1. Cain
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    Cain New Member

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    Short responses to critiquing threads - good enough?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Cain, Jun 27, 2011.

    I posted some thoughts in a few writing workshop threads before I'd really figured out the rules for 2 critiques = 1 critiquee coupon (like that's a real word).

    However if I had known the rules I probably would have been more comprehensive. Nevertheless, do these come up to the requirements, or too short;

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    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=41487
    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=41756


    It's not so much those threads in particular, but whether the length of my replies in them would be generally enough to warrant the title of 'a critique'? I'd much prefer pointing out small things, or a single thought on some element of structure rather than tearing apart an entire piece. Mainly in the hope of getting some discussion with the author, during which you might cover the whole piece in a more constructive way. More often than not when a piece is practically rewritten by a critic there doesn't seem to be much response from the author. Probably from depression or being overwhelmed I should imagine.
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    The second one I think is fine. You gave multiple examples and explained what you would and wouldn't change. The first one... I personally wouldn't consider that constructive. That's the kind of thing I don't count for myself. I do it, when I want them to know but don't have anything else to say, but I don't personally count it as a constructive review.
  3. Cain
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    Cain New Member

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    That's what I figured, maybe if the first one had sparked some conversation it'd be different.

    Who actually decides? Cogito? It'd be nice to get confirmation from whoever that person would be...
  4. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde New Member Contributor

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    I find it easier to write a long piece of critique, when there aren't multiple people already posted. Saying what has been already stated. Therefore I stalk all the non reviewed work bar. So that way I can at least write critique in depth and in length the way I like them.
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Critiques can be short, but they must be Constructive Critiques.

    Your critiques are not a ticket to post your writing for others to admire. Participation in the Writing Workshop is participation in a jointf learning experience, in which you begin by learning how to give effective critique, then progressively apply that and more to learning how to read and evaluate critiiques of your writing, apply what you have learned from those critiques, and ultimately to critique your own work for well-focused revision.
  6. Cain
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    Cain New Member

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    A strange point to open with. Maybe there's some history I'm not aware of. I think if I was posting for bragging rights I'd try the competition threads.

    I understand that the workshop is a two way thing, and there's plenty of reason to make people give before they take. I just wanted to know whether small contributions fulfill the criteria or not, and if so (or if not even), how small is too small?

    It's still unclear to me - is quality a factor? One small line of epiphanic advice will count? Or does it have to be a page of marginal comma stuffing and adverb squishing? If so, who's to judge?
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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  8. art
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    art Senior Member Contributor

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    I can understand the reluctance to explicitly state whether a few lines of criticism will be sufficient: sometimes it might be; perhaps a lot of the time it will not be.

    If one enters into the review rooms animated by a fitting spirit then these cold calculations - does that amount to my necessary two? can I now post my one? - become inessential. You might find yourself putting something up for review while having dozens of critiques to your name - some of which might be short and useless..but what of it?
  9. Cain
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    Cain New Member

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    Very true. The thing is to just participate, and I guess I started out on the right path.

    I just hate rules and being restricted by them ;)
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis magnetismus Contributor

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    Short critiques can be constructive. If the reviewer really knows what she is doing, concise commentary can be a lot more helpful than drawn out blathering. Have to look at it on a case-by-base basis.

    The only critiques that I think are truly bad are the practically line-by-line rewrites you sometimes see on review sites, as though rewriting the author's work for them is somehow helpful or desired.
  11. clockwise
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    clockwise New Member

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    From someone who's had their thread locked before for having two critiques, but not ones that were good enough, the short of it is that the ones you provided probably aren't going to cut it. Only saying so because they're about the length that my original two were; I'd thought they were good, but I ended up having to make three - four paragraph long critiques to get my thread unlocked.

    I wish short responses would get cut a little more slack as long as they're short because they're focusing on the overall aspects of the work. They're definitely a lot more helpful, for me personally, than the line-by-line edits only going through for spelling and grammar that I could've caught on my own with a couple extra read-throughs and some double-checking.
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Short critiques DO get approved, if they are constructive, as defined for this site.

