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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Ways to Critique » Mechanics of the Crit

Author Topic: Mechanics of the Crit
Member # 7363

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I am an admitted crit newbie. However, I'm NOT asking "how to crit" or "arguing with the crit" or anything having to do with the content of the crit. There's plenty of other threads on that (so no derailing this one ).

I'm wondering about electronic file mechanics. My past (limited) experience is face-to-face, paper-pencil, so this is new to me.

In the absence of stated preference from the author, what's the consensus on how to reply? I've tended to use "Comments" in Word because it's easy to do and easy to see, but I realize that not everyone has Word. So if I get a txt or rtf, I'll do it straight in the text (but then you need to bold or bracket or something to make it stand out). And frankly, if I'm the author, then anything the crit-er does is jim-dandy with me.

And do folks prefer the overall comments to be added to the end of the story, or included in the email? Again, I'm willing to do what the author prefers if they say it (well, within reason...).

Or does it even matter to anyone on the thought that "something is good, and it doesn't matter how you get it?"

(and I did read the thread on the Word tracking, which looks like a good system for a formal group, but requires everyone to have Word, and probably won't work nearly as well for a more informal system that we have in the public forums.)

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Member # 4849

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I too use MSWord Comments. It's easy to use and easy to follow. Most manuscripts I've critiqued have also been in MSWord (and those who weren't had the ability to send in that format). I've run into a case or two of people I had critique stories that didn't have MSWord, and they usually had me use the body of an email--and vice-versa.

I think that you will find a surprising amount of Hatrackers use (or have the ability to convert to) MSWord.


And do folks prefer the overall comments to be added to the end of the story, or included in the email? Again, I'm willing to do what the author prefers if they say it (well, within reason...).

I've seen and done them either way or both ways. Generally, I like to give the author a little indication of what he's/she's in for. So, I use the comments throughout; major, elaborate thoughts I put into a comment tagged to the last paragraph; and I give a a couple of important thought--not wholly elaborating on them--in the email's body.

I don't think that there is or has been a steady standard for Hatrack critiques--other than critique content.

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Member # 7794

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If there is anybody who does not have MS Word, they should be able to use Open Office. Its free software that is very similar to MS Office suite and can open/save in MS format. I've never used it myself, but it should provide a solution for any who want to work in MS Word format and don't have the software.

Free Open Office:

Also, they have versions for most operating systems. From the website:

Platforms currently supported include Microsoft Windows (98 - Vista), GNU/Linux ("Linux"), Sun Solaris, Mac OS X (under X11), and FreeBSD.

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Member # 1214

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I don't really like the comments. I prefer the "Track Changes" feature. Everything I insert is in a different color, everything I delete gets grayed out, marks on the side make sure something like an inserted comma isn't missed, and it's easy for the author to go through and accept or reject any changes. (It would be mostly "reject", in my case, since I actually MAKE comments rather than corrections, even though I don't like to USE comments.)

Part of the reason that I don't like comments is that they can be hard for sight-impaired people to read. Also, the different colors in track changes are even more portable than the comments feature.

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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posting so this topic will be visible
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