrils with its foul miasma.

and

Original Sentence:
Not be a victim of her passions and desires blanketed in his arms with glare of night being her blindfold.

Reworded/structured sentence:
The ink of night would no longer be her blindfold; she would not be a victim of her passions and desires blanketed in his arms.

This may seem like just editing, but it is a critique as well, I did not understand what it was he was trying to convey without having to stop think about it. We want our readers to stop and think about the meaning of our work, not what our work is trying to say. Having a reader stumble over poor structure or word choice etc is something that needs to be addressed in a 13 line hook.

We ask for critiques from more than one person because each different person will see things from an altered viewpoint. No two people could ever see the same thing exactly the same way. We all have our histories and experiences we play the game of life from. It is the same with editors, some editors do only grammar and punctuation, others do content of the story itself. Because some people choose to see the structure to be as important as the idea, does not make their opinion any less valid or any more narcissistic than the others.

And can you truly ask for an opinion, and then tell that person that because their opinion differs from yours that they are a narcissist? I would hope not. After all, the one thing you can ask for from anyone on this earth and they will gladly give it to you, is their opinion.

Posts: 108 | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
Administrator
Member # 59

 - posted      Profile for Kathleen Dalton Woodbury   Email Kathleen Dalton Woodbury         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My definition of a workshop is a place where both those who write and those who give feedback can learn. And they both learn by doing both kinds of things.

So, while one of the reasons for critiquing the 13 lines is to help the author know whether the critiquer would read on, and why or why not, another of the reasons, as aspirit has said, is to help the critiquer learn to recognize and understand problems in a manuscript text, which skills can then be applied to their own work.

Posts: 7995 | Registered: A Long Time Ago!  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have learned over my years at Hatrack that there are some critiques that I find helpful and some that just aren't particularly helpful or aren't what I'm looking for.

However, this point of view has evolved over time. I very clearly remember putting up my first piece for feedback and getting a few "well, you might consider reducing your use of adverbs..." so I rewrote and posted an update that...had several additional adverbs, just in different places! I still get a chuckle out of that when I think back, it was really not obvious to me at that time how/where/why to use adverbs (for what it's worth, I now use them liberally and do so consciously. See!? [Smile]

So I think in my early times posting, I learned something from every critique, and yes, went through some times of thinking I had to try to figure out how to accomplish what ALL reviewers had said (this quickly went out the window when I learned that reviewers often contradicted each other!)

Nowadays I am a much more ... direct? specific? intentional writer? When I ask for feedback, which I do rarely because I've learned to trust my own voice and vision and feel confident in my writing (and know that I can be derailed by the suggestions of edits that I hadn't thought of, which would get in my way of meeting my own writing goals..) but when I do ask for feedback, I usually need to know a few specific things. My primary goal is often "does this work?" Which is similar to but not quite the same as "would you read on?" because I write YA and MG sci-fi, that isn't everyone's genre or age range preference so I ask if something works and if they were someone who liked this sort of thing would they read on.

I also am usually working on one or two of my own writing skills in any particular work. For instance, in my current WIP I'm using present tense first person and an earth-bound setting, both are not common choices for me, so I'm all the more eager to know if what I've written works beyond just the voices in my head.

At any rate, I don't disagree with your assessment, but for the various people providing feedback, remember that it's easily 50% about GIVING feedback and 50% about learning something about the craft (by virtue of writing feedback about someone else's use of it...) so...don't be too hard on people is my point. Just, um, well, you might keep your own mental list of who to go to when you want fuller critiques of your own work. Which isn't meant to be a zing, because honestly there are some people in the past who were extremely detailed in their feedback to me, but their feedback targeted areas I was struggling with and helped me find solutions. It's up to the original writer to figure out what works for him/her, though.

No idea if any of this made any sense, but trust that the process of giving feedback on F&F on Hatrack is an involved and sometimes painful process but it's one that has helped me tremendously as a writer, it has its place in the writing continuum.

Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
redux
Member
Member # 9277

 - posted      Profile for redux   Email redux         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've never gotten the impression that anyone here has been trying to show off. I consider this forum to be quite helpful and respectful towards writers.

Here's my approach to critiques:

I read everything twice.

My first pass is for the "emotional impact."

My second pass is to assess the technical aspects of the writing - use of language, structure, etc.

One is subjective, the other is objective. I believe writers can benefit from both and it is up to them to decide what changes need to be made based on feedback.

I believe it is crucial to always remain respectful and never make it personal. After all, we are critiquing the writing not the writer.

