I’m not here to make you a better writer

Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by Wreybies, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Sifunkle

    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Well, in the case I mentioned (yep, you @doggiedude :)) it was the absence of any response that made me think I'd trod on toes.

    'Like' is appreciation/acknowledgement you can show with a single click when you don't have anything to type back. And there are those like @LinnyV who like collecting them - it's effortless to do, so if someone's earnt the approval why grudge them a Like even when you also comment back? I view it like I would smiling or nodding during conversation. If someone talks to me and never does either of those things, I start feeling uncomfortable.

    You can also look at someone's 'Likes Received' statistic (or particularly the ratio of Likes-to-Posts) to get an idea of how helpful they are, or how much their opinions reflect the general consensus, which can be helpful in interpreting feedback from them. Obviously it's not a perfect index - they might be funny but not helpful, they might have made heaps of posts before the Like system was implemented, they might be unlucky in that people that approved of their posts didn't click Like, etc - so I'd generally still judge each post by its merit rather than the reputation of the poster, but it's a fallback.

    And if you click onto a thread and don't have time to read through a whole lot of lengthy posts, looking at the number of Likes each has collected gives an idea of which others have appreciated most.

    I feel so Gen Y right now. Maybe I'll start a netiquette blog.
     
  2. No-Name Slob

    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I got an email notification that you tagged me in a post, @Wreybies. When I clicked the link, it said I didn't have permissions to view it, and I thought it a glitch. Now I'm hoping you didn't tag me in this thread :unsure:
     
  3. hawls

    hawls Active Member

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    It's been interesting reading everyone's perspective on the value and function of this particular writing forum, especially coming from the culture of another writing forum from years back.

    How you approach the forums and what you get out of it is personal. So long as you are respectful of the other people who use it, your varied philosophies only add value to the forums as a whole.

    I've really enjoyed my time here so far and I appreciate that a resource like this exists.
     
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I'm another one who completely disagrees with this.

    There are very specific times when authors are actually in competition with each other - like when two books are with a publisher's acquisitions department, and they only have space for one. But come on, how rare is that? The rest of the time, we're pulling each other up as we go.

    I was thinking about this on my commute this morning, before I read your post. I'm a big fan of Tess Gerritsen, and I remember reading a recommendation from Karin Slaughter on Tess's book covers. I bought a Karin Slaughter book. I didn't like it, but if I had I would have carried on buying every book of Gerritsen's AND every book of Karin Slaughter's. That's how most readers work.

    I can't remember who it was but I recently saw a letter from an established author to a newbie. It ended with something like "We're not in competition. They'll just add more bookshelves!"
     
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  5. Oscar Leigh

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if it's something that might not be so opinion based?
     
  6. Oscar Leigh

    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the key thing with likes is not to do them always, if you reply you don't have to. But that if you feel it's not worth a reply it's more practical for your time to just give a like. It's also quicker for the other person to understand and there's no possibility they think you didn't like it. So don't feel beholden to likes, and obligated to like things, just that it's a good way of doing things. I think most people are okay with just like or reply so you don't have to do both.
     
  7. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    This. A writer's intentions don't mean squat if other people don't pick them up from the writing itself.
     
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  8. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    "the only correct response when the writer disagrees is "Thank you.""
     
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  9. Mumble Bee

    Mumble Bee Custom Title. Contributor

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    You're half right.
     
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  10. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Thank you.
     
  11. IlaridaArch

    IlaridaArch Active Member

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    Well at least you could give me a grade of burbee damnit. I didn't pay my scholarship for this.

    *proceeds with teen rant
     
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  12. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, that's where it can get a bit sticky. You want so much to correct them—and you are absolutely right. Romans certainly had slaves.

    However, what you should try to do instead, with a critique like this, is figure out a way to convince the NEXT reader that the Romans did have slaves. Sometimes it just takes a wee tweak or a sentence or two, to make your story more convincing to a person who doesn't know the history like you do.

    What is interesting here is that one person read your stuff and didn't believe it. What you take on board from the critique is that some people are ignorant of history. I'd say do what you can to ensure that the next person doesn't get the wrong end of the stick as well.

    I also write historical fiction, and have run across this sort of thing, by the way. I've had to take a lot of what I know to be true about my historical period and do a little extra to put it in context for people who either don't know the period at all, or know enough to think they know it all.

    There is no point in arguing with the critique-giver. Just do your best to alter your MS enough so nobody else makes their mistake.
     
  13. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's another good point. I've had this happen to me with a few of my betas who missed a bit of information I'd tucked away, happy that I'd set the situation up properly. However, they missed it, and ended up picking the whole thing up wrongly.

    Rather than saying oh, you were skimming, it's actually THERE if you just look, I have gone back and made that important bit stand out more. Just an extra remark about it from a character, or an extra sentence from the POV character noting the event or reference usually does the trick. It doesn't hurt to nail something like this a bit more tightly to the script.

    Sometimes a writer also needs to address the reason why some readers are skimming.

