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Receiving a Review

Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Cogito, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Christine Ralston

    Christine Ralston Active Member

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    Personally, I'd rather people tell me what's wrong with my writing (in a constructive way, of course) than say they absolutely loved it. I know I'm not perfect, so I don't want beta readers to praise me as though I am. I take any constructive critique seriously and learn from them.

    I also enjoy critiquing others and find that when I look for weaknesses in other people's writings, it helps me see my own weaknesses more clearly.
     
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  2. Hwaigon

    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Very warm words indeed.
    I sometimes feel that, when giving a critique, I'm offending the person for nit-picking on the weaknesses of their prose. I know the person shouldn't feel such as it's just my view which I do not present as the only legitimate view. So it's not only about accepting critique, the art also resides in giving it boldly but sincerely. There's a bit of finding who one is by reflecting the work of others.
    I'm happy to read so many sincere, encouraging posts.
     
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  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say there's more than just a bit. ;)
     
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  4. Hwaigon

    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Sometimes it's even a huge bite, right? :)
     
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  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It can be. :) I think the way a person approaches giving critique says volumes about that person's willingness, expectation, and aspirations to improve themselves as writers. You can't make anyone else a better writer. You can't. The only person who can do that is the person themselves. Giving critique is one of the best avenues to improving oneself, and your attitude and seriousness speaks about your maturity and openness to learning and applying that knowledge to your own work. A critic who is a complete dick in their critique is often the same person who takes offense to anything other than pure praise. The critic who is timid and apologizing as they squeamishly address one or two issues is often the same person who gets a strong, constructive critique that simply kills their drive to continue because they're devastated.

    I give pretty blunt critiques, but I try my best not to cross into the dick zone. :-D I treat each critique and each member as a mature individual, ready to hear the bad and the good, and discuss it, not fight or crumple.
     
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  6. superllama

    superllama Member

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    so, what i get from this post is that if you don't agree with what said critic mentioned about your work, the best thing to do is either not reply or simply say "thank you for your input." is that about right?
     
  7. superllama

    superllama Member

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    in my previous life s a restaurant manager we learned the term PCP. no, not the drug, but rather Praise, Correct, Praise. if you have a problem with the way someone is doing something, you always get a better response by complimenting them on one thing and then adding in "but in this area i think we can improve by doing..." or some such phrase. then you follow up with something else that they do well. it has been proven by some study that i can't recall at the moment that they take the criticism to heart and think about it more. it seemed to work well for me, at least.
     
  8. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Still, this thread is about receiving a critique. You have no control over how a person writes a critique, and you do yourself a disservice if you only pay attention to "gently wrapped" criticism.

    And the pretty wrappings may be bullshit, laid down just to cushion the blow. It's really a disservice to be told a piece of writing "shows promise" if was horrid from first word to final punctuation. Sometimes the truth is better. "This needs a lot of work." Isn't gratuitously cruel, but it doesn't sugar coat with insincerity either.

    Even if the critique starts with, "I had to smear mentholatum under my nose and wave the flies away before tackling this load of goat dung." (not an acceptable comment on this site, btw), you may find there are valuable insights brought up.
     
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  9. Adhulari

    Adhulari Member

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    And what if you're really scared of receiving criticism? Any tips on how to deal with that?
    I have read your posts and I understand that it is all about improving yourself as a writer - but seriously, the tiniest bit of criticism simply crushes me. It has gotten so bad that I haven't let anyone read anything I've written for years now. I know that it is childish, but I honestly don't know how to get over it.
     
  10. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Could you start by singling out one member of the forum whose critiques you find useful and honest, but not unkind, and ask them to do it privately via PM? Perhaps that would be easier than being critiqued publicly. Then you could slowly work up by showing more and more people until you're ready to post publicly.

    I don't think your feelings are childish, by the way. A good writer puts their heart and soul into their writing, and having your heart and soul reviewed is pretty scary!
     
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  11. Hubardo

    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think @Tenderiser 's advice is great. Personally I like brutal criticism but it took me a long time to get there. Nowadays, the more brutal the more I think I will learn about myself and my writing process. At first I was very defensive almost to the point of arrogance. Can't they see that my intentions were to achieve this outstanding effect for the reader? From that POV, the reader was at fault for not seeing that I was a great writer. After a few blows to my ego I accepted defeat and admitted that my writing was not that great. That's when I started to get better. I decided that these criticisms were about poor writing mechanics such as grammar and sentence structure, not me as a person. People who said my stories were not very interesting weren't saying that I had a poor imagination or I was unintelligent. Nobody was calling me names but I took it that way; that was something I was doing to myself. If you can find a way to get courageous and share your writing and actually welcome criticism, you can learn a lot about yourself and your writing by seeing how you interpret the feedback. See where you amplify the negatives unnecessarily. Maybe that's more an issue with being insecure or having low self esteem, which doesn't have much to do with writing. If you feel insulted personally or that you are being attacked within some core part of you, notice that. Most of the time people really are not attacking YOU, but many of us turn the gears in our heads to make it that way. Receiving criticism for your writing can be hard but like anything else in life it can be transformed into a learning experience beyond just writing. It can help you become a better person.
     
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  12. wellthatsnice

    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    i think @Tenderiser gave good advice. Your confidence is something that you are going to need work on as much as you work on your writing style. Its going to be hard for you to improve without taking some criticism from your peers and friends. Also, if you have even a sliver of a hope that some day you may be published, then you are going to need to take criticism. Even if you write the greatest novel ever written. A book that 99.9% of the people who read it love more than they love their own children. There will still be a segment of the population who will give it a bad review. This is something that you cannot escape.

    If this is issue that has gotten as bad as you say, i suggest that you try to share something very small. Maybe submit a book title idea, or an opening line. Something that doesn't leave you feeling over exposed, but can begin to help you feel more comfortable sharing. As you get a bit more comfortable you can increase the amount you share.
     
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  13. Selbbin

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    You don't get tough feet by keeping them in your shoes. Walk barefoot and take the pain until they toughen up.
     
  14. Adhulari

    Adhulari Member

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    Thank you all for the advice. Small steps it is, then. I will try that.

    You are right, I tend to take it very personally. Self-confidence has been an issue for me in general for a long time, but it has gotten much better. When it comes to my writing, though...

    Thank you for understanding and the advice :)
     
  15. EMIN3M

    EMIN3M New Member

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    Honestly, I thought this post needed a review.
    So here's mine:

    1. Please include end-rhyme. I had difficulty capturing the nuances you presented.
    2. Your internal rhyme isn't on the level of most MC's, but I'll give you props for your writing's legitimacy. Please patch it up, though. Reinforcing the point never hurts.
    3. Finally, your flow is choppy, man. COME ON! This is 2016, for Pete's sake. I suggest changing some ambiguous writing to facilitate fire-spitting.

    Hope this helps. And, as you've beautifully written above, don't bother arguing with me, for it would be more of an ego exercise than anything else.
     

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