1. akexodia
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    akexodia Member

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    Judging Thyself: HOW??

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by akexodia, Jan 27, 2012.

    How do you judge yourself? (i mean writing point of view)

    To make it a little less obscure, How do you come to know your own quality when it comes to writing?
    Whenever one writes a story/novel/poetry he/she has some opinion about his/her work. 'Wow! I dont believe I wrote this.' or 'Crap! I suck at writing.' While, on the other hand, a person reading his/her work may think completely opposite.
    Getting critiqued by some reliable source is one way. But it is a little vague. Different people different opinions.

    And another question, what do you feel about your work when after completion you read it yourself?
     
  2. Balmarog
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    Balmarog Member

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    I always feel that my writing is about on level with that of a third grader. When my friends read it and say it's good, I assume they're either just trying to be nice, or have the tastes of a third grader.
    I'm pretty hard on myself.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I'm hard on myself, too. I look at my writing and think half of it is...well...picture a covered wagon from the 1880s stuck in the mud. I mean really, really stuck in the mud to the point that everyone out pushing it are just about fixing to abandon it all together.

    That's the image that appears in my mind when I write. In my head, it's like I'm seeing this play out on a movie screen.
     
  4. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Don't ask me. I am one of the toughest critics of my work writing, musically or otherwise. I'm much more lenient on others, but I expect much of myself. I remember in college winning scholarships after scholarships for my vocal capabilities, I never pursued a music carreer because I didn't have the confidence that I was good enough. I was super critical of myself and my abilities in spite of everything that was told to me.

    Oddly enough, people I would say "you are awesome" to that would respond by shrugging it off and saying "no I'm not" I always thought they were simply trying to get me to shower praise on them. I'm not sure why I was like this. I wasn't seeking praise. I seriously did not believe those who found my voice pleasing to the ear because *I* did not like what I heard. It's a strange dichotomy. I find my mistakes when no one else does. I'm hyper critical and thus can not give an honest interpretation of what my skills are.
     
  5. Berber
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    Berber Active Member

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    I've found that attending workshops with writerly individuals is a great way to discover my true strengths and weaknesses in the eyes of my readers. I don't trust my own opinion of my work - often the sections I enjoy the most seem to be the least appealing in workshops and the pieces I feel are disorganized or subpar strike the highest chord. It's baffling and frustrating, but I'm still learning. I also don't trust the opinions of friends and family, as they either have very little experience giving constructive feedback on creative work, or they think I just want to hear positive things about my work whether it's deserved or not.

    If I'm feeling particularly good about a piece, I will attend as many workshops as possible with it, as well as pass it along to some of my writing professors and impartial classmates. I can usually get a pretty good tell off of those sources as to whether or not the work was a success.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Berber has the right idea. I was never sure whether I was any good (though I thought I was!) until I took a few online courses from Gotham Writers' Workshop. The students and faculty are serious, and the criticism they give is fair. I got a lot of praise from them for my style and I appreciated that a great deal. The aspects of my writing they criticized most were mostly related to pacing; I tend to start stories more slowly than I should because I like to establish a mood. I wind up having to trim my first two or three pages quite a bit to tighten up the beginning and get to the action more quickly.

    So, to the OP, I'd recommend taking a course. I think the online Gotham courses are good and well worth the money. You'll get the feedback you need, and you will become much more confident of your ability to judge your own work as a result.
     
  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I don't think you can ever truly judge your own quality. You can only do the best you can. To use a Star Trek quote (misread naturally) by Zefram Cochrane - inventer of the warp drive: Don't try to be a great man, just be a man and let history make its own judgments. The same holds I think for writing and writers.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    By practicing critique. The more you critique, the more readily you cqan spot weaknesses, even in your own writing. Instead of vague quality statements, like "This sucks" ior "This is pure gold," you learn to identify specific weaknesses and strengths, and will have a concrete plan for improving the weak points.
     
  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^
    Agree.

