1. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do you avoid falling into 'critique mode'

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by DefinitelyMaybe, Jun 9, 2013.

    How do you avoid falling into 'critique mode'. I find that when reading a piece to critique it, I'm not reading as I would when I read for enjoyment, but am looking for problems. The trap I tend to fall in to is looking too hard for errors, and I tend to find them even when they don't necessarily exist. For example, if there are two ways to solve a problem X and Y, then if I recognise X, then I risk suggesting Y because it's a critique and I'm looking for things to notice and comment on.

    Does anyone have a similar problem? Are there strategies that can be used to avoid this?
     
  2. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    It's not a problem. It's just you realizing that there are problems with what you're reading. And, for me, it's not hard to enjoy something while critiquing it if there are any merits to the piece(By merits I mean, originality,dialogue,etc.).
     
  3. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the problem has happened. I've had people post critiques that contradicted mine. And sometimes when I thought about the original text and the two critiques, I've decided that they were right, and I was wrong.
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Was this a critique on your own work or someone elses and were they critiquing content or more grammatical errors?
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Critiquing" doesn't mean pointing out errors or things that you find wrong. There isn't necessarily anything wrong. Or sometimes, there isn't anything wrong that you can see. It can also mean pointing out what you liked. It's perfectly acceptable to say "This is great! I loved the story, the flow, the characters. I can't think of anything to change and I'd really like to read more."

    You can say you especially liked some piece of dialogue or some line of narrative.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't have this problem. Yes, I will notice glaringly poor narrative, etc, but I usually read for the pleasure of the content the first time through. Then I switch into 4WD and slog through it a second tme in critique gear.
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't really ever switch off - it's like critique mode is on stand-by, but it's running in the background, not really off. It means it takes me a while to get into a book nowadays *sigh*
     
  8. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was a critique of someone else's work. I didn't like the first line. Others did. On reconsidering, I did as well.
     
  9. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Everyone's got the right idea.
    Sometimes you get too focused into seeing the faults you forget to notice the good stuff. I try to
    always point out where they're hitting it. I used to critique before I read but that lead to a lot of problems -
    once after four pages of grueling ( kidding! ) critique, I discovered it had a surprise ending which made
    all my critique pointless. From then on I read first and then critiqued. Also, I try not to influence changes
    based on my own personal preference, rather than strengthening the story.
     
  10. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Try to get through the story in "reader mode." If you can't, it probably means the writing had some serious issues, which you should go ahead and point out then and there. This is trying to make the story readable.
    If you can get through the story as a reader, go back and read a second time as a critiquer, pointing out things that could be changed to improve the story. This is trying to make the story better.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Critique mode isn't all pry bars and sledgehammers. Critique mode is also where I see and appreciate the artistry with which an author has constructed a scene, or a character, or a dialogue exchange.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My take on it is not to avoid, but allow it. And then also allow yourself to re-read the item in copy-edit mode and then also in reader mode. That last pass in reader mode will be your check and balance regarding your initial critique mode if you find it hard to avoid that mode as your initial one. What at first stood out as an issue may well prove not to be once the corpus has been reviewed. This will also give your critique layers for the writer to consider.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I tend to read through the first time in 'reader mode,' as well. Then I'll go back through it in 'critique mode.' I think it is important to be able to do both. If you can only ever read in 'critique mode' I think it can harm your feedback as well as your own ability to put together a story.
     
  14. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Reading through once in 'reader mode' is very helpful. Previously I was going straight in with the critique. Even though I can't (yet?) fully disengage critique mode, just trying to 'read it' first seems to help me understand the story before then trying to analyse the story and the telling of the story. It doesn't really take more time, as reading takes a lot less time than a critique, and the extra time spent reading the story is paid back with an easier (and I hope better) critique.
     

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