    And long rambling critiques that end up saying nothing do not get approved.
  13. Possibly Awesome Writer
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    Possibly Awesome Writer New Member

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    I have to say I think there's nothing wrong with short critiques so long as they are constructive and probably useful. Long critiques that say nothing are both annoying and pointless. You should give at least one decent example or explanation for each critique though, otherwise it doesn't say much.
  14. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I never do line-by-line edits. Big waste of time, when I could be focusing on the more big-picture aspects of critiquing. If there's a grammar rule they obviously don't know because they make the same mistake again, I'll write one sentence in the review: "The proper contraction for 'you are' is 'you're,' and 'your' is possessive." And leave it at that.

    As a general rule of thumb, I try and think of five or so aspects that are most discussion-worthy for the particular work. Aspects such as tone-setting, show vs tell quality, characterization, realistic dialogue, organization, SPAG, etc. Then I'lll write 1-3 sentences of how they did in each of those areas and, if bad, how to improve.
  15. Solar
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    Solar Member

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    Why are line by line critiques so bad? I think they are essential for poetry revision. It makes it easier to analyse the piece and spot the weaknesses. I mean, when you read a poem, do you read all the lines at once? or one by one?

    Also, i think some people rewrite lines in critiques because it's a good way to illustrate what they mean and to contrast effects.
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis magnetismus Contributor

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    Line by line critiques are ok in some cases, but you'll see some reviewers go through and everywhere they have a comment they actually just rewrite the original author's work for them. These reviewers are more interested in showing the author that they're smarter than actually being helpful. Better to give the author a good explanation of what you think is wrong, and why, then simply rewriting something they way you would write it.
  17. Batgoat
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    Batgoat New Member

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    What about critiques that pretty much rinse and repeat what has gone before them? I find after reading much of the works in here that the comments I want to make have already been made. Is it just a matter of getting in first with these constructive critiques, or do people really want to hear (read) the same thing seven times?
  18. Cain
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    Cain New Member

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    In the 'how to critique' advice it's suggested not to read the other posts first just so you're not influenced in your critique. So repeats are going to happen and I don't think it's a bad thing. In fact it probably lends strength to which faults are the most obvious
  19. Solar
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    Solar Member

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    That's quite an assumption. There may be other reasons. Have you really examined the situation? Or are you jumping to conclusions?

    I'm sure you're right in some cases, but in all cases? You could end up drawing hasty conclusions based on preconceived ideas.

    Though, i do get your point and i agree: explanation and examples should go together. But i don't agree with your over-generalisation.
  20. Batgoat
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    Batgoat New Member

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    How do we know our critiques meet the grade? Do we get some kind of notification? It's one thing to say "this is how to write a critique" (the thread I have read) but without examples, it's a bit of a jump for those without experience at such things to simply be expected to do it.
  21. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist New Member Contributor

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    The mods have way too much to do to go through and notify people when their critiques meet the cut. I would suggest being on the safe side and doing more than the required two critiques before posting your own work.
  22. Batgoat
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    Batgoat New Member

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    That was my intention, anyway. I'm not here to shower the forum with my works, but rather to learn more about the process itself and to have a quick check of what is "hot" and what is "not" in terms of themes, ideas and genres.

    I'm somewhat curious, though, how we know when the light has changed from red to green, so to speak.
  23. Alex W
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    Alex W New Member

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    I write short reviews for pieces where it's not really my 'style'. If someone is writing a historical fiction piece on a Roman Legion under attack, then i'll probably piece together a long response, which I have done on previous sites.

    But when it's poetry etc, I don't like critiquing it too much. Although I do write alot of poetry myself, who am I to say what's 'wrong' and what'd make it better? It's their piece, what may not seem right to me may be exactly what the writer wanted. If it's spelling mistakes or perhaps clumsy writing i'll mention it but to de-construct someones work seems very rude considering none of us here I imagine are regarded as the top poets of the era.

    Only then would I feel comfortable looking into someones work and reviewing like that. As it is, i'll say what I liked in particular and if I enjoyed it. If I don't, i'll say so, but anymore than that and it wouldn't seem right.

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