PDA

View Full Version : Great Crits and What You Learn From Them


Dr.Gonzo
11-26-2011, 01:26 AM
So I'm going against the trend at the minute. They're all very good threads but it's Friday and I'm feeling a bit negative posting in them a lot. So here's the cure. Not all crits are bad. Most of them are great. Even if they can't tell you how to fix it, they'll at least make you aware that something's wrong. I have my problems and so do you. Name a problem you've been slapped in the face with, you literary cabbage patch. If you can think of one poster who remedies it, name them.

I'll go first: My characters are always walking through doors. They're never in the right room. They always have to walk through the hallway, open the door, go in the room. If they're handing something to someone, I feel a great urge to have them pick it up first. How, God, can I hand someone something when no one knows I'm holding the object? Damn you to hell. Anyway, I'm getting over it. Thanks to Fruitbat and his wicked line-by-lines.

Show your appreciation. And no, I've only had a few drinks so far.

Ken
11-26-2011, 01:41 AM
... "avoid overly long sentences that jut off in different directions.
Break them down into smaller ones."
I forget the precise wording. It went something like that.

I think it was "Donkey" who gave me the advice,
along with some other sound guidance. Have made use of it.
It's been awhile and I haven't seen him around recently.

-------------------------------

Thanks VV
:-)

Dr.Gonzo
11-26-2011, 01:43 AM
Ken. Teddy bear avatar. Shy and sensitive. Love it :D

Mr Flibble
11-26-2011, 01:49 AM
Broadswordbabe gives the most excellent crits. I always learn something. She'll dissect that baby right down to the ground and then reconstruct....I'm in awe tbh. At crit meetings I find myself saying 'Yeah, what she said....'

Parametric
11-26-2011, 01:49 AM
Trust your writing.

Georgina tells me this every time, and every time I get a little bit closer to understanding.

Do not repeat, do not emphasise, do not hammer home. Go lightly. Trust your writing.

Thanks, Georgina. :LilLove:

mirandashell
11-26-2011, 01:49 AM
Reziac is always good with his crits. He lets me bounce ideas off him and we usually get an answer.

And I had a great crit yesterday from Nuallain. Spotted the problem I was having straight off and gave great advice.

And I love crits from Cwm cos his mind twists the same way as mine. So I know he gets what I'm trying to do.

VoireyLinger
11-26-2011, 02:05 AM
One of my CPs is great for pointing out missed moments. "We need to pause here and hold on to the emotion." It's like she puts her finger on a spot in the manuscript and pinpoints where the reader needs an extra heartbeat of time. She also hates my long sentences, but I mostly ignore her.

Another is great for continuity and bigger picture moments, like when I had a storm raging during an angel/demon war. "And the rest of the world thinks this is what, angel farts?" She pinpoints world building issues and is great for brainstorming solutions.

A third is my cheerleader. She tells me what is working. Her crits are peppered with, "Love this," and "LOL," and "Rawr, that's sexy." My favorite comments from her break down technique and why it works for her. The last round I got from her commented on paragraph structure and why she felt it was effective.

Different CPs offer different insights. I feel blessed to have such a crit group with such a great group of writers. Their strengths make me a better writer, and I hope they feel the same about me.

Libbie
11-26-2011, 02:42 AM
She's not on the forum, unfortunately, but a friend of mine can always spot when I'm not remaining consistent to the character's voice. That's my biggest blind spot and she really helps me with that! I'm so grateful to her!!

mirandashell
11-26-2011, 04:07 AM
Reziac is always good with his crits. He lets me bounce ideas off him and we usually get an answer.

And I had a great crit yesterday from Nuallain. Spotted the problem I was having straight off and gave great advice.

And I love crits from Cwm cos his mind twists the same way as mine. So I know he gets what I'm trying to do.

BTW, I appreciate everyone who crits cos I know it's hard work. So please don't be thinking I'm ungrateful!

Paul
11-26-2011, 04:15 AM
Trust your writing.

Georgina tells me this every time, and every time I get a little bit closer to understanding.

Do not repeat, do not emphasise, do not hammer home. Go lightly. Trust your writing.

Thanks, Georgina. :LilLove:
That's a nice one. I think it's sorta trust your reader as much as trust your writing.


Have to say, all comments/ crits are good - in the sense you're getting a definite response to your work - it doent matter if it's detailed or whatever - it's a response that otherwise would not be available - meaning you otherwise would have to operate in a vacuum - which is a killer.

yes, dont lose your voice/ style etc because of an observation, but definitely recognise the value of responses- even when/ if they sting! (usually the better ones....)

defcon6000
11-26-2011, 04:36 AM
Reziac is always good with his crits. He lets me bounce ideas off him and we usually get an answer.

