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  1. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    Do I even deserve a chance?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Ted Catchpole, May 16, 2020.

    I am a blogger writing his first novel. It is a fictional novel focusing on the dormant trauma in young British men raised in Church of England education and the unacknowledged loss of faith going unchecked.

    However, on my blog, which is very important to me someone has attacked me, via Facebook (where else?) attacking my grammar and style in a really ugly way.

    I do not know what to do, who to turn to, what advice to believe. I have a small but friendly following and normally people like my articles. They vary in complexity from daft lists to social analysis. If you would be willing to suggest how I can get honest feedback and at the same time interact with valuable people so I can grow and contribute.

    I would love some feedback or advice on anything. As you can imagine I am pretty downtrodden right now. It is true when they say that 1 insult trumps 100 compliments

    Thanks
     
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  2. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    Once you have met the qualifications, you can post your work here for critique and analysis. Those requirements are 2 weeks membership and 2 critiques for each piece you want to post. If you don't want to wait 2 weeks, you can also buy supporter membership, although you'll still need to do the critiques.

    And just because one troll attacks you on Facebook, that's no particular reason to get disheartened. Social media is full of trolls who will attack you because your puppy isn't cute enough.

    Of course, you may well get harsh critiques on this site, but they will (or should be) constructive and point you in the right direction to improve.
     
  3. Madman

    Madman Senior Member

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    There will, in most cases, be rough critics when you publish something. If you have taken the step to write, you of course deserve a chance!

    I have not read your blog, but keep posting, and if someone lays out valid criticism, learn from it and improve. But don't stop if someone treads on you!
     
  4. Hammer

    Hammer Contributor Contributor

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    Hi @Martin James, and welcome to the forum

    One of the things you need most as a writer is a thick skin. This is a very friendly forum and most, if not all, of us are in the same boat; whenever you put a piece of work "out there", there will always be someone who disagrees with the content, doesn't like your style, or notices some piece of spelling/grammar that you have got wrong. Kinda goes with the territory.

    You have to put up with it, learn from it, and become a better writer.
     
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  5. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    Thanks. Since he said it I have ordered some books and downloaded some materials on run-on sentences. The book is called The Elements of Style by Strunk. I am told it is a must. I have also scoured through my articles for examples and tried to change. So I guess I want to profit from the facts and forget the insults, but it stings. It is like when I sold articles to listverse. the comment section...my God how do people get so vitriolic about a list?!
     
  6. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    Yeah I see what you mean. It was just the malign essence of it. It was a lively but friendly chat on a film page and he just swooped in and changed the whole tone. Like I said though, I have tried to profit from it. I will scour the archives here. I hope to find someone who can stop me repeating a mistake until it becomes nature. Like learning to use cutlery, get it wrong too much and its in muscle memory and I guess the same applies to writing.

    Thanks for your advice
     
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  7. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    Okay thank you for explaining. that is helpful. I will ensure that as a member I give as muchc, or more, thank I take. It has already been rewarding to be hearing from people. I am happy with criticism, especially when I ask for it, but maybe another thing I will learn from it is how to move on from it.
    Thanks for your reply
     
  8. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Grammar can be learned. Style can be found. Even if yours was the worst in the whole world (which it's not), they are skills that you can practice and master. Don't deprive yourself of the chance to give something to yourself and others just because some ass hole decided he was going to take out his bad day on you. You can write a novel if you want, and if it's bad (which it will be because every first novel is but that's 100% okay), you can gain more skill and edit it later.

    You can do it. It might take some time, but you can do it.
     
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  9. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    First??? You mean I may have to write two. Oh lordy!
    I think I have my style and, I guess my fear is if I polish it up with the perfect grammar etc it may kill it. for example I used to be a salesman for a chain electrical store, because I was xmas staff first, I did not get to go on the training course for a long time. I was doing really well, and then when I was sent and I was taught how to do it in a structured way, my sales and performance plummeted. They replaced my style with procedure.
    I am of course going to look at it but I have a way, I like description, I build with adjectives and nouns and I guess the trade off is my dialogue is sketchy.

    I have ordered a book on someones recommend that is supposed to be like a bible for folk like me called The Element of Style, don't know if you have heard of it. I hope to take all I can from that.

    Thank you for your kind words
     
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  10. Xoic

    Xoic Active Member

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    Trust me, most of us are well aware of Strunk and White. An excellent choice sir!
     
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  11. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Pimpin' ain't easy, but it sure is fun.... Contributor

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    I wouldn't sweat it. In fact, if you're not pissing off/offending somebody, you're probably doing something wrong. Not that the Internet heroes count... those dudes are gutless little eunuchs that don't have the balls to say anything to real life.
     
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  12. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    Thanks
    It was the fact that this guy clearly (or evidently) knew what he was talking about. Citing run-on sentences, grammatical errors (I think he was doubling up there) and "misplaced words" (I did not know there was such a thing) and if he had told me I was doing it as a suggestion, I probably would not have minded, but it was the ranking and the attacking.
    If he had just insulted me I would have been ok, he just seemed to know his stuff and that made it far more authoritative.
    Misplaced words though, just didn't get it. It is not like I said "Spacey's portrayal of Sgt Jack Vincennes was impressively potato". It was all linear.
     
