1. Prometheus
    Offline

    Prometheus Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    Messages:
    514
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    SW Montana

    A Question

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Prometheus, Mar 28, 2010.

    I don't like doing critiques. The more I think about it the more I believe this stems from my feeling I could not only be hurting someone's feelings, but also that I could be killing a unexplored method of writing before giving it a real chance. Am I still a lil' bit crazy, or does anyone else feel this way?
     
  2. Nonnie
    Offline

    Nonnie Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2009
    Messages:
    1,430
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Farmville, VA. Yep, it's not just your least favor
    I feel the same. I feel so uncomfortable critiquing someones work because unless its stricly gramatical stuff, it all comes down to personal taste and every critique I've seen has had people disagree on everything. So yes, I feel the same way.
     
  3. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    By posting a critique, you are offering suggestions for the writer to consider. That is why you should explain your reasoning, not just make "corrections." What you would change and where, why you feel it needs or could be bettered by change, and how you would suggest changing it. That way, you are giving the writer the basis for deciding whether the suggestion should be attempted.
     
  4. Cerealbox
    Offline

    Cerealbox Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, the whole point of posting in those sections is to be critiqued. If they didn't want to be critiqued, then they wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) post it. If you're just looking for praise and attention then maybe you should just stick to showing your work to your friends and family.
     
  5. OPTiiMUM
    Offline

    OPTiiMUM Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England
    I think Cogito has the correct idea.

    Reviewing and Critiqueing is very important, and during my short time so far on this site, the requirements for not posting your own work until atleast 2 critiques seem fair to me.

    After all, learning to critique others work can improve your own writing, and may even encourage others to review yours back.
     
  6. Space_Goose
    Offline

    Space_Goose Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with you Prometheus. I have A LOT to learn about writing. Since I joined the forums, I have visited the reviews section everyday and read all of the new posts. The problem is, I just never feel like any of my comments would be helpful to the author. I am still in the process of learning writing technique so most of my comments would be about the story its self which as has been said, is mainly just my opinion. So Yeah, I find reviewing other peoples work a little intimidating right now.
     
  7. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    No, though maybe I should; I don't know. We can only take so much responsibility for simply giving our opinions on a piece. If someone is going to make my critique so important that it impacts their self-worth or their own writing ideas, then they should not be seeking reviews in a public writing forum and should limit it to family and friends instead.
     
  8. Evelyanin
    Offline

    Evelyanin Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    10
    It helps to remember that you represent the audience. I suppose it is every author's dream to have thousands of people read his/her book. If something doesn't make sense to you, then it is likely that it will confuse other readers too.
    If you critique fairly, then your comments shouldn't hurt anyone. If they do, it will most likely be because the author of the story was looking for an ego boost instead of critique.

    If you were sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle, and the driver had some danger habits, you would tell them right? You could tell them that they are doing great, but in the end, dangerous driving can result in the death of the driver and/or others.
    It works the same for writing. Correct the author, and they are a step closer to being published. Give them undue praise, and the story might crash and burn.
     
  9. semmie
    Offline

    semmie New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northern Michigan
    I understand this feeling, but I have to encourage you guys to challenge your thinking on the matter.

    You cannot honestly know what comments will assist the writer. It is up to her to consider all suggestions and decide which directions to explore. Also, all writers are "in the process of learning." This fact does not invalidate your thoughts about someone's work. You'll learn more of that process by reviewing.

    Besides, what could it hurt?
     
  10. Gigi_GNR
    Offline

    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    12,143
    Likes Received:
    250
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    I actually like critiques, my only fear is that I'm not being helpful enough.
     
  11. Manav
    Offline

    Manav Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Imphal, India
    I think its a win-win situation for both the writer and the person who is critiquing if they are honest about it. My work being critiqued is helpful, but critiquing others work has also helped me equally as a writer. It is easier to find mistakes in others work than your own. I take note of those mistakes and try to avoid them in my writing. I also read critique by others on someone else work. There are some very good such critiques. I enjoy reading them and learning from them.
     
  12. Barry G
    Offline

    Barry G Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Wales UK
    Undoubtedly there is significant pressure on any new forum member to write a critique. Some of us are not happy when criticising someone's creation and I admit to being one of them. I much prefer to encourage a budding author to write more. I find it especially hard to criticise an article written on a theme which I would not normally bother to read about.

