1. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    What hurts more for you?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by tcol4417, Jul 28, 2009.

    Criticism on something that you've made from a complete stranger or criticism from someone close to you?

    Constructive of course, but I still find it smarts all the same.

    And then there are points where they misunderstand what you're trying to do - but then it's still your fault for not sending the message.

    Thoughts? Experiences?

    I personally show few of my drawings and none of my writing to people I know personally because drawings are easy enough to judge the merits of while reading takes time leaving a more room for things like boredom to set in. Not to mention the rarity of honest, constructive answers =P
     
  2. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Neither. Even if the criticism is meant to give offence, as long as the subject is my work then it's worth something.
     
  3. ArckAngel
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    ArckAngel Member

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    When somebody, anybody says "That's great." And gives me my writing back without anything constructive said. That's what hurts the most.
     
  4. murphcas
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    murphcas Member

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    I agree with that! That's why I try not to get my friends to help me unless they're actually gonna say something constructive about it. It's frustrating when you've worked on something for so long and you really want someone to tell you what they think and how you can improve and where they didn't understand but they don't.

    Otherwise I don't care who gives me constructive criticism because it'll be helpful either way. There's really only one person I get nervous showing my work to and i think that's because we like to write for different audiences (I'm more young adult and he's more adult).
     
  5. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Neither one really hurts, so long as it's constructive criticism. At group, I get mixed emotions if they are down to picking at dubious grammar nits and word choices. It's great if I can reduce that bloodthirsty bunch to the picking of nits, but there's a (weird) sort of satisfaction in having my work shredded by a group of writers and readers I respect. (I never said I was normal.)

    If it's not constructive, as in the one word -- either positive or negative -- replies, I have at least learned one more person from whom not to seek feedback.
     
  6. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I've learnt not to ask for criticism from family or close friends, for obvious reasons - they don't want to hurt, and they're not writers, or in the game. When it comes to receiving crits from writers, I'm fine once comments are considered and constructive.
     
  7. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    I actually find it complementary that they took the time to read through my work and thought it worth the effort to try and help me improve.

    Edit: Way to read the thread, me. I feel the same either way- the nervousness, and excitement as I wait for feedback, and I treat them pretty much the same. It often works out that I prefer comments from fellow writers because they are often more thorough, but with people close to me I love to explain what I've referenced, where that idea came from and where the story goes from this particular point. But Cheeno is right, aside from spelling and grammar errors those close to me aren't going to be as critical even when I ask them to.
     
  8. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    While I am one who says all reviews are good reviews, I have to retract my stance a little. I had my father reviewing my novel, and he was doing great, giving me tips, compliments, telling me what was wrong in places...then there was my mother, standing over his shoulder saying "You cant say 'do not' you have to say 'dont'. You can't say will not, you have to say 'won't'...it's a rule, duh." and I wanted to kill her.
    I think that hurt more than a random stranger picking it apart because I had worked so hard on it, and she knew that, then found only the most measly things to say, which weren't even true! haha I wouldnt have minded if it was really a fact that you can't say 'will not'. I am definatly more nervous when a family member reads my work, just because I tend to bloat myself up and say I am so fantastic. :D
     
  9. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Wow, that's bad. It's not a RULE, per se; tell her that or just smack her one. xD

    What's worst for me is having my friends pick my writing apart.
     
  10. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I don't think it so much -- hurts -- to have either group of people review my work. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable if they volunteer to read something, then never get back with you. But in those situations I just don't bring it up again. I assume they either didn't have the time and don't want to say so, or didn't like it and don't want to hurt my feelings. But that's not really painful, just a touch annoying. I'd rather honesty.

    Receiving negative criticism, no matter how constructive, is always a bit of a blow to the ego. Of course most of us suffer with that, what makes it either not so bad or horrible is our own view of our writing. If we think we wrote something that was gold, and someone tears down our baby, then our ego takes a critical blow. But if we can divorce ourselves from our work, we can lessen the ego blow when things aren't perfect.

