Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Lone Wanderer, Jul 27, 2019.
I only actually need the one wish, so you can have the other two.
Now where did I put that pesky little thing.
I used to share work with a writing group I had IRL, but once we hit overtime at my last job, we kind of fell apart and no one really writes in that group any more except me and maybe one other person. Now I share it with my computer. Eventually, I'll share it with other people. I have three books done that need outside eyes.
Well I have been stuck in a rut for a couple of weeks since I finished my MS. After reading @jannert and @Krispee comments about fixing problems with the story, I guess I will concentrate on that. No rest for the wicked. I have a couple of beta readers lined up so that will be next.
You mean, like... with friends? Uh...--does--not--compute.
I'm Tolstoy in that regard.
I share experiments and one offs on here, but otherwise I have no one. I'm slowly building a chap-book of specific poems, but i haven't shared any of those. Maybe I'll need a beta-reader for it someday, if chap-books even merit betas. I have no idea really. I honestly don't know how that works. I'm not very trusting. I'm actually extremely surprised people trust me to beta read, and just send me full on manuscripts. It's difficult for me to share anything, let alone something I put some of my soul in.
Trust is a big issue, for sure. You have to trust that the person isn't going to use your work to stroke their own ego, when it comes to giving critique. You have to trust that the person cares enough about you to be honest, but doesn't care so much about you that they're afraid to be honest. And you need to trust they know what they're doing to some extent, and won't just leave you dangling.
I've fallen foul of all these types myself. The trick is not to show your work to 'somebody' but show your work to just about anybody who asks to see it. If you let it be known that you 'have written' or are writing, the number of people who will volunteer to read for you is pretty amazing. You get strength in numbers. If you have dozens of responses, you can take the average response and assume the average response reflects the most basic truth.
(If nearly everybody hates one particular thing about your work, you probably need to assume that issue needs work. If only one person hates that bit, and nobody else even mentions it, you might want to see if you can tweak it a bit so you catch everybody next time. If only one person hates that bit and nearly everybody else loves that bit, just assume your one 'hater' might not be your target audience!)
Just a penpal I've been friends with since 2004, as she and I are alike when it comes to our stories. Not WIP, but finished chapters, mainly, even though the stories themselves have yet to be finished. I use to post on Fanfiction.net, too, but stopped a few years ago as I lost interest in what I wrote there. The last time I shared my work with random people on two other boards, they bashed my work (bashed, not criticize) so much, it forced me to delete my membership and leave. Even though I've improved on my writing since then, I've decided from there on out, I'm only sharing my work with those I trust to give me honest criticism, and not hate on it because of my choices.
We don't bash people's work here. Anybody who does is nearly immediately banned. This is a constructive place. Sorry that happened to you.
They tried to pass off their bashing as 'constructive criticism' while telling me my work is stupid, and told me to 'do something else', all while failing to tell me how I could improve, (I mean, isn't that the point of constructive criticism?). Uh, yeah, I'm fairly certain that calling my work stupid and every other name in the book is NOT how constructive criticism works, yet if I said anything, I'M the one who got yelled at for 'not taking criticism'.
I've since been very careful about who and where I show my work to/at. It IS possible to give constructive criticism without being a jerk about it, you know!
Sorry for going a bit off-topic if I did.
Thanks, and that's very good to hear.
I tend to share my works-in-progress with people whose opinion I trust. My mom is all "wow this is the best thing I've ever read this needs no editing it's perfect" and my dad doesn't really have much to say. I have an accelerated writing class and my friends there are usually pretty helpful. I have another friend who is a writer themselves, but I haven't shared any work with them and I probably should... even though my friends are friends, they're very honest and I trust their opinion.
Only share my WIP with you guys and Reddit. Was sharing with GF for a little bit, but she hasn't really been interested for a little while now (oh well. As long as agents/publishers/readers like it . . .).
Because I love you...
Yeah, some people (who are very close to you) might not be the best beta readers. They might just praise you to the skies, or, as your dad did, say very little or procrastinate reading the thing. This has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not they love you. This has to do with what you've written ...and their reaction to it. Or even their reaction to the fact that you've written at all. Some will be very freaked out by that, because they never pictured you as a writer. Or maybe they aren't really readers themselves. Or, if they are, they don't tend to read the kind of thing you've written.
Family and friends are NO different from other beta readers. This is an important notion to take on board. Some of your nearest/dearest will be excellent betas. Others will not.
The thing to keep in mind is this: does what a beta tell you make sense? Even if you don't agree with what they're saying, would you say their response a valid one for what you've done? If you can see their point—even if you don't agree with it—it makes sense to consider what they've said.
Perfect strangers are ideal for me. They don't kniw me nor do they feel the need to sugarcoat critism. I get the honest blunt answers that I'm looking for. I can then consider the feedback and act accordingly. Though its worth saying, the most important person to critic your works will always be you. If you aren't happy with it, the passion seems to fade from the works and wou end up feeling like your wading through waist deep mud trying to get to the end. You should always be happy with your work before you ask others to be.
Ahem - while I don't disagree with the above, on your profile you say this
perhaps you could clarify ?
Separate names with a comma.