1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributing Member Contributor

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    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by deadrats, Nov 15, 2016.

    This critique sucks. It actually pisses me off.

    Her: I wanted more.

    Me: More what?

    Her: Just more.

    Me: Like there's not enough here or the story should continue for longer? What was lacking?

    Her: I didn't know I was going to be asked questions like this.

    End of discussion.
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    My manager does this in PDR both with me and other team members "I need to see more from you"

    I used to stress about 'more what' till i decided that he's being a pillock and his opinion means little to me - I'd suggest taking the same road with this reader.

    That said if a book or story left me feeling that i wanted 'more' I think i'd be trying to verbalise a general sense of dissatisfaction with the story which can be difficult to put your finger on. Like sometimes you watch or read something and come away saying ' well it was okay but it wasn't all that'

    which is fine as a casual viewer/reader but as someone who's supposed to be giving crit I'd have to go back and look for specific examples where I felt a lack
     
  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Who is 'her'?

    It's clearly somebody inexperienced with critique. If she portrayed herself as an experienced critiquer then sure, that sucks. If not... I think you have to take responsibility?
     
  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    It also occurs to me that she might be inexperienced with short stories - due to the nature of the beast these can often leave someone who is more used to novels wanting 'more' . I remember feeling like that when i read the stuart mcbride short , sawbones , which left me thinking that it would make a great novel if he fleshed it out significantly
     
  5. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    *Bruhagra* (cough) ahem, should you name a critiquer in a negative way? I mean, even if she gave a bad critique, unless she personally attacked or insulted you I'd shy away from calling someone out by name.

    Congrats on the Administrater status, @Tenderiser
     
  6. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Was this critique-giver somebody whose opinion you really would value? And was this a face-to-face discussion, or one online?
    If you got the impression she didn't want to continue the discussion, then there isn't much you can do but let it drop (without rancor.) If you feel she's up to it, you could ask more specific questions. Maybe try to second-guess what she means—specifically, use character names, talk about specific plot points—and if you get it wrong, she might jump in and correct you.

    Some people have no idea how to give feedback. If they're not writing themselves, they may not know what you need from them. If you make it clear that you're looking for honesty from a reader, and that you WON'T get huffy or irritable at what they tell you, then maybe she'll come around and give you a more useful opinion.

    If you make your critique-giver nervous about your reaction, you'll put them off. So make it very clear that you will not hold anything against them. And then don't. They're doing you a favour, unless the critique is reciprocal.
     
  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Thanks! It's only for the short story contest, not an administrator in the usual sense of the word on forums :)

    I think you're right than in general, it's very bad form to criticise a critiquer. There are shades of grey... if you use a paid critique service and they said "I want more" and then ignored further questions, I think you'd be within your rights to complain, even publicly. Coming on WF to criticise a member of WF's critique would be totally unacceptable. It sounds to me like @deadrats's case is somewhere between the two extremes: 'her' is presumably not going to see this thread, but probably gave up her time to read and comment.
     
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  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's no one here. I would never do something like that. Truth is it is someone I'm close to. She wanted to read something new from me. This is someone who has read a great deal of my writing in the past and never been so unhelpful. I have no idea if she liked the story or not. I guess I was just venting. I get nervous about showing my work the way I imagine a lot of writers do. But this person literally wanted to read my story and have zero conversation about it. I thought this story was one of my best ever. Now, I'm second guessing myself. Maybe I should have just posted in the thread about why our loved ones aren't the best with critique. But when I posted there, this hadn't happened yet.
     
  9. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Ah, yeah. When people I know want to read my stuff I give it to them (barring my mother) and never follow up on it. If they come and tell me they finished it, fine. If they tell me what they thought, fine. But I don't ask... it puts them in such a tricky position if they didn't like it.

    Non-writers usually give the vaguest, most generalised feedback ("I liked it", usually) unless they're experienced beta readers.
     
  10. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going to keep saying this. Giving your work to those close to you? You're asking for trouble.
     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose Contributing Member

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    true , but refusing to give them your work can be sticky as well
     
  12. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    On the face of it, this exchange is worthy of Monty Python.

    Looking at it more closely, it sounds like she didn't understand what you needed from her. Family and friends can believe they're doing us a favor just reading our work; how dare we (oh my, oh dear!) ask them actually to think about it and give us feedback? She probably didn't realize she was going to be asked questions at all.
     
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  13. Jaiden

    Jaiden Member

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    Oh God yes, this a million times over. My mother, fantastically, thinks that writing is a waste of time that could be better spent reading (yeah..). I love her, but Jesus Christ. So she doesn't ask nor read anything. However, my uncle recently had a novel published (or self-published, I've yet to read it), and so my sister read it, and when asked for her opinion on it she wasn't sure why but she loved it and would give nothing further. I don't actually care if people read my work, I only have people read things so that my writing can get better. If I wanted a little pat on the head every time I did something, I'd be a dog.
     
  14. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Imagine stripping in front of a relative and asking them to give an honest appraisal of yourself in the nude and then trying to have a normal relationship afterward. That's more or less what you're getting when you give one of them a novel that you wrote.
    You've revealed something unique about yourself and whether they wanted to or not, they judged you. From my own experience, such intimate encounters ought to be sought out from a very significant other or from those who belong to a club such as WF or a writer's group in real life.

    For some added perspective, I would say that over 70% of the critiques I have received from other would be writers were very good and 100% of them were at least decent. In contrast, from acquaintances, friends, family, I'd say maybe 50% of those experiences were mediocre* and another 50% of those experiences were downright terrible.


    * it's very possible that the writer himself is at fault in mediocre exchanges. The enthusiastic friend reads it and even likes it, but because that person isn't an aspiring writer, there's sort of a disconnect on where to go from there, and so the writer is still frustrated.
     

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