Posts: 525 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
C@R3Y
Member
Member # 9669

 - posted      Profile for C@R3Y   Email C@R3Y         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
For me, thirteen lines isn't really enough to really get into it, as far as wanting to read more goes. Sometimes IT IS, and it is good to have a hook within the thirteen lines of course, but I just cannot seem to go off of just thirteen lines all the time. It's not my strong point when it comes to critiques.

I want to contribute any way I can, even if it is as simple as the changing of a word choice or a sentence, because I would want others to do the same for me, no matter what the comments are about. Maybe it will even give me an idea how I can take what they have said, and twist it in such a way as to make it my own... If I don't like what someone has said, then I ignore it. It's that simple. You don't have to dwell on what others say about your thirteen lines or an entire story, because it is ALL just their opinions, and their are no REAL rules when it comes to writing. Someone wants to write one way, while someone else wants to write another. That's what is so lovely with different styles.

I am not as thorough as others, but if I read thirteen lines and don't really know exactly how to respond to it, but see some sentences or words that seem a little clunky or off too me, yet I don't give my opinion, then how am I helping if I don't say anything at all?

All in all, even if someone is saying to use "this" word, "this" sentence, not "that" word, "that" sentence, you can just nod with a smile and continue on with your merry ole life, without ever having changed your stuff to match theirs.

Nod your head with a smile. =]

Posts: 193 | Registered: Oct 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
axeminister
Member
Member # 8991

 - posted      Profile for axeminister   Email axeminister         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Aspirit said what I was trying to say, in a much more general, and wholly less self-centered way.

I'll add that my first 13, posted around two years ago now, received such a beating that I sent an e-mail to Kathleen and asked her to delete the entire post.

Gracefully, she obliged.

I got better.

And a thicker skin.

A good combination of those allows me to post my 13's and properly digest whatever I receive. Good, bad, or verbose.

Oh, and edited to add, I always try to say WHY I recommend a word or sentence phrase. This way the author can think about my suggestions and really see if he/she agrees with them.

Axe

Posts: 1467 | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
History
Member
Member # 9213

 - posted      Profile for History   Email History         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Your colleagues here want to help you be a better writer and save you from the heartless masses ready and eager to savage your work.
My approach:

1) Would I read on? Why? Why not?
2) Writing quality

I can be extensive in my critiques, often spending hours on them (one reason I do fewer these days). I've had no complaints as yet only "thank-you's" (as WOTF winner Nick T, WOTF finalist axeminster, and recent 1st time novelist and published short story author Wonderbus can attest).

Readers and reviewers will have no reservation trashing uninteresting and poorly written (or poorly proofread) stories. This is one place where we can teach each other and become better before facing the heartless agents, publishers, editors, and readership.

My advice to posting your work for critique by your fellow Hatrackers?
* Be humble.
* Be grateful anyone is willing to take time out of their life to read your words and offer suggestions for improvement.
* Grow some cahones.

Is it your fellow writer's fault or yours, if they find your story has flaws?
What would you say to an editor who suggests changes be made before he/she will consider publishing your work?

When we critique each other, it is mutually understood that any suggestions, however extensive, are just suggestions. It's your story. In the end, you alone decide what suggestions to adopt and what to ignore. There should be no bad feelings or recriminations on either side.

Again, I offer my sincere thanks to all who have taken the time to read my work and offer suggestions, edits, and corrected proofread errors in helping me improve as a writer.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

Posts: 1415 | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
First I'd like to reiterate that Lloyd has already stated he isn't talking about crits to his own work and that the crits he himself has received have been helpful.

Also, there IS such a thing as a bad crit, and they do occur here. Gratitude is great and all, but the critique process is a two-way street on all levels...one of the big ideas here on Hatrack is that doing crits is as or more helpful than receiving them...well, nobody could do any crits if nobody posted anything...yes the person has taken time to comment, but by choice...that's a part of being part of this or any similar community.

And yes, I too feel that there are a few folks here who, at least as near as I can tell, seem to do some of what they do, or do some of what they do the way they do it, in order to stroke their own egos and suchlike.

All that being said, I am having a little trouble understanding specifically what it is your finding a problem...but I think it may lie here...


quote:
My second pass is to assess the technical aspects of the writing - use of language, structure, etc.

One is subjective, the other is objective.

Aside from basic spelling and grammar...and even these are altered for artistic effect now and then...the "technical" or craft aspects of writing are also subjective. There are many ways a given thing can be said that are all technically "correct" but that have different impact, emphasis etc. And yes there are some folks that like to go through a section with a fine-toothed comb and sometimes, it may seem (and sometimes, actually be) with little regard for this fact or the fact that sometimes one may have stylistic or other reasons for word choices etc.


