1. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Re-Reviewing? How Well Does It Work?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Cogito, Sep 10, 2007.

    This is from another thread, and I think it raises another good topic:
    Have authors received good feedback when they post revisions based on previous reviews? Or has the followup tended to be limited to "This is much better!"

    Reviewers, how do you feel about re-evaluating works that have been revised based on previous critiques? Do you put in the same effort as for a piece submitted for the first time? Or do you focus your efforts on pieces that have received no feedback at all?

    I've certainly received useful feedback on the occasions that I have posted revisions. Shorter works, such as poems, do get more thorough second reviews than longer pieces, but that also seems to be true of first reviews.
    Also, does it make a difference (both from authors' and reviewers' perspectives) how favorably the initial piece was received?
     
  2. Weaselword
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    Weaselword Banned

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    Personally I'm of the view that the most valuable reviews come from people approaching the piece with fresh eyes.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe there is some merit in reposting a piece for crit, if there are significant changes, or even if a writer requests the critters to focus on a different aspect of the piece (plot and pacing vs. character development).

    A fresh set of eyes are often better, especially as a reader may be anticipating what is going to happen based on a first read and not catch some problems as easily, or they may even get frustrated in rereading a piece and seeing that the writer did not agree with any of their previous suggestions and incorporate them into the story. The reader may figure, "Why should I bother if my input doesn't matter?"

    The critter has to remember, just as the writer, that their (the critter's) opinion and vision on a piece may conflict with the writer's intent or vision, and that is why suggestions were not incorporated...or maybe other suggestions made more sense to the writer...or...(the list could go on quite a bit).

    In the crit groups I've been (or currently am) a member of, generally putting something up for crit is never done more than twice, unless it is a very small piece...such as a cover letter, or a synopsis, where getting things just right is very important. That's not to say getting the wording just right with a short story or novel isn't important, but anyone who's had to craft a strong query letter or cover letter, or had to boil down a 100,000 word novel to a page or two for a synopsis, I suspect knows where I am coming from. Still, even then, sometimes fresh eyes are better than those returning ones.

    A good question posed, and my two cents worth thrown in.

    Terry
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Far more than two cents worth of experience there. Thank you, Terry.

    In your excperience, are the second or subsequent review cycles s ever as productive as the first review cycle?
     
  5. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I personally find that once you have made edits to a piece and resubmitted it for reviewing again and gaining more in depth reviews really does help out.

    I mean yes you like to know if a piece has improved upon, but it is also good if you can be told that a piece could do with a little more work on it. Normally people don't tend to do so though. But I feel that havign a piece re-reviewed after an edit is made to the piece really helps out.

    Especially if you have done a major edit to a piece and want to make sure that your edits are improving the piece or not. At times an edit can devalue a piece and you want to know if it does or not so another review of the piece really does help out.
     
  6. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think that people go into depth as much on a second review though, but as long as they can review the edits the review can be just as productive as the first. Just depends on whether people really are wanting to help out or not I guess. Also whether the author of the piece is willing to listen to further suggestions as well.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In any case, the number of productive re-reviews is definitely limited, which does underscore the need for writers to do the best self-review they can before they put the work up for their peers to comment on.

    Which also means, the better they become at self-review, the better the end result will be. They must not rely upon other people to catch problems they can learn to dig out for themselves.
     
  8. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes I agree with you there Cogito.

    I feel that reviewing your own work is an essential skill. I find that doing a detailed critique/review of my own work can really help and then I post it here for reveiw to see what I may have missed.

    It is always best to review your work before you ask others to review it for you so that you can try and pick up on all the minor things first so that others can pick ont he more technical areas if they are able to that is.
     
  9. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cogito and Torana,

    I think you're both right on target on this.

    Posting one's best work for crit makes the crits that much more valuable. I know there is an urge to post (just as there is an urge to submit a piece to a market for publication consideration) immediately after finishing a story, poem or novel chapter...even after giving it a good edit. Letting a piece sit for a day or two or longer before going back can really improve the chances of a writer catching his own gaffs, or making it more crisp and clear with respect to dialogue, actions, plot movement and consistency, etc.

    As for your earlier question Cogito:
    Yes, but it depends much on the piece resubmitted and even more on those critters willing to give it a second go, and the skills and talents in critting the critter has.

    Honestly, not all critters are equal. In my crit groups, the writers know their strengths and weaknesses in most areas, and continue to improve, but I've come to have a feel for, "Whoah, Crit-parner-A sees a problem with the dialogue between the protagonist and his sister. She's pretty sharp on that--better give it a good close look."

    Also, one does not have to be a spectacular writer to be an insightful and effective critter. And a strong writer does not automatically = a good critter. Are all top basketball coaches former a top league players (or even been players?). Does having been (or currently is) a star ballplayer translate into automatically being a good coach, or even scout for that matter?

    One step further: Are all good editors good writers (and visa versa)? Nope.

    Terry
     

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