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  1. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    Are you reluctant to critique a long piece?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by lipton_lover, Mar 12, 2009.

    If you're like me, this may help you become a much more willing reviewer for others.
    I love reading/writing, but when I come here to critique peoples' works, I stop because they're all so long. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but I hate reading long things on a computer screen. So what I suggest if you have the same problem, is simply print out what they wrote! You may find it much easier to read that way, then you can help improve the community by increasing how many reviews you do, especially for those who post longer excerpts/stories.

    Hope it helps, Nate
     
  2. Ghosts in Latin
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    Ghosts in Latin Senior Member

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    I've done it before, and it does, in fact, help.
     
  3. St Saint
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    St Saint Member

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    I, er, read alot from Wikipedia, so I don't have this problem.. ehhh.
     
  4. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I doubt that it has anything to do with you reading Wikipedia.
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    It does help. I do it all the time (when I have a working computer grrrr)
     
  6. Skwerly
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    Skwerly Member

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    I'm with ya, but for a slightly different reason haha. I just get impatient too quickly. I'm a reader, bigtime, that is true, but when someone asks for a critique of their work, and it's like 40 pages long in a post, I just have to cringe LOL! Maybe I'm becoming a victim of the computer age, but I just don't have the patience anymore.

    But my reasoning goes even further. 8 of 10 times, the grammar and structure are horrible, and it actually hurts to read. *IF* I read the first few lines or paragraphs, and I find that the writing and the story are actually very good, I'll sometimes read on and give my UNexpert opinion on the piece. I simply cannot wade through misspellings and horrid grammar, only to try and extract what the story is about LOL! :)
     
  7. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer to work on the screen versus paper. If the piece is very long, however, I will be less likely to have the time to read it. If I have a day free, I'd rather it be electronic than paper.
     
  8. zingsho
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    zingsho Member

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    me too:p

    it's tiresome and I'm not use to it...i would just print out....
     
  9. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    For my reviews here, I prefer working on my computer screen because I fit my comments right in without having to resort to a series of arrows etc.- it's easier for me to follow, especially because I have tremendously awful handwriting. That said, I've gotten lost in blocks of texts while making comments before- so I'll probably try your suggestion out to see how it works for me.

    That said, when I finish a large section of my own work, the 2nd edit is always on a printed out copy- when the words are still on the screen I see them as being in flux, not yet set, and therefore I don't give the level of detail I need in my corrections. Printing it off gives a sense of permanency and also distance, and I find it easier to edit from a printed page than in the word processor- though the hieroglyphics still get in the way.

    As for the thread title- I often need a larger chunk of writing to get a feel for the story, characters, and flow of an author's style. Probably why I've avoided the short story section so far.
     
  10. Sato Ayako
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    Sato Ayako Contributing Member

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    I will, in general, not critique a piece that goes much over 1500-2000 words in Short Story, and won't go too far over 3000 in Novel. I have several reasons for this:

    1. Mistakes often repeat. I'll be reading through a piece and will see the same kinds of mistakes repeatedly. Why point them out so many times?

    2. Long pieces tend to be difficult to read. For one, I have weak eyes. They get very tired very easily. Two, the people who post long pieces are often the same people who forget to put spaces between their paragraphs. Three, I've noticed that many (at least fifty percent, say,) writers who post long excerpts tend to have lower quality writing. I'm not sure why this is.

    3. My style makes critiquing long pieces inconvenient. I do line-by-lines often with summary at end, which makes a great, thorough critique, but also makes a long one that hogs up the computer screen as well! At least one person has complained about that on this forum.

    4. Critiques take a long time! I don't know about you guys, but a critique of as little as 1000 words can take up to sixty minutes (depending on the amount and nature of issues pointed out) for me. A 3000-word critique can take up to two hours. When I'm being paid, I'm willing to spend this amount of time. When I'm doing it out of the kindness of my heart, sorry, but no, not so much.

    5. Writers who post long pieces can be rude if you don't go through the whole thing. For some reason, a handful of writers take it as an insult when you decide to stop critiquing. On another forum I used to frequent--it died, no wonder--someone posted a 5000-word monster in the fantasy section, which I decided to read because it was languishing there, looking so sad. I must have gone through at least 2000 words, but the author still flamed me for not going through the entire thing.

    I can't remember if this has happened to me here, but I'm am so, so, so sick of being flamed, I just don't bother. If you don't like me, the way I speak, my style of critiquing, etc., there's this wonderful function on most forums called IGNORE.

    6. Overall, it is rude to post long pieces on a forum. People here are donating their time. Don't eat all of it up. Now, if you have a private arrangement, are paying someone, or whatever, then yes, they need to read however much you agreed to send (I've been burned on this, too, can you tell?)

    How long is too long? That's difficult to say. 3000/3500 is probably pushing it. If you're an exceptionally good writer that always gets a lot of comments, maybe 4000. I've noticed that pieces ranging between 1500-2000 get quite a few comments. 1000 and under pieces get many more comments (sometimes several pages of them).

    You have to remember that the critiquers are not just here for you (general "you", here). They're here to improve their own skills by looking at how you've demonstrated yours. It's a give-take kind of thing.

    If you want to print out a long piece and critique it that way, that's your business. I just wonder how you can spare even that much in printing costs. Or maybe not everyone has trouble getting to reasonably priced materials.



    Okay, I'll shut up now.
     
