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  1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Frustrated with Review

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by live2write, Mar 9, 2013.

    I am frustrated right now to the point where I feel like I should give up on writing. I just had my first chapter reviewed and the responses I have been receiving were:

    "Your first chapter needs to be the setting. Your jumping too soon into the scenario that I do not know where you are. All I can tell is that your character is a drug addict and everybody has nightmares."

    "Where is the character? I can see it starts at her house and it overlooks the city but where is the time period and why don't the characters know how the old earth collapsed? Why is there very little evidence of this?"

    and my favorite one.

    "Just reveal in the beginning what the character is so we know how she got there."

    I understand that without posting my first draft of the chapter that you will not know what is going on.

    However in the past when introducing the setting I have received comments that overall recommended that I introduce the setting piece by piece rather than all at once.

    This is making me frustrated because no matter how I write it the same people reviewing it change their minds.

    I also the last comment stated "Go back to college!"
     
  2. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    There's a part in the movie 'Memento' where the main character loses his memory mid-chase and doesn't remember if he is chasing or being chased. Judging by the bullets, he figures out someone is chasing him.

    I enjoy a little mystery in the beginning of stories. Like 'Ooh, who is this and why are they naked?'

    I also like them to start with action. Having an entire chapter of 'setting', especially the first chapter, sounds like a bore to me. I need the first chapter to grab me. You can start laying things out later on, but right now, I want a small payoff up front. ;)

    I hope you didn't get those reviews here, L2W!

    Cheers.

    ~ J. J.
     
  3. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Since I am thinking about rewriting my first chapter I might as well post it as a review to get opinions. These were the opinions I received from readers and writers in my life. Overall they say I have a great idea, just execution is very poor and boring. This was after they saw the first three drafts.
     
  4. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Do you know the difference between an active and action opening? There are a distinct difference. Action openings are just that...they start with action. Active are not devoid of actions, but present a problem, or something in the MC's life that makes a reader want to read on to find the resolution to the problem.
     
  5. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I did post the third draft of the chapter in for review. I have to admit I am not a literature major and I admit I am not 100% great with writing. However I did set a goal for myself that I do want to write a book by the end of the year. I do want to get this published but for now I am writing for myself to improve in myself in writing and storytelling.
     
  6. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    well hang in there, no one said its going to be easy and sometimes being stubborn is a good thing.
     
  7. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Take critics with a grain of salt. They're not always right. Do what you think is best, and don't give up writing.
     
  8. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Let me show you 2 pictures

    This is me drawing faces a couple years ago (shudder)

    529791_545558778817190_1325353477_n.jpg

    This is me drawing faces now

    734010_544551922251209_1303414604_n.jpg

    With practice comes skill is all that you need to know. Yea you might be unsatisfied with your work, yea some people may be scathing when they criticize, but if you give up now you're gonna be even madder because you didn't prove them wrong

    So keep practicing until you make them shut up
     
  9. Red Rain
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    Red Rain Member

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    Don't give up!

    The difference between good writers and bad writers has little to do with skill. It has to do with perseverance.

    J.K. Rowling was on welfare before she had any success with Harry Potter.

    Oprah Winfrey was told she was unfit for T.V.

    Oliver Stone dropped out of school

    Steven spielberg got rejected from film school three times

    Stephen King got rejected for Carrie thirty times

    It's easy to quit, much harder to see it through.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/15-people-who-failed-before-becoming-famous-2012-10?op=1

    http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/


    Red Rain
     
  10. molark
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    molark Member

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    It is night and I have been reduced to smoking roaches. After so many days I have returned to my story and have written three new paragraphs of the scene that was in my mind. I will make it to my 500 daily word quota so back on the writing wagon again. It is very easy for critiques to fill your mind with negative thoughts and unhinge the wheels. I listen to Teaching Company tapes of Russian, British and now American literature. These lectures are great and bring me back into the familiar academic world that I loved. They help place the wheels back on. Getting use to these public critiques is difficult and can easily move you off your track. (Thank you for being so mean!) It's why I wrote that bitter poem. But I rebounded with a lovely poem. Full of bitterness, I must realize I am full of creativity too and I's got to keep that daily 500 word quota going. Telling another writer that she must keep writing sucks. I do it all the time but we inevitably die on our own. I will however read her work and support her. Yes, perseverance. Go on into that cold night.
     
