1. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Newbie giving a constructive critique ?

    Discussion in 'Support & Feedback' started by Hwaigon, Dec 7, 2012.

    Hello, I'm new to the forum and was initially very happy to finally have found some place where I could
    post my stuff and get feedback, which is what I've been lacking over the last two years at university, 'cos
    the only native who did the job, left. I hear I have to post two constructive critiques in order to post
    one piece of my own writing. To be sincere - and I know this is English-based forum and that it might not
    be looked at - how do you feel when a newbie gives, beg your pardon for the quotation marks, "constructive
    critique" ? I just have to wonder. And I really AM serious about English and writing as such, so I guess I simply
    have to go through the process and get ready for the what-the-hell-were-you-thinking remarks. Anyway, constractive
    critique is required, so get ready for my serious attempts.
    Or should I go through the "outskirts" of this forum (read a lot everything posted around here) and know my way around before actually giving the critique ?
    What do you think ?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Webster
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    Webster Senior Member

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    Being a newcomer, you might have an advantage, as far as having a fresh pair eyes goes. Just say what you see, as Roy Walker was fond of saying.
     
  3. Pauly Pen Feathers
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    Pauly Pen Feathers Member

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    I'm also new and quite uncomfortable about critiquing someone's work. But as you stated, it is required if we want to participate in the workshops; I do, so I will. I just hope not to run into a seasoned English Professor with a bad temper and make an utter fool of myself. By the way, don’t forget you must also wait 14 days from the time of your signup to post in the workshops. There’s been a Posting Etiquette, Basic Critic Guide in the Newbie section; unfortunately the links are currently broken. I have alerted the webmaster about it.
     
  4. Webster
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    Webster Senior Member

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    Don't worry about some idiot professor. Try to piss him/her off as much as possible.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You really dont' have to worry, because constructive criticism doesn't mean that you write "here's what you did wrong and this is what you should do to fix it." Your impressions simply as a reader have value in themselves. You can say things like, "I really liked the character Joe -- he comes across as likable and I related to him right away," or "I didn't understand why Sally did X -- it didn't make sense to me." or "I was confused when Mary said X to Joe." You can even say things along the lines of that the conversation seemed forced to you, or you found it hard to picture the setting because conflicting descriptions were given. You can say you thought it ended abruptly, or you can say you really enjoyed reading the whole thing.

    As in real life, when giving criticism, if you're focusing on yourself as the interpreter -- explaining where you were confused or where you felt or didn't feel a connection, or pointing out where you got distracted from the story, your thoughts are much more likely to be accepted. When receiving criticism, you also have to look at it with a grain of salt. If one person was confused in a scene, you should go back and re-read it to see if you can figure out why that person got confused. Maybe you can make something more clear, even though most people 'got it,' there may be a sizable minority who didn't and just adding a sentence or two can prevent that. If many people are confused at the scene, you definitely need to go back and figure out what is causing the confusion.
     
  6. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Yes, I've found the review room rules and went through them and finally found out why there's no "start new thread" button :D
     
  7. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Thanks for shedding more light into the issue :) If this is one of the tenets of criticue - I can deffinitely make it.
    As I now think of it, I had this textual - formal part in mind more related to use of grammar, vocabulary and so on,
    but it surely goes all together.

    I needed some kind of challenge in terms of language development growth (English is not my mother tongue); are
    there any people here whose mother tongue is not English and still they write reasonably ? Obviously, writing in
    a foreign language is very demanding, as I've found out, but it's incredibly stimulating and attractive to me.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you can give your reviews/critiques from the pov of a reader, since you can't do it well on the technical aspects of english grammar...

    see my responses to your other posts on this subject...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The important thing is to try. That is how you learn, and the ability to critique is a vital writing skill. It's the skill you apply when evaluating your drafts to decide what needs improvement, and how to go about it.

    And that is why we place so much emphasis on it. It isn't that you have to pay your dues before you can ask for critique (despite what anyone thinks!). It's because you can't even make good use of critique you receive until you understand the thought processes that go into it. And it will help you distinguish between good advice, bad advice, and useless advice.
     
  10. BritInFrance
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    BritInFrance Active Member

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    I have found it really useful looking at other peoples work and seeing what works, and what doesn't. I am often blind to the problems in my own stories, but critiquing others has helped with insight into my own shortcomings.

    Read other people's reviews first (lots of them) it will help you pick up on some things.Just be honest and fair.

    I would also say don't rush into asking for a review when your time is up. Read your work again (with your new found skills) and edit it and then post it. You will find the critiques more useful if you have already got rid of the obvious errors.
     
  11. Pauly Pen Feathers
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    Pauly Pen Feathers Member

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    In the short time I’ve been here I’m already noticing how “the critique” is forcing me to make adjustments to how I read. Before, I knew I didn’t like the guy simply because he was an asshole. Now, I’m beginning to see how other writers are creating tension between characters. I’ll purpose to do at least one critique per day whether I post anything, or not. I’m finding I like to read the piece, compose my thoughts in the word processor, then read others comments, and go back and re-read the piece once more. It’s amazing how much I can miss the first time through. I expect in time this will be a very worthwhile exercise. And thank you to all you old timers in this thread for your helpful advice. This is fun!
     
  12. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I'm starting to understand. It seems like this site is what I HAD to find - I'm very glad.

    I guess this is the way to go. I will do the same - try to post a critique every day. As I see it now, it is a mutual, two-way relationship
    or connection or how to put it that is beneficial for everybody. I hope I'll know the ropes as time goes, too.

    I also value the old sports' pieces of advice :) Thank you guys.
     

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