For me though it's not the manner, extent, or area of the crit, but the tone and how it's presented. For this reason, when I comment upon writing-craft type things, unless it's a definitely typo I always say something like "For me, this would sound better like that" or somesuch...whereas some will come at it with "Weak. It should be so-and-such" and the like.

Also, about this...


quote:
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the point to determine whether or not those first 13 lines make you want to read more
First let me say, I'm not a fan of the first 13 business. I'm also not a fan of the concept of "the hook" because one person's hook is another person's repellent. Just about the last thing I want is a crit consisting of little or nothing more than "I would read on" or "I wouldn't read on" because that's just one person. Indeed another of the problems I sometimes have, personally, with crits is that lack of elaboration...knowing what the person thinks is great but for it to really be helpful I need to know why (even if the "why" is "I don't know."
I personally dislike critting first 13s, because to me, they have no context. To me they are not a "hook" they are the beginning of a story. The beginning is, without doubt, a very important part, but it is nevertheless a part and I dislike trying to crit something without context. So, my crits of first 13s are often about technical things...correcting objective errors, and offering my subjective opinions on bits that, for me, don't flow well or don't quite make sense or whatever.


So, overall while I think I feel what your saying overall, I'm not quite sure I understand all the details of your issue.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oh and I almost forgot...aspirit addressed something very important, I think, to the discussion and I'm sooo glad she did as it's a thing I've been saying for ages...


quote:
Critiques of the first 13 lines aren't only for the writer, though. Critiquers are practicing evaluation skills that can be used when editing their own works later. Unfortunately, I think people can get carried away with their practice. We don't have to post our entire evaluation. More than a few times, I've nitpicked other people's lines for my benefit--but didn't publish my critique. Before publishing, I consider whether or not my critique is likely to help the writer.
Along with the self-aggrandizement issue you mention, Lloyd, there are also some folks, just as aspirit says, who take the whole learning from critting things to extremes...they perform crits for themselves and aren't really much concerned with whether it's helpful to the author in question or not. And I have wondered a time or two if perhaps it wouldn't be better if, since the crits are for them and not the author, they didn't keep them largely to themselves and some of this may be part of what you find issue with and I think in the end is the heart (or a heart) of the issues I've had now and then in my time here...some people come across as lack...or do, truly lack...much respect or regard for the work or intentions of those they crit.
Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brendan
Member
Member # 6044

 - posted      Profile for Brendan   Email Brendan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What’s the difference between showing off and taking pride in your own work (or critique)? Can you show off and be helping the other person at the same time? If your intention is helping the other person, can it come across as showing off?

Some people are detail minded – they understand things only through the substance of the detail. Others are big picture people – preferring the overall impression and the synthesis of the analysis. Which works in a critique? Both, or neither, depending on the type of person the writer is.

Each piece to its merits. One experienced writer has done a great job on their 13. There is one word that in my limited opinion doesn’t seem right – do I refrain from pointing it out because it is a nuance? Another 13 has no flaws. Do I join the chorus and be the 15th person to say “I’d read on” without adding anything useful? Another beginner writer has offered a 13 with so many flaws, I could go on for 10 pages. Should I? If I decide to do a line-by-line analysis (which I sometimes do), should I point out the parts I liked? Or leave it because it would clutter the reply? Where there is a particularly clever or nuanced line, do I point out that I understood it? What if I realise that the average reader wouldn’t typically understand the subtlety– is it showing off to show that I did?

There is so much that could stop me from putting up a critique. Sometimes I do stop – particularly when I thought I have become too negative. Sometimes I should have stopped, but didn’t. But if I did that every time, and everyone followed suit, then there would be no honest feedback. And there would be little learning from others, either. So I’ll keep critiquing – sometimes usefully, sometimes poorly, even sometimes poorly of what turns into award winning stories. But by doing that, I hope others are learning, I know I am learning, and I hope that, at the end of the day, some feel they have improved by the interaction.

Posts: 763 | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
extrinsic
Member
Member # 8019

 - posted      Profile for extrinsic   Email extrinsic         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I developed a recent reluctance for sharing critiques in general. No matter how courteously couched, someone is bound to take exception. Contrarily, I've found writers who say no holds barred don't tend to really mean it.

Ad nauseam critiques do tend to be overwhelming, so I've taken to focusing on an encompassing picture area that runs throughout a work: works for me or doesn't work for me, though based on sound writing principles. Voice and craft areas.

For critiques that I'll share, I start off with commenting on a feature that works for me, identify it, state why and how and so on, again, based on sound writing principles. Oftentimes, the strength also points up a related shortcoming on the same plane of concern, though, actually, I usually come to the shortcoming first and then seek out its corresponding strength. I then address that shortcoming in parallel terms. I like to finish with an approving comment, something along the lines of a synthesis of the strength and shortcoming, their balance, their weighted measure.