  11. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Not always. If they're saying the same things consistently, then you probably have an issue. While you're right to not want to dwell on it, it'd be wrong to ignore it completely-at least until you've got an established name.
     
  12. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Well, don't give up :)

    Giving up is not going to get you nowhere...you'll stay in the same place for ever. But if you keep going and going, even if people beat you down (they probably don't mean to, but it happens) You will succeed.

    My story I'm currently working on got...spat on lol when someone reviewed it. Yes, I was upset . And my mind was racing asking: Why?
    But then realised practice makes perfect and one day I'd surely know why they thought those things about my writing. For, now I just keep going.

    I hope that helped, please don't feel too down :)
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can ignore this kind of personal comment. It's a snarky personal remark that doesn't belong on this site.
     
  14. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    My 2 cents worth:
    When you offer a snippet of your story for review you should take the comments made in that thread in that context. I've just put a section of my own novel up for review and though I am very grateful for the comments and effort expended so far, a lot of them were entirely because they didn't have access to the whole story.

    You should also feel free to discard a comment. Providing you have read it, considered it carefully and made the concious decision to discard the comment, it was not a wasted effort on the part of the commenter. Don't just dismiss a comment because it's not what you want to hear...that's bad.

    If you want a private opinion on your work, feel free to PM me with excerpts and I'll give you my honest objective (as much as it's possible to be objective anyway) opinion. :)
     
  15. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is the most frustrating aspect of dealing with reviews -- the conflicting pieces of advice. Yes, you should seriously consider each one, but in the end, if the advice doesn't resonate with you, you should not take it. Also, there's a difference in pieces of critique -- "start with the setting" is not really that helpful (and in my opinion, in many cases, would be wrong). Whereas, "I didn't understand who was talking here" is something very helpful and valid and tells you the problem that needs to be fixed.

    It's almost impossible not to ruminate on these sorts of things for a few days, though. But try to shake it off and start fresh. Take the pieces of specific advice and think about whether you agree. Hang in there.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The advice itself is not that important. Understanding the thought process behind each recommendation is. Then you have a good basis for making your own decision.

    That's why giving critique is so important. It gives you a deeper insight into those thought processes.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    about reviews...

    consider the source... are all who commented on your work professional editors, or literary agents?... or are they mostly aspiring authors like yourself, who are still on the learning path?

    if you had come up with a new appoach to mathematics or one of the sciences, would you put stock in the opinions and advice of high school students?... or would you only take seriously the opinions of well-established mathematicians and scientists in the relevant field?

    before you feel badly about what another writing site member may say about your work, take a good look at their writings and find out what their level of experience and expertise is, in the writing/publishing world...

    all well-meant advice does not need to be taken... and shouldn't be... even experts will disagree, so keep that in mind when reading reviews of your writing...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  18. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    If one only asks editors and publishers for literary agents, one will be blind as a bat until the work is published(if it actually gets published).
    Editors and agents aren't the ones you primarily want to enjoy the book, readers are. And readers come from all professions and paths of life. Only after getting reviews from many people with different backgrounds can they help you with your work. If you were to write a book titled "Mathematicians are the best" and asked mathematicians for reviews, you would get mostly positive ones even if the book was as badly written as twilight or an Amanda McKittrick novel.
     
  19. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Oh no, I agree. You should take what critics have into consideration, but don't let it get you down, and don't take their word as the be all end all.
     
