1. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    What if you never received critique?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Cassiopeia Phoenix, Jul 1, 2012.

    I'm starting to get more comfortable in my skin as a writer and I started to show to people my work -- my real work, in Portuguese -- and no one critiques. I know my writing still has a long way to go and I know I still have to practice a lot but it feels as if I am shooting in the dark. I don't know where my weaknesses are, neither what I should practice on: Dialogue? Descriptions? Exposition?

    At this point, without any real critique, I am lost.

    Help...?
     
  2. michaelj
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    michaelj Senior Member

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    Hmm... It could be multiple reasons:

    1) Are you posting on portugese forums? If not, then people may have a hard time deciphering the language. Like wise how popular is the forum you're posting on? Is it active?
    2) Your work is so good that people don't feel the need to critique.
    3) Your work is so bad that people don't wanna read the work. (not saying this is the case btw..)
    4) You're not giving them enough time to critique.
    5) For example they may be into fantasy, you may be posting a romance story. (this is hypothetical, since I don't know what your story is)
    6) A lot of people get put off by sections with lots of text, they prefer small sections.
    7) Poor presentation maybe? I've seen people post chapters and it looks like a wall of text, if it makes your eyes bleed then people won't usually glance twice.
     
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  3. Solar
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    Solar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi.

    This is just an idea, but the internet may not be the
    best place for the feedback you need. You may benefit
    more from attending a local creative writing class or workshop.

    Though, I accept that it might not be an option for you, in which case
    the internet could be beneficial.

    Also, you can acquire text books on all the various different
    elements to creative writing and study them closely, combining it
    with close reading of exemplary literature.

    I'm just brainstorming.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    who/what are these people you're showing your work to?... family?... friends?... are they saying nothing at all about what they've read?
     
  5. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    Friends and family (originals). Unknown people on the internet (rewritten 50,000 words fanfic and is an AU where all characters are original aka my almost novel). And they praise, they said the writing is very good and it "draws the reader" and while it does good to my ego, I've got a lot to get better as I'm less than a year on creative writing.

    I know there are mistakes and there is something -- or a lot -- to improve. I just don't know what.

    And Solar, thank you very much for the suggestions. I'm currently researching books about writing... Though there aren't creative writing classes or workshops around where I live. I suppose it would be the best for me, getting help from a professional.
     
  6. rjhammond
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    rjhammond New Member

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    I think your being too hard on yourself. Just take your time and read over what you've written. Change what doesn''t make sense, do re-writes, then re-read it again. Once you do that, get it edited. Editor's will tell you right away what needs to be done to get it ready for publishing.
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ask your friends and family for critique - maybe they're holding back to spare your feelings?

    But I find that's useless anyway - you need to show your work to someone whose writing and opinion you respect, preferably someone who also writes. I have a friend whose writing I respect and I respect his analytical thinking even more than his writing I think - we used to critique books and films together to pass time and I've learnt that he can see things between the lines and take perspectives different to mine and yet they're often based on very good reasoning. So I picked him - I send him my work often. He's lazy to critique though, but often even his one comment of whether it's good or bad is enough to make me either go over my work again or settle and move on to writing the next scene, because I trust his judgement, and that itself is helpful. I also picked him because I know he's highly critical. Don't pick the lovely ones who will always tell you your work is beautiful.

    Of course I don't take his word as final - if I think something needs work I'll rewrite it til I'm happy, but it's rare that he'd like something mediocre.

    I'd say every writer has an idea of what they're bad at - so if you're so concerned, why don't you make yourself write things you know you're weak at and pass it onto writer friends and ask them how to improve the piece?

    Why don't you find a Portugese writer's forum or writing group?
     
  8. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I don't think they are holding back to spare my feelings, though. Probably because they aren't used to nitpick plotholes and dissect characters -- which is what I am looking for, since my grammar and spelling in Portuguese does go around near flawless, I've been told by teachers.

