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  1. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    How do you choose which excerpts to have critiqued?

    Discussion in 'Editing' started by NiallRoach, Nov 5, 2016.

    For those of you who put excerpts up for critique on the workshop; how do you choose which parts to post?

    I'm fairly confident with my novel as a whole, but I want to see if there's anything someone else might spot which I'm too close to and crops up repeatedly.
     
  2. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I haven't posted anything here but I once ventured to post a very short excerpt of a novel I'm working on on my blog (also not here). I was expecting someone to reply "Lady, don't quit your day job", but I had a very good comment instead! From a stranger, no less! That was wonderful! :)

    I chose that excerpt because it was a battle scene, and since I'm not good *cough*I suck*cough* at battle scenes I had rewritten it some twenty times already. I was asking for blunt, merciless honesty, in hopes that someone might say something to help me with it. I tried to start the excerpt in a part where it was relatively easy for readers to pick up the story and I ended it in a part where it felt like a little "conclusion" to that bit.
    In short, I chose a part that was giving me headaches because I wanted help, not praise.
     
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  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I usually choose something that's still very nascent and not very formed. Firstly, this alleviates the issue of having parts of my novel posted online. What you see posted isn't even close to how the scene will end up. Secondly, I sift through the comments for things that help give me direction for my ideas.
     
  4. U.G. Ridley

    U.G. Ridley I'm a wizard, Hagrid

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    I'd say whenever you attempt to write something out of your comfort zone it can be nice to get feedback just so you don't write yourself in the wrong direction. You should also only post first draft samples, so basically samples that will ultimately be cut from the finished product or at the very least heavily altered. Like @Wreybies said, you don't want to post your novels online since that can be a problem with publishers later. If you're happy with a piece you've written, don't post it. Anything I'm genuinely happy with I keep as it is until I have a "full" product that can be beta-read so that I can get feedback on the work as a whole, rather than just the sample.

    From my experience on this forum and others, the best way to be critiqued is to have a specific thing in mind. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't allow critics to point out whatever they want, it just means that you should have a specific thing you want to get better at at a time. For example, if you struggle to write scenes with a lot of tension, post a sample where that is the main point of the scene. I often find that I don't even need suggestions on what I can do to fix my problem, I just need critics to tell me how they felt about the piece and what seemed off to them, and I can usually figure it out with some dedication. You don't want to be dependent on critics to make a good product, it's not their job to make sure your book is good, so if someone says that they didn't like your dialogue or your action scenes or whatever it may be, because they're "too much of this" or "too much of that", don't try to make them give you examples on how to fix it. Figure it out. ;)
     
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  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I post my first scenes/chapters, depending on length. That first impression is so crucial, so that's the bit I want the most opinions on.

    Beta readers will identify problems with the rest, including any parts I'm troubled by. I don't see the point in posting something from the middle of a novel and asking for anything but SPAG/mechanical critique - it's impossible to accurately judge anything else without knowing what's come before. Even if you posted a scene and asked something simple like "Is this scary?", you won't get accurate answers: scariness depends on the mood that's been set up to that point, the reader's investment in the characters, and so much more.
     
    U.G. Ridley likes this.
  6. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    Lucky me, I write mostly short stories, so I don't have to pick excerpts :D

    The snippet of a novella that I shared on here was a piece that I thought might have a specific problem. That's how I'd usually do it: if you think there's an issue, find a part that exemplifies that issue and post it. I also really liked the "share your first three sentences" thread since openings are always something that need work, so that could be an option - share your opening chapter, or first few paragraphs, however much feels right, just to see if it grabs.

    Since you're talking about your novel as a whole, though, finding a beta to read the entire thing is probably the best thing to consider.
     
  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I don't post excerpts anymore, because they usually get nothing for feed back. When they
    do it is typically by vultures. So why bother. At least in my exp.

    But then again your writing is not as shitty is mine. :)
     
  8. Desertphile

    Desertphile Member

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    Pretty much the most important part of a book is the beginning; seems to me that is what most writers need to have critiqued.
     

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