1. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Who do you ask?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jwatson, Aug 11, 2009.

    Who do you ask when it comes to reading your work?
    I have not yet and I don't plan to any time soon but I honestly don't know anyone who is knowledgeable when it comes to writing, except for those on these forums...
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    JWatson,

    While it is often beneficial to have a fellowwriter review one's work, don't discount a well-read reader's ability to provide insight as to what's working and what isn't. The reader may even be able to tell you why various aspects of a novel don't work.

    The value of a fellow writer often demonstrates itself when trying not only to identify concerns but recommend solutions.

    Terry
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    BUT...
    if that 'fellow writer' is not a seasoned pro, it can be [and too often is] more a case of doing harm, by the blind leading the blind, than of getting help from knowledgeable feedback and advice...

    which is one reason i always caution new writers to never ask friends, or anyone they're related to or sleeping with, for an opinion on their work... ;-)
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mammamaia,

    I would disagree with the notion that a fellow writer will most likely do more harm than good when reading and critting another writer's work.

    The writer, however, has to be thoughtful wise. Not all writers who offer a critique are equal. Taking advice from someone who is not competent or well read is foolish. Certainly the trick is to determine which is which. And, to be sure, not everything suggested by a fellow writer should be followed. It is up to the writer what to accept and reject--what makes sense and what doesn't. It's the writer's work, not the critting individual’s.

    And the writer has to be serious. They can't just be looking for praises and pats on the back and get upset and annoyed with even the slightest criticism--which does happen all too often.

    It should also be noted that it is not unusual in a forum for someone who received an unfavorable review to attempt to 'pay back' the original reviewer by shredding the reviewers' next or subsequent posts.

    A rule thumb that I use is that if several independent readers/crit partners come back to the same point (whether it's what is working or what isn't) with a piece, I recommend giving the concern/view serious consideration.

    I've received advice from my members of my crit group for a number of years, and I would hazard to say that it hasn't done more harm than good. We've moved from unpublished to various levels of agent represented/publication. Then again, to support my point, we don't admit just anyone who applies to join the crit group. We have a 'vetting process' as any well-functioning crit group should.

    Like anything else, as suggested a well-read reader can provide some insight. I have readers (who are not writers) for my stories and novels. They are co-workers and former college roommates among others. I am simply very careful who I select/request read my works. Also, it is very important that the writer is honest with himself and others when they take the advice and don't get defensive or upset when problems are pointed out. My readers also know that I will not necessarily agree with their opinions on a piece they read. It takes a writer with a professional attitude, and confident, mature readers.

    If the writer doesn't have that professional attitude about their work, they'll really struggle if they ever do have to work with a professional editor.

    Beyond that, Mammamaia, shouldn't you then be campaigning to shut down the crit section of this forum, since a lot of 'unseasoned' writers are doing massive amounts of harm to fellow writers every day? Or should there be some sort of rating system where only those deemed professional should be able to read and provide input to a posted piece?

    All that said, I don't fully disagree with your statement, Mammamaia, because you are correct in that a writer could easily be stalled in their writing growth, or even backslide, by taking seriously advice from those they should be ignoring.

    Sorry if I've gone a bit off topic from the original post, but learning to decide whom to trust and how to work with them is part of the learning process, one that a writer needs to master sometime.

    Terry
     
  5. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In general I treat all advice with a grain of salt, but there is a great deal of wisdom floating around in this forum, and since it's free, it's great.

    Crits are much better than the alternative, which is no peer review, and that means we will be droning out nonsense that even an amateur can point at and make note of all the common COMMON flaws.

    In the case of getting advice from guys and dolls like Terry or Mamma, their advice is like a pound of gold, and from an editor, ten pounds of gold. Heed the mighty words of the hands that feed.:)
     
  6. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Mammamaia is a published writer, and was a professional, paid editor. . She just does it for free now. Her words carry as much weight as anyone's.:)

    And we are definitely the blind leading the blind here. . There are a few posters who really know their stuff. As for the others, you just have to use your own judgment when receiving crits. How much harm is done is entirely up to the writer. It usually isn't too difficult to recognise very bad advice.
     
  7. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    I ask writers and readers
    My friend who is editing my manuscript is retired after years of teaching college English
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    so would i... and i never said that, did i?

    ...you're badly distorting what i said, terry, drawing conclusions that do not in the least reflect what i wrote... and i don't know why, since i've been respectful and complimentary toward you and the advice you give since you first arrived here...
     
  9. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mammamaia, this is what you wrote:
    How many seasoned pros are there on this website? (readers and/or writers) There are, but certainly in the minority.

    Sorry, if I misunderstood you, but in the context of the discussion, that is what I came away with.

    Terry
     

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