  20. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @maia: This made me chuckle :) I think comparing highly technical knowledge that 99.9% of ordinary lay people have absolutely no idea about and can't even read (maths, complex formulae etc), doesn't quite equate with reading which hopefully every person who is not iliterate can easily comprehend and do. What I am trying to say, you are comparing the incomparable.

    A word about pro editors and agents, they are great, of course, but most of us here don't have the money for those and besides, we are all trying to make our manuscript as great as we can before we even show it to pros, so we should all learn how to edit (critique) ourselves.

    I don't mean to offend you but I think it is reasonable to point out, since it happens all the time - I find your frequent put-downs (re critiques) of anyone other than professional editors (one of whom you claim yourself to be when you are offering your free services on the forum) somewhat distasteful. Perhaps you should wind it back a little because this way, you are coming across as having conflict of interest.
    Just my opinion.

    @OP: I was interested enough to go and read your excerpt and I liked quite a bit about it. I also think I see why you didn't quite grab your readers, but some re-organising of the material would go a long way I think. In any case, if you read between the lines, you'll get a lot of useful info from the feedback on this site :)
     
  21. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to agree here to a point depending on the genre. There's no point looking for a review to an sf&f story from someone who only reads crime thrillers ... It's like asking a vegitarian "How do you like your steak?" He/she doesn't, so won't eat it so my message is, give your piece to someone who is actually into that genre.

    It is very easy to get downhearted when someone sticks the knife in. I had 6 chapters, 25,000 words, gave it to 3 people and noone came back and said anything. The silence really did deafen me. So much so I buried it in my recycle bin but gladly now, I didn't empty that bin. To prove those 3 people wrong I've wiped off the spag bol and fish heads, completely rewrote it and have added a further 25,000 words. Next time those people see it will be in hardback copy and signed with love from me.
     
  22. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Just to clarify to everybody. When receiving the comments and critiques that was in this OP, the comments made were not from the contributors or members from this forum. These were reviews and critiques from talking to friends and people that I know personally outside of this forum.

    Also as an observation that there are members of this community who submit work friends, family, professors etc. for critique and review.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I don't know how far along your story is, but for my own, my first chapter had all the typical problems and I struggled for a while with it before taking a different approach. I'm 3/4 way through the story and plan to write the first chapter last.

    I stopped trying to put all the right elements in that most important opening. It will be more clear when the story is fully developed.

    Other decisions became easier as well, such as how to put in some of the backstory. I've written whole backstory chapters without worrying about how I would work them into the final draft. I decided how I would fit them in about halfway through the story.

    The obvious solution for me was to not write the hardest part first.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm only referring to taking all the technical advice offered by other beginning writers in re how to 'fix' your writings, xatron, not referring to those 'readers' who offer their opinion on how good [or not] a read it may be...

    discerning readers' feedback is always helpful and i wouldn't begin to suggest it's not... but the advice on how to word things, or how to deal with dialog and on other such technical aspects of the writer's art that's given by other beginners too often isn't totally relevant and can sometimes actually be harmful, if taken as 'gospel'...

    certainly some do give good, useful advice and tips, but when putting their work up for review on a writing site, folks must, as i said, not take everything that's offered as equally valid... isn't that just common sense?...

    your courteous response and politely delivered dissension is much appreciated... hugs, m
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I've been in a writers critique group for a year now. I've seen great stuff and awful stuff and more than a few people who only stayed one day in the group when their writing was criticized.

    I knew right away the criticisms of my stuff were correct. The things they said made perfect sense. At the same time, there have been group members whose critiques of my stuff were useless at best and horrible at worst. I don't let it bother me.

    The good feedback I've gotten has gone from, "show, don't tell", a year ago, to last week when I was challenged to really understand what my characters were thinking/feeling/trying to do.

    I go to the group with a chapter I'm really happy with now, but I wouldn't learn anything if all they said was, this is fine. So when the challenges are made, I take them to heart, I don't take them as disheartening. There are things one can critique about good writing and bad.

    Not sure if telling you this is helpful or not, but I said it anyway. :)
     
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