    When I first started writing again, I had no idea if it was really any good or if I was wasting my time. Through writing more and critiquing, I learned and got more comfortable in the 'writer's skin" again. Now, I'd say when I complete a story I'm happy with it; some parts I'm extremely proud of, others are adequate for the job. There's nothing I'd want to change other than me just being nitpicky.
     
  10. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I have no idea LOL.

    I'd like to think of myself as a writer possessing slightly above average skill in the craft, but at the same time I think everyone writes better than I do. I consider most of my work good, but not good enough to share with other people/have critiqued. It's strange but the moment I've semi-committed myself to sharing something I've written is when I magically find 938938449 new things "wrong" about the piece that I hadn't even noticed before. I've trashed a lot of my writing throughout the years because of this.

    I'm not hard on anyone else. I can be a little meticulous when it comes to SPaG in another person's writing, but I would never ever insult them/their writing in any way or say anything that wasn't nice or constructive. Most of the time I can easily point out the good in another person's work.

    When it comes to my own work, I hold myself to a higher standard. I rip my writing to shreds. I've deleted weeks and months worth of work before because of my own dissatisfaction. I think it comes from my belief that I should be able to produce something that isn't complete and total trash.

    Also, aside from the fear of getting horrible feedback from critiques, I'm ALSO afraid of getting really good raves. If someone says something REALLY good, then I suddenly feel even more pressure to "keep up" the good work for my next pieces. I also feel awkward and embarrassed.



    Yeahhh, I'm crazy.
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Oh my God, I thought I was the only one who did that! If the story wasn't as perfect as I would've liked, I booted it to the recycle bin.

    'Course, I'm getting better at it, now. All I do is just store it in a folder located somewhere hidden away so it's not in my face 24/7.
     
  12. Miss Jo
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    Miss Jo Member

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    I judge my writing as I'm writing it.
    I either know it's good for me and it's something I would share with others, or I"m not crazy about it and I save it and lock it away. I'm a hoarder when it comes to what I've written and I revisit things. Based on the things I've learned in the interim, sometimes I delete a file and some times I add a few lines and refresh something I thought was dead.
    I think you will always be your biggest critic and your greatest defender. If you can master editing skills, then content is just anyone's opinion and you just need to get your manuscript in the right hands.
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I look at great writers and see how they communicate their ideas. I then look over my own writing and judge whether or not I'm communicating my ideas as efficiently and eloquently.
     
  14. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    With writing, just like with photography, painting and any other art - some artists are better at realistically judging their work, and are in fact their own worst critics, and some will adore every single thing that comes out of their pen (camera, brush, keyboard).
    In my experience, it is the beginners who tend to have low standards and are in awe of everything they do. I was totally bawled over the first time I took a sharp picture with my camera, forward it to 5 years in the future, what was "awesome" then is not even acceptable now.
    The more experienced you are, the better you should be at judging your own work. Ok, with the writing it is very useful to get the feedback about grammar, spelling, pacing etc but it's always a good idea to keep in mind that 9 out of 10 random critiques will be utterly useless, so you are better off scrutinising your own work, at least some of the time.

    With useless critiques, I noticed that some people don't even read carefully; they'll easily miss the point or the context because they are in a hurry to blurt out their criticisms. This can get extremely frustrating because the artist will have to read something negative about their work, whilst at the same time feel compelled to reject it because it doesn't make any sense. Because we are all worried about being unrealistic, this kind of thing can nags at us without actually helping at all.

    Like taking a long exposure photo, where the moving object is deliberately blurred to give a sense of movement. How many times I saw people come along, completely fail to appreciate what the photographer's intentions were, probably because they are so inexperienced that they never even saw a long exposure picture before (or they didn't look at exif data or whatever). But it doesn't stop them from very decidedly criticising that photographer's "ability" to properly focus the camera. Completely useless but also quite unpleasant.

    I think it's best to read a lot and compare the quality of your own writing to that of your favourite writers, and to become your own critic. And in time, to find someone who will volunteer their time and effort to actually help you, without missing the wood for the trees, just because they like the sound of their voice.
     

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