I've taken instead to preferring private critiquing of published works, critiques I won't share. I recently read Margaret Atwood's "The Stone Matress," published December 19, 2011 in The New Yorker.

Overall, the same quality writing, mannerisms and aesthetics and sensibilities I expect from reading her work. Many craft strengths, one related voice shortcoming that stands out to me. The protagonist Verna is a stock archetype, a gold-digging, black widow vamp. Vamp in the sense of a woman who uses seductive charms and wiles to exploit men. Noteably, vamp is short for vampire, crica 1910, a nonfantastical motif based on a fantastical motif, based on a cultural paranormal zeitgeist motif metaphor. Delicious.

Anyway, though that vamp archetype is not trite or outworn, Atwood does portray Verna as a somewhat generically flat character. It wouldn't take much to portray Verna as a unique person and thus strengthen the overall work. One bit or two of idiosyncracy unique to Verna would do the job. I feel that that shortcoming is an area of voice, where the character voice is generic, could be from any gold-digging, black widow vamp. Consequently, the narrative distance is somewhat more remote than I feel it could be with just a tiny tweak or two.

Atwood, Margaret. "The Stone Mattress," The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2011/12/19/111219fi_fiction_atwood

[ January 11, 2012, 10:44 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

Posts: 3401 | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lloyd Tackitt
Member
Member # 9714

 - posted      Profile for Lloyd Tackitt   Email Lloyd Tackitt         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Lots of great comments here. Some have pointed out that anyone posting 13 should specify what type of feedback they are looking for. That seems fair and might save some poor soul hours of critiqing grammar when the poster isn't interested in that and won't read it.

Conversely, it might be a discussion point that reviewers explain specifically what they are going to critique at the beginning of their response.

I'm not very judgemental/critical to start with. Either I enjoy a story or I don't. Occasionally there is a specific reason that leaps out at me for my reaction to the writing, and I may point it out.

I have also learned over the years of receiving critiques that the usual course of events is to receive conflicting responses. What one person loves another person hates. That happens a lot.

Because of that, I don't take any review personally - unless it is a rave review of course.

Posts: 64 | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
SuziQ
Member
Member # 9730

 - posted      Profile for SuziQ   Email SuziQ         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
As someone new to this site, to public crits and new to seriously learning to write (as opposed to fan fiction and the like), I appreciate this thread. I too had read some crits and wondered about some of the things that were said and how they were said. Now, I think I have altered my thoughts somewhat and am glad I read this before my first crit. While I am also not a fan of the 13, I do understand the purpose and appreciate the decisions there. So, crits. I learned a long time that everyone has opinions - that's true even in casual writing/rping/vidding. This thread, though, showed me just how many ways different people do crits and I think now that when I post, I can at least value every crit that attempts at all to offer help. There is def value in the initial emotional - I liked it, I'd read more, I am hooked, because that's a valid response with some folks. There's def places for more in depth crit and even for the grammer/syntax/ect stuff. I always worry much more about the story than the wordsmithing until the end, so I think I'll take those crits and use them at the end when I'm focused on those issues. Either way, I am appreciative of this thread opening my eyes to the many ways to read, view and crit works. I will use these ideas in both receiving and giving of crit. thank you for the honest discussion.
Posts: 33 | Registered: Jan 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm at a loss. I don't participate in the First Thirteen stuff, mostly 'cause I have so little I can post---I could do endless "thirteen lines" and never get further in the story---and I don't want to be seen hitting people who can't hit back on my stuff.

But on the other hand, if one is looking for something better than what one posts...and since these boards are habituated by a lot of people with much arcane knowledge in the field of writing...why not accept the criticism? One doesn't have to accept it...

Posts: 8229 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MAP
Member
Member # 8631

 - posted      Profile for MAP           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here are some things to consider when putting first 13 up for crits.

1. Specify what you want from the crits. If you want them to go easy, ask. If you want them to nitpic, ask. If you just want a general idea if it is interesting, ask. For the most part, you will get what you ask for.

2. It is hard to read people over the internet. People can come off as being mean or rude or arrogant, who aren't. For the most part, I believe people here sincerely want to help. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

3. When you get a crit that is a little harsh. Take a deep breath and step away from the computer. Come back to it after you've cooled down a bit and read it again. I bet it is not as scathing as it was on the first read.

4. Remember that critiques are only opinions, and no one's opinion is more valid than your own. It is your story, and critiques are important to determine if your story is coming across the way you intended. Only make the changes that feel right to you.