  11. The Viendish One
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    The Viendish One Member

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    A long piece DOESN'T equal a long critique.
     
  12. Sato Ayako
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    Sato Ayako Contributing Member

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    Of course not, Viendish, but it can, depending on your style.
     
  13. litilraven
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    litilraven Member

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    I have been in other writing sites in the past (many years back). My biggest problem was also length vs real time to do it. I got flamed so much! It wasn't because I didn't finish the critique, but because I was blunt honest with my opinions.

    The guy was extremely angry because I told him he needed to re-work many sentences. If I have to stop and re-read a sentence 2+ times to figure out what the author is trying to convey, then it isn't written well. I'm not talking about large words that Mrs Webster has never heard of either, just punctuation, grammer, flow, storyline etc.

    From "my" point of view, if you ask for a critique, and someone gives one, just say thank you for your time. Take what you want from it, toss the rest, and move on.

    Most do not always see that a critique is a mixed bag of experience and knowledge, style, grammer, punctuation, dialogue, genre, imagry etc etc....it's ALL of it. Out of 100 people, you will probably get 100 different opinions.

    I personally have learned, that when I get a bad critique (and I will...not perfect), that it could be as simple as a conflict of opinion. However, it could be that I've really slaughtered this thing to heck! Maybe I should humble myself a little bit and go back over it with a fine tooth comb with what the person said lying in the back of my mind.

    It never hurts to get second and third opinions either, lol!!
     
  14. Killey
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    Killey Member

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    It doesnt especially bother me. Its just sometimes a matter of the time I have on my hands.
     
  15. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    I suppose if the writing is near flawless, but it stands to reason the longer the piece the longer the critique- for me a 2,000 word piece will probably take at least an hour to an hour and a half to review. 3,000 or more can take over two hours, and that can be a lot to ask of a reviewer.
     
  16. Sato Ayako
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    Sato Ayako Contributing Member

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    True. Unless, of course, you're one of those reviewers who just skims the piece and points out major flaws, often ignoring the multiple smaller flaws that add up to have just as much impact as the major flaws do. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this method. (In fact, in the long run, it's probably a good thing.) I'm just saying that's how a long piece might equal a short review.
     
  17. TereFaerie
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    TereFaerie Member

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    I find that if the piece doesn't immediately grab my attention, I am much more likely to slog through the first few paragraphs if I notice that the sample is not terribly long. If it does seem to go on and on (especially with long blocks of description or backstory and little to no dialogue that interests me), I'll likely just go on to the next submission.

    The best sign that you have written something interesting is if a small sample captivates reviewers, making them ask for more. So I think in this biz (i.e., the business of getting your writing reviewd), short and sweet is better for all involved.
     
  18. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    Sometimes i find it helps if the poster tells what they want. A simplified critique or a detailed. Why put an hours or so into a review if they just want to know if its good or not. The problem being if you put your work into their work you want to know if it was helpful or wanted in the first place.

    I discovered a grid helps somewhat in this, centers my mind into two sections. If they just want to get an opinion, then i read it for enjoyment, tell them how it feels, what it does or doesn't do. If its more detailed then I show possibly solutions or quote/unquote parts where it could be strengthened. Of course as a critiquer i have to realise that as they are asked to let go of their story for another's suggestion, i in turn must learn to let go of my opinions, learn from them at the same time. maybe what i see isn't what is there, this could be from me not reading it properly or seeing it as it is, blind from my own style of writing. I have to learn two ways. So i don't mind longer pieces but prefer to know, if it is a longer piece, whether the writer wants a detailed or simplified reply.
     
  19. bluejt2000
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    bluejt2000 Member

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    I'd like to echo TereFaerie's comments.

    It's lack of time that prevents me from reviewing, much as I'd like to and keep meaning to. If excerpts were shorter then I'm sure it would encourage more people to parcticpate.

    Besides, the errors I see are usually pretty generic - poor grammar, lack of clarity, too much information dumping, etc. - and two or three paragraphs are enough to highlight these errors.

    Unless the poster wants a critique of the plot - in which case a synopsis would be better - then I don't think there's need for long excerpts or whole chapters.

    John
     
  20. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    Doesn't bother me, I copy 100s of pages off the computer screen for projects every year. And prefer reading e-books to real ones.
     
  21. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    Very true. Short and sweet would make a lot of people happier in the way that they wouldn't have to read a motherlode of writing and then report on it to help that person have it corrected.

    But in a business like this, where there's stories with 300+ pages, and many of us trying to work toward making good, long chapter novels, we post them up and expect an equal, long critique telling us every little thing we have wrong. Time, unfortunately for most of us, prevents us from whipping out something of that kind of size in so little time. Work, school, children, family, etc. all play into our limited time.

    I love long critiques, and I don't care how long it takes. If someone splits apart my writing down to the wire, I'm happy. They're telling me directly what's wrong in their opinion, how to fix it perhaps, or just make a comment on how it's not in the right spot. I try to give people long, detailed critiques when I have the time, so hopefully the same curteousy will be extended to me.
     
  22. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    When it comes to critiquing something long, the method I use is quite simple--I'll critique the first page and then leave a note letting the writer know that if he/she likes my type of critiques then I'll come back and critique the rest of it later. I don't want to spend hours on a critique that is not going to be of any use to someone and have learned that's the best method in order to determine if a writer's style and my critique style is compatible.
     

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