1. Addicted2aa
    Offline

    Addicted2aa Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    The Shire

    The all important WHY!

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Addicted2aa, Apr 3, 2009.

    So I've noticed that in some reviews people just correct mistakes, mention that things sound awkward, or something doesn't make sense. It's good to point out these mistakes but many people(including myself at times) forget to mention why these are mistakes.
    If you see a grammar mistake and just correct it, what has the person learned? They might have missed something they already knew, but what if they didn't? Then they are no better off then when they started.
    It is even more important when mentioning how a sentence or phrase sounds. If you can point out the specifics of what sounds bad, give an example and explain why it sounds better, than you have taught a person.
    I think that no matter what you choose to focus on, whether it is a detailed critique, with all grammar mistakes pointed out, or just a quick not on how some things didn't jive well, explaining is essential.


    Also this is my 100th post. woot
     
    2 people like this.
  2. LordKyleOfEarth
    Offline

    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2009
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX. USA
    I agree. It seems that many use the review room as an editor to catch SPaG issues. The whole teaching a man to fish thing applies here.
     
  3. Chaoslogic
    Offline

    Chaoslogic Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Style is a difficult subject; what sounds natural to someone may sound awkward to someone else. This is the variety of writing we experience through many authors. Our styles of writing affects our perceptions toward the styles of other people.

    My point is, it is important not to let style get in the way of critiquing the most important principles, which are the W-Fives of literature: the who, what, when, where, why of showing how. Of course, there are more pressing details: grammar, consistency, redundency. Those are important as well.
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Thank you, Addicted, this is a very important point.

    I'd like to point out that a suggestion need not be because something is wrong. More often, the critic just thinks an alternative or variatioon would be even better.

    But answering the Why question isn't only for the writer. For the critic, it makes him or her think about something that "just sounds better", and convert it to a new metric to apply to writing. When you then turn around and start lookiong at your own writing through that new lens, you may be astonised that your writing can be enlivened by making similar changes.

    I assert that if you never ask yourself the Why question when you are suggesting changes, you will never have thos "Ah hah!" moments. No other question will produce that flash of insight.
     
  5. chandler245
    Offline

    chandler245 Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    617
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for that info. i am editing my book, taking out info that is not needed and i never loooked at it that way
     
  6. lynneandlynn
    Offline

    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    Messages:
    746
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Hmm. I never actually thought about explaining why something works better...I'll work on that in my critiques. Good point.

    ~Lynn
     
  7. TereFaerie
    Offline

    TereFaerie Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2009
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sometimes I feel like I do just the opposite; like I'm telling the writer too much that they might already know but have just looked over before submitting. But I'd rather err on the side of too much info than just correct another person's mistakes. If I see a rash of the same mistake, I'll always address that in the review, but my reviews are never wholly about grammar and spelling, anyway.
     
  8. Addicted2aa
    Offline

    Addicted2aa Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    The Shire
    I agree about erring on the side of too much information. Even if the author knows the reason, getting another persons interpretation might help them understand better.
     
  9. Castlesofsand
    Offline

    Castlesofsand Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1,279
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Canada
    the idea and catch about explaining why you believe something works better your way, is that you also have to understand and accept that their way might be better, and learn from that too.
     

Share This Page