    It's hard, impossible even, to find anything in Portuguese about world building, tropes, character building and so forth because fantasy fiction around here is very underground yet. And no writing forums whatsoever. Which is why I am here, and one of the main reasons why I write in English sometimes. I have basically no friends who could do that for me and if I were to show my work to a teacher, most likely they wouldn't dissect the part I'm worried with: characterization, the plot, my writing of dialogues and my narrative in general instead of correcting my grammar which I am more than capable of doing alone while editing.

    I'm the critic of books in my friend circle... It's not rare for a person to say I ruined a book for them. :D

    Most likely I will stick to revising a few months old writing and see if I can take anything good from doing so. Truth be told, I am my worst (worse?) critic.
     
  9. Michelle Stone
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    Michelle Stone Member

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    It can take a long time to build a network of people who are willing to critique your work. I've had similar issues. One trick that worked for me was to pass very short pieces or chapters to people I respect. I also supply specific questions on my work which can easily be answered for friends/family. Sometimes they are hesitant to respond because they don't know what to say. Questions can help.
     
  10. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Okay so I thought you were joking cleverly by saying your stuff is obscure and that's why it's in Portuguese, but seriously... You speak,sorry, type, great English. Why are you posting in Portuguese, yo?
     
  11. Vsevolod
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    Vsevolod Member

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    Well, perhabs you ask Americans about Portuguese? Not all Americans know Portuguese.
    Germans don't know Portuguese too. Even I don't know Portuguese.
    Well, the best man who can give you the best critique is you. Thinking many and many times, spending lots of time can give you the best result. Or not.
    In Soviet Russia, the book writes you.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd suggest that you ask (1) writers, rather than friends or family, to critique (2) quite small pieces of a few hundred to a thousand words. It's hard to get a really detailed critique of a very long piece, and friends and family never seem to give decent critiques anyway.

    You said that you don't know writers in Portuguese, so one possibility is to write those short pieces in English and submit them to the Review Room. I realize that your writing is probably more fluid in your first language than it would be in English, but I think that you'd still probably learn some things from those reviews.
     
  13. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Okay. I'm not a shared account on any of the plethora of writing forums I'm on. jw @Vsevolod: What????

    ACtually @every post on this thread: What??? There're like a few things in each post that boggle the mind.
     
  14. The Hollow
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    The Hollow Member

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    In the critique section of this forum, writers tend to get great feedback from what I've seen. And not all of it is praise. So just translate your story into English (since you plainly can write in English...) and you'll probably get a lot more feedback from this particular forum. I'm going to go ahead and guess that most people on this forum speak English.

    I do not remember the name of this blog, but there is an active blog floating somewhere out there on the internet where this person - I forgot whether she's a literary agent or an author, since she posts a lot about both writing and publishing - will allow you to submit excerpts of your work to her and she will publish a critique on her blog. It's very helpful, and she does it on a weekly basis. You might want to Google that.

    Just don't skimp on critique, though, especially if you're trying to publish something. I did that and found out after I had submitted my writing that I had a very obvious typo a few paragraphs in that I somehow on Earth didn't see...get your stuff looked at.
     
  15. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Seriously michaelj started it all. Are you posting Portuguese for English speakers.

    @THeHollow: yeah crits help with not just typos but changing freakin everything. even if the critters don't know what they're talking about, it helps. Your target audience isn't filled with people who know what they're always talking about. Critting slash crits help!
     
  16. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going to hazard a guess that people just don't want to read 50,000 words of draft. Give them a section here or there, and see what they think. If needed, give a CliffNotes (SparkNotes for the younger crowd) summary to catch them up and set the scene. I promise you that any mechanical issues that you have in chapter 5 will also be present in chapters 1-4 and 6-whatever.

    Even in the review room forum here, you'll see that 5k and 6k word stories get much less traffic than 1k excerpts. It takes time to review and critique, and asking for 50,000 words worth is asking a lot.
     
  17. ck1221
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    ck1221 Member

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    That brings up a good question. Can family or friends really be impartial? Not they're intentionally lying, but can they be as honest as someone who doesnt know you. And the other thing is, if you post your work on the internet(such as forum boards), isnt that considered "published".
     

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