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  1. KickMe
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    KickMe New Member

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    I am so bad at this

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by KickMe, Apr 2, 2008.

    I just don't have a clue. I've looked round the site and seen a lot of stuff. Trouble is, I can't review.

    When somebody's writing something they're not writing it for me. Who the heck am I to say what's good? I don't actually know anything about good writing. Whether I am a good writer or not, I still wouldn't know it.

    Or I could go the other ways and pick technical holes in some 13 year old's soul-opus and put them off forever. Sometimes it seems like senselessly trolling would be the only thing I'm good at. Not that I'd have a higher vantage or anything. If I'm really terrible, I can say good writers are pretentious. If I'm really good, I can say bad writers are bad writers, but it's all nonsense. Complete nonsense.

    I just read John Fante's Ask the Dust. I can't work out if it's a god-awful piece of self-indulgent ignorance or a masterpiece of concept work. But really it doesn't matter. It felt awful to read and I'm annoyed. If I wanted to read bad writing, I'd look for bad writers, I wouldn't need a really excellent writer to create the illusion for me.

    Anyway. Sorry for the rant but I haven't slept well in two days and I'm completely stumped. I don't have writer's block. I just throw out anything and it cures it. Writing is better than not. But this, this is too weird. What am I doing here?

    Also, I always arrive two posts too late and everything's been said. :rolleyes:
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You can always start by saying what you like most about the work, then nention a couple of things that didn't work for you. Then put some thought into why those things don't work for you. If you can suggest an alternative, great! If not, there's no shame in saying youaren't sure why it stumbles for you. Maybe someone else will come along and expand on your observations.

    The whole point is that it's a learning process. Everything you can consistently pick out and identify is one mistake you are less likely to leave in your own writing.
     
  3. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    It's not always about being a good writer or not that can help you achieve a good review. Like Cogito said, you have to tell the writer your opinion, i.e. what issues do you have with the writing and why.
    Moreover, if you find any words or description which is too difficult for you, or the concept of the story is slipping past your mind, you can always let the reader know. another thread which has some amount of discussion on this kind of dilemma is right here:
    http://writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=5641
     
  4. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Hey KickMe, take a breath, man. Inhale and then let it out really slow and feel. Just...feel. Life's too short and the universe is too big to worry about such things. Your word is as good as anyone else's. True, it might be different, but it's still yours. On getting annoyed...it's not worth it. Just creates stress. Take a breath and write what you feel.;)
     
  5. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that everyone's critique is merely an opinion, but the biggest thing to remember is that the site is for pulling together many thoughts to help influence the writer to become better. I've gotten bad reviews before and personally, they're my favorite kind of review because I can take the bad, and make it better the way I want to. :) No one's good at reviewing, they're just good at giving their opinion.
     
  6. KickMe
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    KickMe New Member

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    It feels awful!

    The thing is, I know it's all opinion, and I also know that everybody's on this forum to be picked to pieces until they've got it right. Personally, I'd rather somebody said "absolute rubbish!" to me than not, if it was.

    My writing is automatic. The closest I've ever come to a writer's block is brief option anxiety. But this has me stumped. I wonder if anybody wouldn't mind posting me something to review then reviewing my review? Does that sound stupid?

    Thanks for all the advice

    Karl :)
     
  7. Oasis Writer
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    Oasis Writer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm sure, however, you'd like to hear "Absolute rubbish!" and "Because" though :) lol
     
  8. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is a difficult process trying to review successfully. My feelings are that you should always try to find something to compliment the author about, be it style, structure, aesthetics, theme, imagery, originality, intent, delivery, technique, credibility, lexis etc. This helps to not put the reviewee off sharing their work in the future should they be sensitive about reviews / critiques.

    I like to create what has been affectionately termed the sh*t sandwich, start positively and conclude positively and concentrate any suggested improvement in the middle. I tend to pick the three main points I would like to constructively focus on and offer reasons for why those aspects don't work for me or in general. Any suggestion for improvement if phrased well should be taken well. "you may find it useful to explore the following ..." for example.

    Should you wish to look over any of the pieces I have posted online or by PM I would be happy to critique your critique. Remember though, to my knoweldge at least, none of us perfect or an expert and can all learn from one another - and that's why I think the majority of us are here. Happy critting.
     

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