1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    I would write something for critique but...

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by waitingforzion, Aug 24, 2016.

    I have a hard time figuring out what is wrong with someone's story. I mean I might dislike a story for some reason but I won't know from a writer's perspective what is wrong with it. So I cannot critique others enough to post my own work.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I don't know about others, but when I post I'm looking for a reader's perspective. And I don't expect them to tell me how to fix it--it's fine if they do, but it's equally fine if they don't.

    "I don't like Character X. She seems cold." is more valuable to me than someone picking apart grammar, syntax etc.

    Having said that, when I was new and uncomfortable with critique, I would often ONLY focus on the spelling and grammar. It's the only thing I felt confident enough to critique, and I think it was useful to some writers.

    There's no right or wrong way to critique, despite people having personal preferences.

    Practice on my workshop entry if you like: http://www.writingforums.org/threads/cross-my-heart-chapter-1-1790-words.144217/page-2#post-1428084 That novel is finished so it won't impact me if you give "bad" critique, and I don't get offended either.
     
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  3. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Some easy things you can do to start critiquing:
    If the piece gives a description of something -- Did you get a clear picture in your head of what or who was described?
    Did you need to reread a sentence or paragraph more than once because of something you didn't understand? Or the flow was screwed up and made you stumble.
    If there was dialogue -- Were you able to follow along with which character was saying what in areas where it isn't specified?
    Did a particular word seem overused or out of place?
    Does the dialogue seem natural to you?
    If someone describes some real world thing (and I hate to use the generic thing here) are they saying something that is blatantly wrong? -- To give an example: I have an extensive knowledge in the areas of medicine. When an author describes something medical, I can usually spot something that is clearly wrong. (I have a tough time watching any hospital dramas) Most people have detailed knowledge on some topic.
    Are there certain words you don't understand? (Throw away any pride.) If you come across some unusual word and the context didn't help you understand it, let the author know. I think most people have certain words that they occasionally use without realizing it's not common. I don't mind if I toss something in that may require a reader to look up a definition, but it might be helpful for me to know that I'm using something in a way that would cause a reader to stumble.

    ETA: Even if you have nothing negative to say, a simple "I thought it was interesting and nothing stood out that I could complain about." is nice to see -- or just hit the like button.

    Oh ... and thank you. I've been racking my brain for the past week for a blog topic and I think you just gave me an idea.

    So maybe by the end of the today, I will have a more extensive article on this subject. (Shameless self-promotion for my blog. ;))
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
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  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    If that's the conclusion you've come to (and it's an erroneous conclusion, btw) it's never going to change until you start giving it a go.

    Like learning to drive....

    You'll have no idea of how to drive a stick-shift car by remaining outside of it, on the sidewalk. You can peek in the window, see the pedals and the gear shift, and lordie with all those pedals and the shifter how do I even have enough hands to deal with the steering wheel... You have to get in, buckle your seatbelt, and practice. There's no other way. You can read all the "how to" books you like, and maybe later they will do you some good, but learning to drive is experiential. You have to do it; you can't just read about it.

    And critiquing the work of others is much easier than honestly critiquing our own because when it doesn't belong to us, there's dispassion. To stretch the "learning to drive" simile, which do you think would be easier for you, learning to drive your brand-new, beautiful little BMW, or the car that I give you and tell you "Don't worry if you scratch it up a bit. That's what it's for."?
     
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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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    And from a different discussion on the very same topic.... (hope you don't mind that I quote you, @Tenderiser)
     
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