1. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    How to improve the number of critiques you get?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Kallisto, Oct 6, 2016.

    This is more a thread for people like me who struggle with getting feedback. And it's not because I was mean when critiquing their work. I post mostly on open forums where people can critique and not critique as they choose. There's no obligation to "return the favor" when I critique their work. So this thread is to help authors who struggle gaining enough interest just to get feedback about whether or not their book is really good.

    A bit of good advise I already got was make sure it's as good of manuscript as possible before submission. Don't submit sloppy work and expect everyone else to wade through it. Understand that longer manuscripts are harder to have people dedicate to read.

    Are there other bits of advise you could give? And what makes you pass up a novel for critique? I know I pass up novels for critique for one reason: I can't help that author. Either they are so incompetent that I don't even know where to begin with feedback. Or, which has only happened once, the book is so good, I don't have anything to add with my current skill set. Sometimes I might pass it up because the author has basically rejected all criticism and fallen into name calling.

    ***Now, this is nothing against this board. You guys have done more for my novel than any other board I've ever been on. From patiently and painstakingly reading my overly wordy and unnecessary prologues, to my full of errors first drafts. You guys have always been there. So please don't reply with "Hey if you want, I can read your novel." Thank you, but that's not the point of this thread. :)***
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My advice is a two-parter and has to do with the same basic idea.

    Don't be argumentative

    Writing forums in general have tremendous overlap of membership, and people have a tendency to name themselves the same thing from one forum to the next. This ends with the distinct possibility that not only is it possible to garner a reputation as argumentative in one location, but also in other locations.
    • Bob ~ "Jesus, dude, did you see who just joined?"
    • Ted ~ "No. Who?"
    • Bob ~ "Fulano de Tal from over at thatotherforum.com"
    • Ted ~ "Ugh. Are you serious? This'll be fun. How long before the ban-hammer comes out, ya' think?"

    It happens. Seriously. No one wants to crit an argumentative person. If you don't agree with the advice, just politely ignore. It's so easy. Politely. Ignore. It costs you nothing. Literally nothing.

    It's not a sparing match

    This is like a level-up from the above advice. Every once in a blue moon someone posts their stuff and they treat the paradigm like a match. It's like they use the crit process to hone their skills in telling others just how wrong they are as regards how and what they read. It's almost the same as the above situation, but this person comes in ready to fend off would-be attackers. This kind of person needs to either chillthefuckout, or needs to mature a good deal before they are ready to have their work engaged by the buying public.
     
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  3. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    In addition to the wise words of wreybies above i'd add

    a) don't post a wall of text - use line breaks, paragraphs etc to make your work readable

    b) don't post a wall of text (pt2) post an excerpt , don't post the whole damn story - I'm always happy to give crit on a short piece , but i'm not going to devote my whole day to critiquing a 5000 word monstrosity

    c) if you post one piece for critique - and everyone uniformly tells you that its full of over descriptive waffle, wooden dialogiue and sentences that make no sense , don't then post another three pieces that have all the same flaws, and expect people to waste their time critiquing them

    d) don't post for crit if you only want smoke blown up your arse about how great your work is... you might be mummies special little soldier when you post on facebook, but on writers forums people are going to tell it like it is , so if you post for crit don't get butthurt when people give it
     
  4. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Given that I haven't done many (one?) critique since my heyday two years ago, this might not mean much. But typically, I always tended to critique workshop entries that didn't have many, if any, comments yet. Mostly because I don't want to just rehash things that have already been said.

    One of the other important factors for me, and I'd wager for many, is word count. I just don't have time to read and critique something that's 3000+ words effectively. And I like to give detailed critique. Lower word count tends to get more responses simply because it's less of a time investment on the part of the critiquer.

    Other than that, I typically just pick something that I know I can comment on from a glance--if it's something that is heavily experimental I'll likely pass, because I doubt I'd be able to help as much as I could on something more traditional. I'll often pass if the writing seems good enough without my input already. I'll definitely pass if it looks like a first draft with no polishing (coupled with the starting comment, "Here's something I just threw together...lemme know what you think kthxbai").

    All that being said, as someone who rarely ever posts something for critique, I don't really know what the special sauce is. I just know how I weed stuff out to comment on. Which reminds me, I should really get back into critiquing. And writing.
     
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  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, yep, yep.

    Yep. Everyone here is here voluntarily. No one gets paid. No one. It's not a job. And what Moosie mentions is a part of that dynamic. A forum environment cannot be all things to all people. It just cannot. Make use of it in the way for which it is best suited. Shorter items. We have areas for asking for beta-reads of complete works and longer stuff, but don't be heartbroken when you realize that the majority of people who come to such a location as ours did not come here with the idea of reading whole manuscripts in mind.

    That's not even asking for crit anymore. That's asking for editing services. You're not learning a thing if this is how you engage the process.
     
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  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    1. Keep the piece short.
    2. maybe have a goal for what you want critiqued - i.e. ask the critiquers for specifics
    3. keep the title jazzy - rather than just give the book title maybe give us an idea about the piece - buzz words help too - nosybodies will snap to the click bait of controversial, steamy, violent etc. and maybe stick around to read and critique the piece.
    4. Always thank your critiquers
    5. Please don't tell us how terrible it is or how it sucks or that you threw it together while drunk one night.
    6. Don't get too defensive when critiques roll in ... discuss yes, defend no.
    7. Keep a general buzz going about your project. On this and other sites I've mentioned my projects in passing and got people critiqueing them because they thought the projects sounded interesting to read.
     
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