    I do have a friend, online, who I trust to give me an honest opinion, but he does it in a way that isn't too ego damaging. He's like a friendly editor. :) I've stopped letting my hubby look, because my writing isn't normally action packed enough to hold his attention.

    Having random annonmous strangers on the internet read my work is helpful in it's own way, since the general public who would read a book I write will all be strangers too. So it is nice to get strangers opinions when they are willing to do a reading. They are much more likely to tear things apart as a reader and a writer, so the criticism is usually much more helpful.

    It's also better for personal relationships not to add that undue stress of expectation between you, when it comes to being honest in a critique. Most strangers don't give a hoot if they hurt your feelings, and there is no relationship to foster, so it is safe to express honest opinions.

    In total, I try not to have people close to me read my work, at least not until it comes out in print. :)
     
  11. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I don't really ever let people read what I write unless it's top notch, all edited and tweaked. Otherwise, no.
     
  12. Ansky
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    Ansky Member

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    I've never really asked strangers to review my work, though I likely will at some point on this forum. I'm okay with constructive criticism, though, and the more detailed the better. Like some people above said, what really irks me is when someone says "Great," or "looks good," and that's all. I'd rather hear a, "this is pretty good, but..." and have the person list areas that could be improved than hear that it was "great," and hear nothing. And if someone thinks that an aspect of one of my stories is terrible, I want to be told that it's terrible (albeit maybe in a nicer way ;))
     
  13. PS Foster
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    PS Foster Member

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    I asked my granddaughter to read one of my stories. She's a college graduate and a teacher. Her response was, "That's a great story." I asked if there was anything that needed fixed, such as grammar, etc. "She said, "I don't think so. It sounds good to me."
    I had it critiqued on another site, and several mistakes were pointed out. I asked her why she didn't see them, since she was a teacher. Her response was, "Grandma, I teach Kindergarten. They don't write."
    So I guess she didn't learn anything past a kindergarten level in 5 years of college?
     
  14. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Wow that's kind of scary actually. What does that say for the college system of training teachers who teach the next generation?
     
  15. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Maybe she was just being...nice? Which is why I refrain from asking family for opinions.
     
  16. eliza490
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    eliza490 Member

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    I'm generally not offended by people critiquing my work. I'll look over the piece after reading what they had to say about it, and if I don't agree with their remarks I just leave things the way they are. And if someone critiquing your work really bothers you that much you might not be ready to be a published author. You need to be prepared for an editor to say 'you need to change this' or for critics to give your book a bad review. I think critiques help me prepare my work for being presented to the rest of the world. I welcome them.
    ~Eliza
     
  17. freethinker09
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    freethinker09 New Member

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    I have a question...

    Can't some constructive criticism be negative? Or maybe I'm not thinking clearly?

    As for my writing being reviewed I really can't say I enjoy any type of criticism. I mean if it's the simple things like consider revising this sentence, look at the grammar here...and stuff like that that would be constructive, but I still think sometimes constructive can easily turn into negative.

    Maybe I'm being too analytical and philosophical about it...

    That's funny. I saw I don't enjoy criticism and yet my signature says otherwise. Ha. Wow. I feel like a hypocrite. Or maybe I really don't care?
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Absolutely. In fact, it's much harder to make constructive compliments, because it's a lot easier to pinpoint something that doesn't sit well than to find something that stands out in a positive way without unbalancing the rest of the piece.

    Of course, you can praise the overall piece while still pointing out features tyat could stand improving.

    Constructive critique is critrique that is specific with regards to what, where, and why.
     
  19. Joran Selemis
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    Joran Selemis Member

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    My family and friends always tell me they like what I write, and they say "this was great" then tell me what could be improved. I like that, though, except it's really difficult to tell whether they're being sincere or whether they just don't want to hurt my feelings.

