1. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To Quote or Not To Quote...

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Cogito, Jan 23, 2008.

    I have seen quite a few people adopting the approach of quoting the author's entire story, and marking that up with red and strikeouts, etc.

    I'd like to make a case against this practice.

    A review should have a point to make, like any other piece of writing. To do that, the review should be the primary element the reader sees. Then quotations from the author's piece should illustrate those points. If instead the reader must go back to a monolithic block and find the markup that relates to the point you are making, it dilutes your message.

    Putting you own text together, with selected examples highlighted after each point makes the message much clearer, in my opinion. It also encourages the reviewer to select the things the author is best off focusing on, rather than just laying them forth in the order of appearance.
     
  2. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    I would say that your case against this practice is perfectly valid- except for two circumstances. In the case of short stories and novels, the monolithic block of text is definitely more difficult to use for the most part- the same goes for non-fiction and scripts. However, in the case of poetry, song lyrics and other writing where each word counts, copying the entirety of the piece with your suggested, specific changes would be better than generalised statements.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In the case of short poems/lyrics, I'd say it's an even split as to whether it is better to quote the entire piece at once or the specific lines you're suggesting changes in.

    However, I'd still suggest putting your discussion before the marked up quote. That way, the reader sees the why of the changes before the changes themselves, putting the changes into a clearer context.
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    What I tend to do is quote the sentances in question, as they appear in the original text, then explain the error and offer the correction underneath the quotation. I feel that way it is easier for the author to identify the part I mean.
     
  5. JustinaB
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    JustinaB Active Member

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    I do the same as you Banzai. Then I put my suggestions in red right after that quoted text.
     
  6. cboss2
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    cboss2 New Member

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    Same here.

    Personally I hate sitting there with a text block and having to play with BBCode all day. I've tried it once here, and that was the last time.
     
  7. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    If there are lots of grammar, spelling and punctuation errors throughout the piece, I usually quote it and put the corrections in Bold. If there are just a few sentences that can be improved, I just quote the sentences in question and explain why they should be altered.
     
  8. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I haven't posted any of my own work for review yet, but I would definitely have a preference for reviews of that kind - and it is how I have done the reviews here thus far.

    If punctuation was an issue throughout the writing, I mention it and quote only a small piece, indicating where the correct punctuation should be.

    One of the main reasons I only quote specific parts is quite simply because there are only specific parts that leap out at me and warrant comment - I feel that quoting the whole piece means that I intend my critique to apply to the writing in its entirety, and I would rather avoid that.
     
  9. FantasyWitch
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    FantasyWitch Contributing Member

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    I actually wasn't going to start doing that, but then i did it once to see if it suited me.

    Nope, it's so much god damn work!
     
  10. Suomyno
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    Suomyno Member

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    If there are just a few minor issues, or it's a fairly long piece, I'll just quote individual lines/paragraphs or whatever, but usually I like quoting the whole thing. I'm a nit-picky reviewer, and I like giving the kind of review I've always gotten and enjoyed getting-thorough, covering both technical and creative aspects. After I do my nit-picky stuff with the piece, I'll have a paragraph, usually in red, with global comments about what I like/disliked, what was strong and on-going issues ect.
     
  11. Speck
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    Speck Member

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    I do it...at times. It all depends really. I think it's a lot easier to keep track of every little thing (and I think all little things are important) that way.

    I like to go in two parts, it's similar to what my teacher at a writing workshop once did. She would go through all the obvious stuff and mark this or that with scribbled little notes here or there. But then after all that, she'd write up a big, nice review explaining unclear marks, and telling me the more in depth stuff. ex: Character development.

    So I have been doing the same recently. Quoting it, editing it in the quote so it's like getting a paper back in english class. Then I write up an actual review of it with a more in depth walkthrough...sort of...thing...lol
     
  12. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    I copy the story into my post because 1) I nitpick and will probably comment on every third sentence anyway
    and 2) because I don't want to copy, paste in the reply box, write my comment, then go back up into the story to find where I left off, read on until I find a new problematic part, copy...
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sometimes I'll copy the entire story into my post to avoid going back and forth, but I still usually delete everything except the specific pieces I'm commenting on. That allows me to focus the review on what seems to me to be the most glaring issues.

    Ever give a review full of detailed SPAG corrections and a couple general overall points that you considered the major area of improvement? And then the revision comes out with all the nitpicky corrections made exactly where they occurred, while the more general issue is ignored?

    Naturally, the writer can choose what to use and what to ignore, but sometimes I feel that if I say nothing about the fact that loose was used six times where it should have been lose, and instead point out the overzealous scenery description, the writer and the story would benefit more.
     
  14. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    It depends what stage the story is in. I have a fault of assuming everything is in near-final form unless I'm told otherwise, thus justifying nitpicks and ignoring larger issues. This makes me useful for when you want line-by-lines, but little good otherwise. I'm learning to see the bigger picture, but it comes slowly. I'd rather be a prose expert, I think.
     
  15. LibbyAnn
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    LibbyAnn Contributing Member

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    I have a hard time not copy and pasting the entire thing if I'm finding a lot of grammatical errors. I've taken a bunch of grammar classes and I have a minor in writing; I take these mistakes and misuses very seriously! If it were me, I would much rather get back a piece of very marked-up writing and then take/leave what I want rather than a few general comments...

    I also always try to add a sort of overview of my entire review - what I liked, what I didn't, what worked, what didn't. I then will touch on character development, plot, etc.

    Just to clarify - are we being told now that we shouldn't be quoting the entire thing, that it's still up to our discretion, or what?
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is just a discussion, an exchange of strategies. If you feel that quoting everything conveys the message better, go ahead and do that.

    There is no right or wrong on an issue like this.
     
  17. LibbyAnn
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    LibbyAnn Contributing Member

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    Okay, thanks :) I understand now!
     

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