1. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard

    Posting rough drafts for critique?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Aaron DC, Jul 16, 2015.

    I do not understand posting rough drafts for critique? I am assuming it's had no autho-editing, but just being thrown up on the site after being thrown down on the editor.

    I would want to post my most polished piece, so that any criticism is picking up things I do not know or do not see. So far it's just competition submissions, but even so, there's work going into them after beta reader feedback and agonising over bits and pieces.

    I'm sorry but I do not want to read your rough draft. Any more than I want to see an artist's pre-painting scribble or a photographer's quick snaps - for critiquing purposes.

    Am I alone in this cold world of perfectionistic striving?
    Am I being too picky?

    Is there any value in asking for critique for a rough draft?

    Is this another example of the familiar and common but completely fictitious and non-study reinforced notion of plotters vs panters?

    Or is it false modesty where someone has edited it to within an inch of its life but wants to say they just bashed it out and are hopeful of blowing you away with its lack of issues?
     
    Nicoel and jannert like this.
  2. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
  3. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I can agree with what you're saying here. In my opinion, the goal of critique is to take an almost-finished piece to the next level and make it publishable.
     
  4. Renee J
    Offline

    Renee J Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2013
    Messages:
    463
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    Reston, VA
    I can see letting someone read an entire early piece to look for plotting and characterization issues. If those are a problem, it's better to catch it early.
     
  5. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    I am specifically talking about posting a page of a rough draft from a work in this forum's workshop, for critique.
     
  6. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Can't speak for this forum, but I've beta'd rough drafts - as long as both parties agree, no problem.
     
  7. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Are you only ever going to see a part of the work? Or do you expect to end up reading the whole thing?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  8. plothog
    Offline

    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    514
    Location:
    England
    I would guess they're looking for feedback on plot and characterisation. Though if the writing is bad enough, it can distract so much, that it's hard for me to get a feel for the actual plot.
    I'll keep wanting to comment on the writing problems instead, but don't know if they want that if they're claiming they only posted a rough draft. So I don't critique pieces declared rough drafts.

    I wonder if some of these 'rough drafts' are actually the best the writer can do at the moment. They know it's flawed, don't know how to improve it, but some sort of ego issue prevents them from admitting it.
    There's normally plenty of people on writing forums who like to pretend they're better than they actually are.
     
    Renee J and jannert like this.
  9. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Is that something a critiquer can provide based on 1000-2000 words of a prologue or chapter from a 70-100,000 word novel?

    I ask sincerely, despite the thread and attempts at critiques I acknowledge I am still very new to the process.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    Depends on if the rough draft is the best the author can do at the time. It's it's half outline and half unfinished sentences, then no, that's not ready for critique. But if it's bad because the author is a new writer, we all have to start somewhere.

    I notice the better critics in my critique group tailor their comments to the skill level they are addressing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  11. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Depends entirely on what we agree to. The thing about critiques is that it's voluntary. If you don't want to critique a draft, don't. If you don't want to critique a "ready to submit", don't.
     
    jannert likes this.
  12. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,786
    Likes Received:
    7,299
    Location:
    Scotland
    My own opinion is that what you put up for critique in the workshop should be the best you can make it at the moment. In other words, try to edit it as much as you can. If you're having problems with it, fair enough. But do everybody a favour and at least get rid of the mistakes you know are there beforehand. If you think it's perfect, that's also fair enough. People will soon tell you, one way or another. You won't know how it is received, until you let people read it.

    However, deliberately putting a 'bad' piece of writing into the workshop is a waste of everybody's time. I recently made a lengthy critique of a piece that had just been submitted, only to be told by the author that he'd moved on before he posted it (!) and had already made those kinds of changes. He was just curious what we'd think of his first effort ...or something to that effect. I'm still a bit fizzed that I spent so much time on it.

    If you think your piece is fine as it is, that's not false modesty—although pretending it's crap when you think it's great IS false modesty, and is probably best avoided. Just be straightforward. I think this piece is finished. I'd appreciate your reaction. You're looking for feedback. If everybody's reaction is actually favourable, that doesn't mean you have a huge ego. That just means you've succeeded in what you're trying to achieve, and you can move on.

    However, if you put your 'perfect' piece up for critique, and discover it's not as perfect as you thought? Then you need to revise your expectations, and pay attention. It always makes sense to pay attention to criticism you receive, and give it weight. It's people who refuse to take valid criticism on board who have an ego problem, not people who write well and get favorable feedback.
     
    minstrel and Aaron DC like this.
  13. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Ah yes Captain Obvious response strikes again.

    Good oh.
     
  14. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    In my experience, one would only post a partial if they were having a problem of some sort with that section. But that would also not be dependent on what stage of writing they were at - rough draft or nearly complete.
     