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  13. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    I have heard a lot of great things about it. Just a shame it is not arriving for so long
     
  14. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    Well, when you can post in the Workshop, we can start providing some feedback.

    In the meantime, you can get a head start by doing critiques for other people's work, which you will need to do to be able to post your own work.

    Just because someone appears to know their stuff, doesn't mean they're not a troll. Just means they're a troll with A-Level English.
     
  15. Xoic

    Xoic Active Member

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    If you click on Quote and then Reply under the post you're responding to you'll get this effect, which makes it far easier for people to understand who and what you're responding to. Word to the wise.

    It sounds like you got a catastrophic call to action. Sometimes it happens that way, rather than a gentle nudge, but you can slingshot from it into an altered orbit and use it as impetus to power your learning curve. Weird mixed metaphor, but I kinda like it, awkward as it is!
     
  16. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    Like this?

    I did wonder if that was going to come out all fingers and feet. I think you are right. After all, I would not have been here, would not have ordered that book, and not have re-edited a bunch of my articles that night had he not said it.

    I like your metaphor
     
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  17. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    So I can see others stuff while I am a new member? I did not realise, I must have misread. What are the best forum headings for that?
     
  18. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    From the home page, scroll down until you see the blue "Writing Workshop" banner.

    Under that, you'll see Short Stories, Novels, Poetry etc.
     
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  19. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm a bit late to this particular game, but the other members have given good advice. As for what happened that brought you here, remember that idiot sniper trolls are self-replicating and they aren't going anywhere. They will be there to take potshots at you, at me, at famously well-received writers whose books sell like hotcakes. They are a sad result of our wish to maintain as much freedom as possible.

    But let's say that within whatever schlock that person posted at you there were indeed some grains of truth, however brutishly delivered, you've come to a good place. The critiquing culture here is neither made of Care Bears dousing you with Skittle Rainbows, nor is it an overworked Bond Villain tank of laser-guided psychotic sharks. Take what you learn here and whatever other similar venues you frequent as armament against such sniper fire because - barring a randomly non-sequitur drive-by - even the most scathingly presented "critiques" can be translated into something constructive, and that's how you diminish the impact, by turning it around and making it serve your purpose, not the other person's.
     
  20. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    I, too, am late to the party, but that's kind of a description of my entire existence.

    I can provide some insight from my own experience. I came here after getting started on a novel, my first after years of writing short stories of only occasionally good quality. Mostly I didn't know how to write good. ;) I got past the critique-others'-work requirements quickly (it turns out that I can could offer insight to others' work better than I could critique my own writing), and started posting things for others to provide feedback on. And then the crickets started singing. Seriously, no views, no nothing, where other people were getting feedback. I didn't know what to think. Had I done something wrong? Were my posts not being seen? Had I offended someone and was on some secret list somewhere? It was high school all over again.

    I whined in some feedback group, and someone took pity on me (it might have been @Hammer) and provided a bit of feedback. More started coming in. Soon I was getting more and more commentary, all of it useful, most of it well-delivered. A lot of it hurt, because they were right. But I'm a tough old bird, and took it. I bashed on my own work, tuned it up to follow the advice, and could see myself that it got better. So I did more revising, got more critiques, and the cycle continued.

    Now, a scant eighteen months later, half of which I was on hiatus due to work, I'm approaching 60K words on my novel, and am (mostly) writing decent, well-crafted material that I can self-edit. Once in a while I post something where I need assistance, such as a recent thing about the description of a dress that felt dry to me. Or when I need ideas from the hive mind about character development. I'm not saying I'm suddenly an excellent writer, but I can say that my writing has improved to the point that people consider it readable (or so I hear).

    The best advice I think I can give that no one else here has pointed out (opting, instead, for other excellent advice) is to take time. First novels, well produced, require years of effort. Apparently tenth- or twelfth-novels can be cranked out at whatever speed you type over a few days, spit polished, then sent for publication. I'm not there yet.

    Welcome aboard. See you in the workshop.
     
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  21. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    Thank you

    I like it here. It is nice to hear truths but without insults
     
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  22. Ted Catchpole

    Ted Catchpole Member

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    After seeing the banned Skittle ad (if you have not seen it, go on youtube, you will not believe someone actually made that and finished it. It is hilarious) I am scared of Skittle Rainwbows.

    I have been regularly visiting the workshops and reading and reviewing. I really like it here. you have all been so welcoming without being "LOL luv u hunni wassup babes" and so right about losing the bile and taking the message from said git. this is what I have done, and it bought me here! I also have downloaded and read some material from .edu's on run-on sentences and clauses. So I have defuinitely taken the best I ican.

    Thank you and I look forward to you all destroying my sentimental and cloying work!
     
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  23. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Senior Member

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    This is where all the cool kids hang out.
     

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