1. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    On How Much to Post--

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Atari, Feb 22, 2009.

    I find that when I am interested in reviewing, I enter the proper forum, click on an interesting title, and am IMMEDIATELY disheartened by five pages of text I am subjected to.
    It is unlikely that the story is going to be exactly what I am interested in, so I don't want to read a person's entire story. I just want enough to know two things:

    1. How well you write, in general, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.

    2. If your story itself is interesting at all. I can tell from the first two paragraphs if I'm interested in where a story is going.
    (Incidentally, I can generally perceive if a story is good or not, even if it is a genre that I dislike. I'm just open-minded that way.)

    So, one question I have is:

    Is it O.K. for me to review a mere two or three paragraphs on a ten-page story, or would that be unfeasible or rude?

    Besides that, I wonder if we can somehow make it 'known' that people should post only several paragraphs at most?
    I know it says, "Posting entire novels is frowned upon," or something of the sort.
    If one is so interested in a story that he wants to see more of it after a few paragraphs, then it seems to me that a request can be made.
    "Hey, this is interesting! Post more, if you have any."

    Also, how much should I worry about correcting spelling errors, et cetera?
    I generally just correct all of the mistakes in the first couple of paragraphs and say, "Well, you can look through and find the rest of them, yourself, now that you know what to look for."

    Ultimately, am I just lazy, or would anyone else like to see less posted in the Novel review section?
    I just feel like I'm obligated - if I review it at all - to read the entire five pages, but that requires a LONG time and I generally see all that I need to see after the first few paragraphs.
    Maybe we can have a new section where people post certain sections of their novel that they're particular wanting advice on, or do we already have a section like that?

    Well, that's all of my rambling, for now. Thanks in advance for all of the kind replies I am certain to receive. ^_~*
     
  2. Nikita88
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    Nikita88 Member

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    Hmm I disagree... I posted a pretty annoyingly long piece in the Novel forum and got a lot of great reviews! This makes me much more inclined to go read other longer submissions. Sure, it can be a bit off putting to see a huge story, but if it's good I would love to read it. If it's not, why not just stop after a few paragraphs and just make that the passage you choose to review (like the length you prefer to review). If you DO like it, just keep reading (instead of making a request for more)!

    BUT perhaps you are right - maybe a subforum in the Novel forum for "Full Chapters & Stories" for people to post full writing would help clear things up a bit. This way, a writer looking to maybe get a more personal connection from a reviewer can go in there and post one of their full novels. Other writers looking to just get feedback on writing style and general plot points would then be able to post their stories separately without getting mixed up with a bunch of long chapter posts.

    As for grammar issues, I agree with you - I usually tend to just correct a few mistakes in the beginning, but if they continue to make the same mistakes I put in a note that says "I'm not correcting this anymore, reread and make the rest of the changes yourself." Usually I think in-line edits work best grammatically, while a written review at the end can focus more on plot & characters.
     
  3. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I did see your post, Nikita, and the only reason I didn't review it is because you already had so many other reviews. (Well-- I'm pontificating, actually; I may not have read it, anyway, because it was so long)

    Well, here's MY interest:

    I LOVE it when a person posts a sentence or paragraph, saying,
    "I'm having trouble writing this sentence/paragraph. How can I make [character] have more emotion/seem more powerful/bigger/taller/meaner."

    I really enjoy helping out like that.

    When people post three pages, then say vaguely, "Welp! Review it," I feel like I'm diving naked into shark-infested saltwater with the order, 'fix it'.

    I just can't really be INTERESTED if I don't know what they, specifically, want me to review.

    When I post a story, I have a definite thing I want to know:

    I don't want small, inconsequential grammatical errors to be corrected more than a couple of times, unless it is very subtle, whereupon one might think that it was a mistake that I made out of ignorance.
    What I want is to know: Is it INTERESTING? Is it a fun read? How do you like the characters? Were the descriptions boring or engaging?


    This is just me, though.

    I would wonder, "How can we fix this on the forums?" But I don't know if enough people agree with me to start pretentiously saying that it is definitely a problem.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For best results. an initial post hould be a short excerpt to priovide a sample of the writing style. When that has been ripped apart and reassembled, the author should apply the lesssons learned to the entire piece. Then, if he or she wishes, post the entire short story or a full chapter of te novel. It's reasonable at that point to ask about te larger issues of plot and character development, although ther still may be style issues that critiquers may wish to raise.

    Atari, if two or three paragraphs are enough to expose issues that the writer needs to address (in you ropinion, of course), then by all means stop there. It is the writer's responsibility to take the critique offered, and extrapolate it as appropriate to the entire piece. And if that was where you stopped reading, it's probably at or beyond the point where a publisher would have dropped the MS in the "Rejected" tray.
     
  5. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    Atari, I agree that overly long and vague "So is this good or bad? Why?" posts can be a bit of a turn off. However sometimes I will write something and that chapter simply feels a bit off and I cannot quite put my finger on why. In that case I would post that section and ask if anyone has any notes. Most of the time it is possible to say that a single paragraph needs help, or that a character doesn't feel right, etc, but not always.

    I think, however, that if you read 2 lines and can add some critique that is meaningful, by all means do it. I'd rather have 20 posts commenting on single sentences than none at all. Hell that one line could be the bit that is messing up the rest of the passage.
     
  6. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Well, I suppose it is partly because most of what I have reviewed heretofore has been littered with myriad grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, so reading more than a few paragraphs of it is arduous.

    If the person putting his writing up for scrutiny is asking about plot and character development, then it would make sense for the piece to be longer than if he was merely asking for, say, grammatical inconsistencies to be brought to his attention.

    I suppose it all boils down to WHY he's posting and what he wants critiqued.

    Ghosts in Latin did an excellent job with his, asking if what he wrote was 'epic' or merely rambling.
    That gave me a basis and I read it with that in mind. It was a much more interesting experience altogether.
     
  7. Imposter
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    Atari,

    I thought this was an excellent topic and overall I agree with you. The large post can have a tendency to be off-putting, but to me the proof is in the pudding. If the work can hold my attention, then I'll tackle the entire piece, but if not I'll offer a few suggestions and move on, letting the author know that I couldn't connect with it or that it just wasn't my cup of tea.

    Personally, I wouldn't post something looking for grammatical help (but I welcome the highlighting none the less) but rather to get an opinion on the content, flow, or tone of my work. I have 1/2 of a chapter posted right now that I'm struggling with because it is a mystery/thriller and I've been told that there's not enough tension in it for a first chapter. The piece is 2100 words long and the back half will be another 2000, so this falls right in with what your saying. Posting just a couple of paragraphs wouldn't accomplish what I'm after.

    I wouldn't take it personally if you critiqued just a part of my work and then moved on. Maybe Nikita88's suggestion for a sub-forum for longer post is valid.
     

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