  15. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    1. This is my concern. If someone starts by saying "here's a rough draft" - I'd be wary of starting anything with their piece. I can fully understand your fizz. And may I use that word please? It's awesome!
    2. I am curious if there is value at all in looking for a critique of a prologue or 2000 words of "rough draft" - not as a beta reader, not an entire novel. Just the piece posted on the forum. It's so alien to the way I believe I will seek critique that I want to understand the reasoning or logic behind it.
     
    jannert likes this.
  16. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    I just see no point in complaining about critiquing rough drafts when no one's twisting your arm to do so. The only reason to complain is if the author doesn't state it's a rough draft.
     
  17. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    I am seeking to understand why someone would do it. It's alien to me. I see no other way of discussing the why without asking other people. I will endeavour to make this more evident next time. Hopefully you read my complete OP and not the first sentence before answering.

    If I understand people and/or their motivation, it helps in my interactions with them and the forum.
     
  18. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,786
    Likes Received:
    7,299
    Location:
    Scotland
    Well, it all depends on how rough it is. A very common question the forum writers ask is: "would you continue to read my story?" I think that's a good question to ask, given the limitations of this forum. You can't post the whole thing, so you're wondering if this piece does the trick, so to speak.

    The trouble with novel snippets—which is all we can post here—is that they are so limited. Criticism mainly deals with the style of writing. To some extent critics can deal with character development as well, but story development? Story arcs takes time, and will happen over the course of the entire novel. So feedback on that is limited. The only thing the forum folks can do is indicate if you're heading in the right direction. They're unlikely to catch major plot holes, or problems with pacing, or the fact that a character may do something that is totally OUT of character.

    The best feedback for a novelist to get is from a beta reader who is willing to read an entire first draft. By first draft, I mean a finished piece that is as polished as the author can make it without any feedback.

    Second draft comes AFTER feedback, where problems of all kinds get caught by the beta and thrashed through by the author. Then the author finds another beta ...rinse and repeat. Third drafts (and fourth drafts) happen when yet more tranches of betas read the book and give feedback. Hopefully each tranche will find fewer problems, till you get to the stage where the problems are pretty much gone. Then you're ready to query and/or self-publish. That's the way I see it, anyway.
     
    peachalulu and Aaron DC like this.
  19. plothog
    Offline

    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    514
    Location:
    England
    New writers are sometimes looking for how much the ideas and character presented in their opening chapter provide an effective hook, without realising quite how important the writing quality is for determining if the chapter manages to hook or not.

    You're right that it's hard for a critiquer to say a lot except about writing quality in a short extract. You can often manage a line or two about if you like the ideas or not, though that can be a very subjective question.
     
    jannert and Aaron DC like this.
  20. GingerCoffee
    Offline

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,604
    Likes Received:
    5,877
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    We all mean different things by 'rough draft'. The person in question also had a recent post describing his 20 pages of writing. It might add some context.
     
  21. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Yes. I have seen this and it's possible to get the gist in both polished (@BayView) and raw (@A J Phillips) drafts. It would make sense if someone is wanting to ask -- hey does this hook you -- to get it down bare bones and then ask, rather than wasting too much time polishing what is potentially a turd.

    I guess then there's some author directions / background that could be added as an intro too yeah? Along the lines of: grammar and spelling may be poor, looking specifically for hook ability feedback. Which is what @BayView did (not the spelling bit, just the hook feedback request) and thus provided a good example of this specific thing.

    Thanks @plothog and @jannert.
     
  22. Aaron DC
    Offline

    Aaron DC Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2015
    Messages:
    2,554
    Likes Received:
    1,251
    Location:
    At my keyboard
    Way ahead of you there, GC, way ahead of you.

    My intuition says some (?) people post purely for a feel good feedback opportunity. Whilst I disagree with the ubiquitous "what you did is fine, if it works for you it works, you'll get better" response, it will certainly tick some people's feedback boxes.
     
  23. Shadowfax
    Online

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,506
    Likes Received:
    1,339
    I well understand your fizziness!

    Generally, if a piece I'm reading is calling for excessive SPAG comments, I'll walk away before I say something rude/sarcastic/patronising about it.
     
    jannert likes this.
  24. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,786
    Likes Received:
    7,299
    Location:
    Scotland
    Yes, totally agree. I'm afraid SPAG are basics to writing, and until people get a grip on them, they'll never be writers. They may be capable of thinking/dreaming up great stories, but until they master the basics, they won't be taken seriously as writers by most other people.

    It's like thinking you're a marathon runner because you can walk two blocks to the store. You CAN become a marathon runner, of course, if you put in the training for it—but you're not one yet. Once you've run a marathon, then you can work on picking up your speed, getting better at it, etc. But you have to learn, practice and master the basics first. If you're not willing to do that, no trainer is going to be able to help you improve.
     
  25. shadowwalker
    Offline

    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Messages:
    3,299
    Likes Received:
    851
    Then you might try phrasing your questions/comments in a less confrontational/dismissive way. (And yes, I read the whole first post.)
     

Share This Page