    On the other hand by posting examples of my work for open criticism I sometimes get back an idea of what my writings conveyed or rather did not convey to a reader. By the time I have written the article, corrected it once or twice, then proofed it - I can no longer read my work as it has been written. Only a critic can do that for me. So I must regularly bite the bullet and expose myself to hard, sometimes harsh, criticism. There is no other way.

    In return occasionally I have to do something I would rather not do and that is to taste the food on my plate and then tell the cook that the food tastes horrible. However in doing that I come to appreciate good food when it is served up. Hopefully I also teach the cook how to improve his/her cooking.

    Barry G
     
  13. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Think of it this way: You aren't criticising the writer, you are giving him or her a helping hand. Just like you might say, "This idsh could use a little more lemon juice to give it more zing," suggesting a change or correction to a piece of writing is suggesting something to try to make the writing better.

    Fortunately, althoug it's usually too late to tell the cook she should try less salt, the same is not generally true for writing. There are fewer changes you cannot retrofit into a manuscript. In fact, unlike a delicate sauce, you can usually try an additional ingerdient in writing, and take it back out if you decide you don't like the results.
     
  14. Aeschylus
    Offline

    Aeschylus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    What hurts the author more: getting a critique showing them how to make his writing better, or getting a rejection notice from a publisher telling them that they could not accept his work because it was absolute crap?

    In the former circumstance, he now knows how to fix his writing and will do better in the future if he listens; in the latter, he has been convinced that his writing is flawless by people too timid to tell him the truth, and is now lost on how the publisher can not only reject his work but tell him that he's hopeless.

    You tell me what's going to "hurt his feelings" more.
     
  15. Barry G
    Offline

    Barry G Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Wales UK
    One thing I forgot to mention. Here in the UK, if I want a socalled professional critique I have to pay for it on a pence per word cost basis. Maybe what we get back on this Forum is not always a critique from a professional but it is a critique from a reader and it is a free critique - so long as we return the favour.

    I have noticed that there is a lot of excellent expertise accessible from the WF.org readership and I can't see that what I might pay for elsewhere is going to be much more helpful.

    I have given up on the idea of ever being accepted as an author by a bonafide book publisher but I do get pleasure from the knowledge that other writers of all levels of competence read my work. If I make the easy reading of my work difficult for them, then I want to know.

    When I target a specific audience, perhaps a special interest group such as private horse owners, then I can readily get exposure on several internet forums but I cannot receive back honest but maybe negative criticism. All I get back from horsey people is the occasional plaudit - they hesitate to be critical. On this Forum, I can get the critique although I do find it harder to get the readership for my genre of writing and that is my only criticism of it.

    From time to time a critique cuts to the quick and sometimes I wince but often it is because the wording of the criticism came across a little harshly. But I am a big boy.

    Barry G
     
  16. amariel
    Offline

    amariel Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1
    i spent some time in art school, and critiques of work were required. that's where i learned that the best thing to remember is to be respectful. honest, but respectful.

    if i post a piece of writing, i am begging to be critiqued. i want nothing more than for people to tell me how i can improve- your opinion, even if it is a negative reaction, is invaluable!
     
  17. Midnight_Adventurer
    Offline

    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    My teacher in my Novel 1 class at college made it very clear that when you're critiquing someone's work ALWAYS start with the positive to ensure you appeal to the writers ego before you start on your 'friendly suggestions'. I know it sounds sissy but the negatives never seem as bad after reading the positives. Yes critiquing never sounds like fun but believe me people WILL appreciate it; you'd be surprised at how much difference a small observation can make. :)
     
  18. bachatan
    Offline

    bachatan Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Florida
    how is it going, you are not crazy at all, remember though, it's only an opinion that you are posting, whether you are saying why you like it, or why you don't it's an opinion,

    and giving critique doesn't mean you don't like it, it could mean that you see it for all it could be, and if what you say doesn't affect them, then it doesn't so what?

    honesty is the biggest favor you can do for anyone, and like someone else wrote, anyone who goes in the review room, goes there for critique, looking for ways to improve,

    the more you share your honest opinions, the more, you'll realize that it has everything to do, with who you are, and that if they DO take it personal it has nothing to do with you,


     

Share This Page