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  1. Harry Hogwash

    Harry Hogwash New Member

    Sep 15, 2014
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    Critique groups for a newbie

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Harry Hogwash, Sep 18, 2014.

    For the last twenty years or so I have wanted to write fantasy. I have started several times but it always seems to get put to the back of the queue and then left for very long periods.

    My English is terrible; although I am English born and bred my skills with the written word are not good. I was the 'good with his hands' type so have had appropriate jobs to go with that all my life.

    I hate wasting spare time so to do something constructive and enjoyable (and possibly eventually profitable) at the same time makes perfect sense. I have a job so money is not at the forefront of writing for me and if something I wrote sold I would value the notoriety and respect more than the cash.

    The only two things I think I have going for me as a writer are my good organizational skills and awesome imagination. I can daydream for hours and drift off to different places or worlds completely detached from reality. I can play out whole scenes up there in that empty space between my ears and have conversations with some very colourful characters. I would love others to enjoy the places I visit, there is a lot to offer up there, it’s just getting it onto paper in a way that represents what’s happening between the ears.

    I understand from reading various forums etc that a good way to get started is join a critique site, this scares me, how the hell can I critique someone else’s work when I can barely get my own ideas down on paper? How does it work for beginners? Any advice in this area would be appreciated.

    Harry Hogwash
    Ivana likes this.
  2. peachalulu

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Hi, Harry welcome to the group!
    The great thing about critiquing is you don't have to be in writer mode just in reader mode. Just read the story and anything that sticks out as odd - a sentences rhythm that sounds off, dialogue that doesn't sound real, a rough transition between scenes, dry description, anything that is isn't made clear - just point it out. You don't have to be a grammar expert or know all the terms. Most readers don't but they will notice when they trip over a sentence because something isn't modifying something right, or gaping errors like someone's gun on page 2 has turned into a knife on page 3 or the fact that the mc has no real goal.

    I was nervous as could be when I started on this site 2 years ago. But it's actually quite easy and everyone is friendly and very helpful. Just don't be too hard on the writer or too easy. Tactfullness is the key.
    Harry Hogwash likes this.
  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    May 1, 2008
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    Puerto Rico
    Dearest Harry Hogwash,

    Firstly, welcome! :) We're generally an agreeable bunch here, so go easy, my friend. Secondly, what @peachalulu tells you is correct. We all begin at the beginning. But the thing you have on your side as that your interest in writing almost assuredly points at an interest in reading. If you are an avid reader, then you have all the tools you need. You are the end customer for the product. You are the one who decides if a book gets consumed in a single afternoon for being so good, or if it lingers in a pile of other unfinished books because it just didn't grab you.

    Don't get overly worried about grammar and syntax and the like. There are Grammar Police and Syntax Officers aplenty in this (and any other) writing forum. What are few in number are individuals willing to indicate how a piece felt to them, related to them, enticed them or repulsed them or confused them or bored them. The internal lingo of this world is something you will pick up in no time at all. You will learn it, you will use it, and you will eventually discard it for the locker-room dick measuring that it is. I say this so that you don't get intimidated when you see people bandying terms about. That's all just a game unto itself. I know because I've played. ;)

    Speak simply, honestly and frankly (but politely) and you'll do fine.


    PS. I would be remiss were I not to give you the link to the New Member Quick Start where you will find some important information regarding our site. :)
    Harry Hogwash likes this.
  4. HoraceCombs

    HoraceCombs Member

    Sep 16, 2014
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    USA, Illinois Chicago
    You have been writing fantasy So you can also join online face to face critique group this will also help you to increase your grammar. You can take tips from them about writing.
  5. bossfearless

    bossfearless Active Member

    Jan 23, 2014
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    Hi Harry. To echo what others have said, just say whatever comes to mind. If you don't think a real detective/knight/sailor/pharmacist would say or do something that's in a story, just say so. Draw upon your real world, working with your hands knowledge and let a writer know if they skipped something important.
  6. Komposten

    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

    Oct 18, 2012
    Likes Received:
    No one on the forum expects everyone to post detailed 5-page critiques. Everyone who's here has a different level of experience and a different train of thoughts. Start out small and simple, just so you feel you're comfortable with it. Then as time passes and you gain in experience you can start exploring and analysing more. Critiquing, just like writing, is a skill you have to learn, and the best way to learn it is to do it. One step at a time.

    (Just realised this thread is from Sep 20, but gah, who cares?)

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