1. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    When to post ones work

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by yagr, Sep 3, 2014.

    Hi folks!

    When do you recommend posting your work? I can think of arguments for a wide range of times but truly don't know. I can certainly see how posting a piece after you've done everything you can to make it perfect makes sense. Any constructive criticism you receive at that point is clearly stuff you couldn't see yourself.

    On the other hand, especially for inexperienced writers or just folks who have longer to go than most, I can see how posting a first draft could be more helpful. No sense editing something brilliant out of your piece because you didn't recognize it as brilliant. Or you see a minor issue as something that needs your attention, but miss the elephant in the middle of your WIP.

    So, what do you think?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  2. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    I usually go with the first draft. That way, I leave some sentences, paragraphs that I'm not sure of. If members critisize them, I see I was right. Also, this way you sometimes get an in-depth critique, as in why is that part wrong etc. If I rewrote it earlier, I would know that it was bad, but I wouldn't find out WHY it was bad. I was just following my guts, but that's not sufficient enough I think, considering that I'm still an amateur. :)
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    The bonus of a first draft is that it will help you sort out where you're taking it. I posted the first draft of a thriller and most of my comments were beneficial because a lot were saying -too much humor not enough danger for a thriller. That helps me to redirect my story - either in category - I can no longer sell this as a thriller, or in actual story - if I'm going to sell it as a thriller I need to beef up the danger.

    Posting a polished draft though is also beneficial because even when you think you've got it all sorted out it really becomes an eye opener as to how much you've missed - but also where you missed it.

    I've posted both.

    Now, I mainly post first drafts. I know my weakness'. I'm choppy, and I can be ragged and sparse. So I want to see where I need to flesh things out. If you know some of your weakness' that's a big help in deciding what kind of piece you want to post.
     
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  4. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    I still haven't figured out my weaknesses (besides grammar and syntax). :(
    But I do know what my strenghts are. Or better said, I think I know what they are. o_O
     
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  5. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This thread should be stickied
     
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  6. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    A middle draft is what I've posted. I don't want to waste other members critique energy by correcting things I've just been sloppy about, spelling, paragraphs etc. Those are things I can usually pick up if I let it sit for a few days. People do get tired of reading the same piece over so you've only got 1-2 goes at getting some feedback. But then I also like to change the piece again before the final draft so it doesn't look too much the same as what I've posted here.

    I drafted an erotic piece last night. Already this morning I can see some serious horribleness, so I'm going to work on it a bit before I put it up for consideration. I want to post a decent effort and make it an entertaining read, but keep some of the final product to myself.
     
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  7. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    You folks are seriously awesome. I appreciate every response - and got something out of each of them. I should have asked the following in the original post but forgot.

    I have chapter one of my WIP in some sort of presentable form and am thinking about posting it in the workshop. It is the start of a young adult novel. Does it go in 'novel' or under the only YA section which is in 'short stories'?

    I've seen so many comments from others in critiques that don't like the voice because it sounds too juvenile, "...which is okay if it's a children's book I guess but I don't know what genre this falls into." Then I've seen folks post an explanation before their excerpt and receive responses that lambast them for giving any explanation at all, "Just post the work! I hate when people feel they need to explain their piece before they post it. If you need to explain it, you have more work to do."
     
  8. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    Yes and no. If you are posting an except from chapter 17, then clearly some backstory will help otherwise you'll get a lot of I cant tell what your story is about type comments. If you are posting the opening of a larger work then you might want to know how well your story premise is communicated in the opening pages and whether or not a reader will be interested in reading on.
     
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  9. JamesBrown
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    JamesBrown Active Member

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    I think the more time and effort you yourself have put into the work will reflect back on how much time and effort people put into critiquing it.

    I think you should have reached a point where you can no longer see anything wrong with it, just perhaps what you suspect might be.

    I agree you should post it with no more than a couple of sentences explaining any back story if it's later in the story. If it requires too much time to explain, then it's not worth posting it.

    Try and limit what you post to no more than between 1000 and 2500 words at the most.

    Don't put endless re-writes on the same thread. Unless someone was really into your work, the re-writes won't get much response.

    No literary Gods live here, nor dragons neither. Take and leave anything as you choose.
     
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  10. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Were it up to me,we'd have stricter guidelines for putting up work for review.

    1. No long preambles. No lengthy preemptive explanations. If you want to say hi, introduce yourself, or thank everyone ahead of time real quickly, go for it, but those, angsty, often indulgent, little gems have got to go. Reading them gets tiresome very fast. Just post your work, and see what happens.

    2. The work should be finished to the best of your ability. This means that behind closed doors (a term used by Stephen King, who would probably advocated what I am saying now) there's nothing else you can do with the work by yourself. You've written multiple drafts, edited to the best of your ability, and finished the story from start to finish. If you're concerned about spending all that time writing a novel, when you're not sure about the level of your writing, see point 3.

    3. Let each person write to the scope of his or her perceived ability. If you've posted completed, polished short stories, and the feedback back was pretty positive, at least in terms of the writing quality, then maybe you're ready to start a novel. If you've never gotten feedback on anything before hand, maybe better to start with a short story. Again, the less sure you are of your own writing, the shorter your work should be.