5. But be open. None of us start this writing thing with perfect brilliant prose and amazing stories. There is a lot to learn from the forums and critiques. You will grow immensely if you carefully consider what is being said.

6. Do not ignore any crit that indicates confusion especially if more than one person is confused. Confusing the reader is not a good idea. [Smile]

7. Don't forget that you learn as much if not more from critiquing, so get in there and critique others stuff even if you think you don't know what you are doing. You do. Your opinion is just as valid as anyone else's, and you just might say the one thing the writer needed to hear.

8. Try to have fun. [Smile]

Sorry for my long winded post. Hope it helps. [Smile]

[ January 12, 2012, 01:35 PM: Message edited by: MAP ]

Posts: 1076 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Lots of great comments here. Some have pointed out that anyone posting 13 should specify what type of feedback they are looking for. That seems fair and might save some poor soul hours of critiqing grammar when the poster isn't interested in that and won't read it.
This is always a good idea, especially if you do have specific things you want (or don't want) to see. Indeed, more communication between critter and crittee is something I always consider a good thing, though I know many disagree.


quote:
Conversely, it might be a discussion point that reviewers explain specifically what they are going to critique at the beginning of their response.
This isn't a bad idea, though for me it's even more important that they mention the reasons behind their comments and criticisms.


quote:
I'm not very judgemental/critical to start with. Either I enjoy a story or I don't. Occasionally there is a specific reason that leaps out at me for my reaction to the writing, and I may point it out.
I can relate. My own criticism has now and then been criticized as too positive and easy going, essentially insufficiently critical. However, I think most folks here are looking for a bit more detail than liked it or didn't like it although I suppose especially for the whole first 13 business a lot of folks are happy to just know if you'd read on or not.

For my part, when I do crits, of any kind, my goal is to try and understand the intentions of the writer and tell them whether or not the piece was achieving those intentions to me and why or why not and then I also try to throw in a bit of what I call the "common wisdom" or general market appeal type stuff I've picked up in my time here, as there are many things that I am indifferent to or even like that I realize are "out of fashion" right now.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pyre Dynasty
Member
Member # 1947

 - posted      Profile for Pyre Dynasty   Email Pyre Dynasty         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree that sometimes people are a little too heavy in their crits, but at the same time you are totally free to ignore them. A post on the internet is passive, it doesn't force you to read it.

Yes, sometimes you get a person who believes that the only way your work can be redeemed is if they wrote it themselves, but they don't actually have any power over your work that you don't give them.

There are many goals and points to the crit process, some people value some of these more than others. It is actually a rare and special thing to find a critic whose goals match those of the writer.

Sometimes you need what you didn't know you wanted.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a stranger read your work and cared enough to leave a response. Whether the response is good or bad, helpful to you or not it is still a good thing. The act of reading and responding to your work is the thing which deserves gratitude, even if the rest of it is wrong on every other level.

I once got a response to a work (the whole story) that was longer than the story itself. I agreed with some of it, hated some of it, but it made me so happy that someone actually spent so much energy on me.

Posts: 1869 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Merlion-Emrys
Member
Member # 7912

 - posted      Profile for Merlion-Emrys   Email Merlion-Emrys         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Remember that critiques are only opinions, and no one's opinion is more valid than your own.
This is the trouble, though, with the whole "objective good and bad" way of thinking I constantly rail against, because in that way of thinking, by nature and necessity some people's opinions are more valid than others. Some people do in fact believe that some opinions are better than others or that various things aren't matters of opinion and that can lead to problems.


And while certainly people can come off as rude or arrogant who are not...some people are, in fact, rude and/or arrogant. However, I feel that the tone and level of open-mindedness around here is a great deal better now than it used to be, with one or two easily ignored exceptions.

Posts: 2626 | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lloyd Tackitt
Member
Member # 9714

 - posted      Profile for Lloyd Tackitt   Email Lloyd Tackitt         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just posted a 13 in the short segments - Crazy Alan. I posted the 13 as originally written about a year ago. I hadn't read it in a long time. Then, below that I posted a rewrite I did on the fly as I was posting it (and was ready to change that immediately). I am an incorrigible rewriter. I never read something I wrote that I don't want to change it. The longer it sits the more I want to change.

I thought it would be interesting to post a before and after and see if anyone can tell me if I am improving, staying the same, or getting worse.

If you feel like critiquing it, please do and hit it as hard as you want to - I have pretty thick skin believe it or not.

Posts: 64 | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
babooher
Member
Member # 8617

 - posted      Profile for babooher   Email babooher         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The value of the critique usually is determined by the recipient.
Posts: 719 | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2