    If you've set up a situation the reader is very interested in following, then stalled it by inserting lots of stuff the reader doesn't really want to know at that point, you probably need to work on making better transitions. The trouble with cliffhangery endings to scenes or chapters is that you really do need to deal with the cliffhanger the minute you start the next chapter or scene. If you don't, the reader may be tempted to skip forward and rejoin that particular thread.

    Instead of ending with cliffhangers, take the time to round off the scene or chapter with something that temporarily closes the action, but which also makes the reader want to keep going. It's tricky to do, but it's one of those issues a writer probably needs to manage.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
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  14. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I think this is where multiple readers are essential. If 9 people get something perfectly and the 10th missed it, I wouldn't necessarily change a thing. I would if it was just a sentence or two, as @jannert says. But I've had people totally off the mark from really big, flashing, neon things, even people that I know didn't skim (easier to tell when you're exchanging MSs and using track changes). I don't want to patronise nine people to please a tenth.

    For example, my latest novel. Eight people read my draft first chapter, and I asked each one of them how they felt about the main character. Seven of them said she was sweet, funny, positive, generous, kind--very consistent feedback along those lines. One of them said she was a whiny, selfish bitch. From her comments I worked out she'd known and hated someone the MC reminded her of. I could have gone through every sentence and made sure there was no doubt the MC wasn't whining or being a bitch, but I didn't think that'd leave me with a stronger manuscript OR would have won that eighth person round. So I didn't change anything.

    I'm always confused by people who only have one, two, or even three beta readers, and don't want any more. IMO, it's just not enough.
     
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  15. VynniL

    VynniL Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dude, don't hurt yourself hitting the like button, seriously. If it means little to you, then it will mean little to me. I will still think you're a nice person despite me sounding cranky earlier. Similar to Wayjor, I thought you didn't like me at all. I was also shocked that you mentioned me in the say something nice thread. :ghost:
    You're all missing the point. I am referring to likes on workshop threads. That is my point. People are always whining about how they don't get critiques or there's this sense that there is not enough critiquing. You would think people would try to being encouraging.

    Maybe it is just me, I like hitting the like button and follow it with a personal thank you. It makes me happy to let people know clearly that I appreciated them making an effort. I genuinely value even 1 minute of someone's time spent on anything of mine, be it my writing or a thread I posted for help. I do it with the hope that I am spreading positive energy, and that they will continue to feel welcomed in contributing.

    Shussshhh!!! I've tried to keep it top secret until now, but I only come to this forum to play the LIKE GAME. My husband thinks I am demented, but I am like bored! hehe

    Before I popped onto here, a lady I didn't know on the other forum sent me 5 likes for some silly posts I made and called me a 'deep old soul'...okay, I would prefer not be called old, but I got her point. It made me smile. I come online to collect smiles, not likes. Likes do make me smile though. :)

    On a more serious note: It is a measure that people cared enough to let me know they appreciated my efforts. It's scary enough to give reviews since some people like to throw mud when they don't hear what they want. I'll always choose to spend my time where I know people are receptive and likes are a good indicator.
     
  16. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've actually noticed people being much more generous with the "likes" in the past few months/year. The culture has shifted! It now seems like a sort of automatic acknowledgement, at least from some - I've read what you've written, here. I feel like others (possibly older members?) tend to use it more as an emphatic agreement.

    I don't think either way is better. Just different.
     
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  17. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Well, I'm now going to pay much more attention to likes. If you don't like my posts you will go on My List of Enemies. You don't want to know what happens when you go on My List of Enemies.

    If I like a post of yours, please take it as an endorsement and feel free to refer to it in your CV/resume.

    If I don't like a post of yours, please take it as a deliberate snub and assume I hate you and all your current and potential issue.

    Also, I think we should be able to like our own posts because I always totally agree with what I write. Unless I'm being a facetious twat.
     
  18. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am SO hoping that nobody "likes" @Tenderiser's post...
     
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  19. TopherT

    TopherT Member

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    Fair enough. Everyone has their own opinion (or should have), and they all deserve equal amounts of respect, well, unless there's a right-wing agenda in one of the opinions.

    So, it's settled? Everyone here will act all pally and chummy and I'll stab you all in the back if I have half a chance. :p
     
  20. TopherT

    TopherT Member

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    Good grief! All this time spent debating "likes"

    I've been here for about 6 months (give or take), and I think I've only pressed "like" once... and I think my finger slipped.
     
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  21. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, sure - giving succour to the enemy is a capital offense during war time! You need to stay strong.
     
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  22. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I've stuck a post-it note over the bottom right-hand corner of my screen, to ensure I can't weaken and give a like.

    It also means I don't know what date or time it is, and I think I might have lost my job, but whatever.
     
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  23. TopherT

    TopherT Member

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    Or it could be a ploy to cause ripples of a false sense of security, before the dagger gets unsheathed.

    Who can tell.
     
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  24. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    I did, but only to be difficult
     
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  25. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    We need a "dislike" button for times like this...
     

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