    I can name people here who obviously have been working hard. I'm not even necessarily a fan of their style or their works, but many people are, and even I will admit objectively speaking, the writing is of fair quality. The specific example I'm thinking of is a guy who only (to my knowledge) posts chapters from finished works that are near final draft quality. He's done all he can do, and now he wants to get a taste of how people will react to the whole, by giving us select snippets. This works for us, the other forum members, because the work is polished, and it exists in the context of a finished work (that means he's not going to swap the sex of the MC after you spend twenty minutes giving him advice about the story) and it works for him because he can easily implement whatever changes he feels necessary based on user comments.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I have seen people who are still trying to find their voice(at least a little), still working toward clarity, and they only post shorts. Their turnaround is quick, because the work is so short, and they can improve quickly.


    The way things are, it's complete anarchy. You got OPs making presidential speeches before they even post their work, you got random chapters, massive blocks of texts. You got people excusing their poor grammar and poor sentence structures, begging you to only judge the "story". You got people posting chapters from finished rough drafts of trilogies, telling you they're going to change that chapter anyway. Perhaps this is why the workshop is so lopsided in who gets critiques and who doesn't? The people I have mentioned above who I think exemplify the workshop process always get lots of reviews.

    There are exceptions to these rules, of course. Some people here are just really talented writers, and everything they post is a joy to read, even if its rough. That's why I would call 1-3 strict guidelines. I don't mean to be condescending or mean. But I really do think these guidelines or some variant would be helpful to everyone.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
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  11. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    At the moment what you say is correct. If you post a revision in the same thread you it is not likely that you will get as many reviews as you got the first time. This is being discussed in a thread at the "Suggestions and Feedback" forum. There are some pretty good suggestions on how to bring more attention to threads where the writer has posted revisions in order to attract new reviewers for the revisions (rather than only the earlier reviewers who get alerts).
     
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  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would say that the piece should be clean of flat-out errors that you as the writer acknowledge as errors. So, go over it as many times as it takes to kill errors in spelling, punctuation, grammar unless the variation on standard grammar is intentional, consistent naming for that character who started out as Jane and ended up as Sheila, and so on.

    Beyond that minimum, I think it depends on what you want. If you feel that what you want for a piece is a response to the first effort, I think that's fine.
     
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  13. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    If I may offer a perspective on this. You are undoubtedly a much better writer than I. I've read some of your writing. I'm told it takes a lot of work to become a good writer and I expect you've put in your time and earned it. Life is short, especially at my age and with my health issues. I may not want to invest the time to get that good - or even better. In fact, I may not even have enough time. But I have this story inside me. It tries to claw its way out of me, more or less continuously. Keeping that story inside is, at best, uncomfortable.

    I did a little research for my wife yesterday. She wants to go back to school. Veterinarian medicine is her calling. We're going to take a hit financially if she goes back to school, but it's something that she enjoys. How far should she take this education though? Well, she simply wants to work with animals in a vet clinic. What she does after that is of less interest to her. So, I examined the average annual salary for vet, vet tech and vet assistant as well as the cost of school for each. With that information, she's made a choice.

    Same thing here. I want tell this story. Cost might be really high though. I may have to study for the rest of my life to be sufficiently competent to do so well. What a horrid time to discover that the story wasn't worth telling or that no one is interested because it simply isn't as wondrous as I originally thought! So, yes, I can see why someone would want to research the little they have before investing in attaining the means to distribute something that might be worthless.

    And though I 'liked' your response to me, let me take a second and tell you how grateful I am that you took the time. Good response.
     
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  14. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    First off, you're too kind.

    My question to you is, what is it you're looking for specifically, if you don't mind my asking? Validation of your entire story, validation of the first chapter of your story, validation of the general concept?
     
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  15. yagr
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    yagr Contributing Member

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    Well, actually, I wasn't speaking of the current me. (A year or two ago perhaps) But I can understand the perspective. Using myself in the example was confusing, but I tend to tell jokes in the first person as well. :)

    <break for example>
    Last night I was over at my mom and dad's home. They had a big night on the town planned - dinner and the theatre. Dad was waiting on her to finish getting ready, as is custom in the yagr home, as mom stood in front of the mirror and said, "Honey, I'm getting old, fat and ugly. I sure could use a compliment." To which dad replied, "Well, your eyes are working damn near perfectly!"

    Anyway, I've decided that I'm just going to write and leave the results up to the universe. Today, I don't need to know whether the story is good enough for anyone else; it's good enough for me to write. Now I'm just going to work on getting it good enough to read. So, to that end, I'm posting to improve my skills in writing. Validation not required. Clarity however, that would be helpful.

    For instance, I posted a question about tenses - got a response, took the advice, posted chapter one of my work and promptly was advised to change it back. I don't know enough to know who to listen to.
     
  16. Christine Ralston
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    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    I shared the first draft of my novel with a few people and in retrospect wished I'd waited a few drafts. I only needed to step away from it for a couple of weeks before blatant errors became obvious to me. Future projects, I will hold off sharing until I've revised at least once.
     
  17. HopingAgain
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    HopingAgain Member

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    Though I am not the OP, I thank you all for your responses. It is interesting to see the opinions and advice before I am able to post my first piece for critique. Though I don't know what I will post, or when, this is definite food for thought.
     

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