    What really hurts for me is when people flat-out dislike my stories and give reasons like 'cause I just didn't like it.' I can understand most of it: sci fi isn't for everyone, after all, but the people comment really offensively and seem to be insulting me, which pisses me off because it's more that they're raggin on me for writing sci fi than writing poorly. That's something else that pisses me off: people who just instantly disregard sci fi. In english I always used to ask my teacher whether we'd be marked down for sci fi and she said between her teeth 'no', because that's what she has to say. But then she also said that none of the english staff want to read sci fi, which I think is a bit bogus personally. But just, people who say 'i don't like sci fi just cause'. Give me a reason, it's fine.
     
  20. wilcan
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    wilcan New Member

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    Criticism on something that you've made from a complete stranger or criticism from someone close to you?

    Of course, it can hurt both ways. Me? I'm awful thin skined I must admit.

    The only person here at this forum, that I've had contact with before, just happened to be one of the first critics of a story that I'm writing. And when my initial effort got shot down, and probably with good reasons, I felt terrible. The person just seemed to skim the first couple of paragraphs, covering it with red marks (all that was posted to me) of a 900 word piece and I guess, summarily and somewhat cavalierly dismissing the rest (which I don't believe they even took the time to read) telling me that my efforts would never measure up professionally. To me right now, "WHAT" I write is as important as "HOW" I write it. And I felt cheated,THAT HURT.

    But, I guess, as they say, no pain - no gain...

    And personally, I find it hard to critique another's work for a good reason. I am a novice in writing. Punctuation is easy. Not too much subjectivity involved there. Just follow the style books and know which side of the ocean your readers are likey to be on and you'll be OK. But creating and writing is not like reporting or transcribing another's words. They are one's own words, sink or swim, and with that, the risk is personal. So I'm reluctant to give advise to another, since I'm not sure myself. THat would be dishonest.

    I'm not sure if what I've said here is appropriate, but criticism is hard to take from anybody--friend or stranger unless you really trust the person. And unless I want risk, getting get locked out, I'll have to take the risk of criticizing others--others who are maybe even more thin skinned than I am.

    Thank you for reading this, whoever you are..
     
  21. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    This one and its negative counterpart:

    "It's horrible, stop writing."

    If I ask a review I would like at least that the reviewer to read the piece and tell me what (s)he likes and what (s)he doesn't a why.
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you ever see that kind of remark on this site, report it. It is not constructive in the least, merely insulting, and will not be tolerated here.

    We tolerate (but do not reward) fluffy praise, but we will not permit gratuitous trashing. This is another reason to be specific. If you frankly state, "This is awful," but give specific reasons to support that conclusion, and possible remedies, you are actually helping the author improve, even if you have no good news to deliver.

    However, "Give up writing" is not an acceptable remedy.
     
  23. Fox Favinger
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    Fox Favinger Contributing Member

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    You know what hurts for me? When I feel someone is holding back.
    Granted I may think there's something wrong with my work when there isn't, but I'm the type is rarely satisfied with my own work. I strive to improve, I sometimes need a nudge in the right direction. A shove is fine too, just don't knock me off my feet!
     
  24. Runaway
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    Runaway Member

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    What hurts the most for me is when you give your review up for a critique, you're all excited and whatever because you think this will help you improve your writing, and then they say something like 'Good stuff, keep writing'. So I guess I'm like a lot of the forum users in that respect.
    Honestly I'd rather have anything over that. Hell, even a flame would be better to me, bc I always find flames pretty damn funny xD (i dunno why tho)
    Constructive reviews, positive or negative, make me ecstatic.
     
  25. PennyLane
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    PennyLane Member

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    Which hurts more? I'd say none as well. As long as it's constructive (ah people seem to just love this word!) and as detailed as possible. Nevertheless, there can be contradictions when someone you know is reviewing your work. As somebody stated already, the people who don't know you don't have any problem in being as nasty as mean as they want, but the people close to you don't want to hurt your feelings... and that might make them unnecerrassarily gentle.

    Personally, to let people read the texts I've written has always been a problem for me. I feel writing is highly personal. Although I write fiction I feel like there's always something of me in the story. If I know that I'd have to show my work to someone I know, it might even affect my writing. Gosh, this is a real problem. Maybe I'll start another thread to discuss this: Why do I feel embarrassed to show my work?
     

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