Ditto X 1000 :D And I love crits from Cwm cos his mind twists the same way as mine. So I know he gets what I'm trying to do.

I think CWM is a woman -- tho, don't quote me on it.

the cat came back
11-26-2011, 04:52 AM
I always learn something from crits - good ones and bad ones. There's nothing like another perspective.

I also learn a lt from giving crits - we see problems in other people's writing that we miss in our own, which sharpens the faculty.

Win-win.

Fruitbat
11-26-2011, 05:00 AM
Thanks, Dr. Gonzo! And I learn from the opposite, somehow I always think everybody already knows all the small stuff. I am so surprised when I post something and everyone tells me they have no idea what I'm babbling on about. LOL!

I learn the most from the most detailed critiques. I don't need a lot of hand-holding. The only thing that I really get upset about is if someone seems like they are being deliberately mean or sarcastic, but I haven't had much of that.

Also from getting a lot of critiques on the same story. Things show up differently when you hear from a couple dozen people, as opposed to just a couple of people.

Layla Nahar
11-26-2011, 08:25 AM
I think Bartholemew's detailed crits are really something, he really gives a lot. And Donkey's thorough crits are great, I think he usually says something nice as well as the crits.

WriteMinded
11-26-2011, 11:03 AM
I haven't stuck my neck out that many times, but getting my first chapter on SYW is on my ToDo list.

When I was very new here, Anonymous gave me a crit that was so helpful I wrote a different book!

I also appreciated He Who Shall Remain Nameless' crit when I posted the first 200 words of the MS I just finished.

Bufty
11-26-2011, 03:40 PM
This is a Basic Writing Questions Forum. What's with all these recent weird threads?

I don't think cliques should be encouraged.

If I find a critique helpful, I say thankyou in the relevant thread, or send a Rep.

Dr.Gonzo
11-26-2011, 03:41 PM
Bufty, what are you on about?

Bufty
11-26-2011, 03:50 PM
I may be alone - probably am - but I just don't see the point or relevance of some of these threads.

Fruitbat
11-26-2011, 04:06 PM
So then, so far what is most valued in critiques is detail, and also encouragement? And maybe someone to discuss back and forth with?

*taking names down so I know who to bother next time I post a story, lol*

Dr.Gonzo
11-26-2011, 04:10 PM
I may be alone - probably am - but I just don't see the point or relevance of some of these threads.

Fair play. I did say why I made it in the initial post. There seemed to be a few negative threads and I thought a positive one would even the odds. I'm not precious about threads I start, though, so it's nice to see a different view. You know, opinions are arseholes or something.

Fruitbat
11-26-2011, 04:28 PM
It's "pointless," "irrelevant", "weird," and "cliquish" to discuss what works for us or not in work or critiques, on a writers' board? That sounds untrue by definition, as well as rather insulting to those of us participating in the discussion.

The only time I see an issue would be if people are called out by name or deed in a negative way, which I have not seen.

I don't understand why people post on a thread just to tell everyone they don't approve of the thread. Why would anyone expect every thread to appeal to them? If a thread doesn't interest me, I just skip it. *shrug* Unless there's more to this story?

Dr.Gonzo
11-26-2011, 04:49 PM
It's "pointless," "irrelevant", "weird," and "cliquish" to discuss what works for us or not in work or critiques, on a writers' board? That sounds untrue by definition, as well as rather insulting to those of us participating in the discussion.

The only time I see an issue would be if people are called out by name or deed in a negative way, which I have not seen.

I don't understand why people post on a thread just to tell everyone they don't approve of the thread. Why would anyone expect every thread to appeal to them? If a thread doesn't interest me, I just skip it. *shrug* Unless there's more to this story?

I agree. From what I've seen in the various threads about this subject, everyone has remained respectful. Also, we have hundreds of threads being made about how you shouldn't write and what doesn't work. Being on a board with crits available, is it so strange to have threads about how you shouldn't crit and what crits don't work for you, the writer? Surely any points we bring to light on this subject, be it positive or negative, can only lead to a better understanding, as individuals and as a community.

Bufty
11-26-2011, 04:56 PM
Take what you wish from my post but there is no 'other story' and no concealed insult.

It's "pointless," "irrelevant", "weird," and "cliquish" to discuss what works for us or not in work or critiques, on a writers' board? That sounds untrue by definition, as well as rather insulting to those of us participating in the discussion.

The only time I see an issue would be if people are called out by name or deed in a negative way, which I have not seen.

I don't understand why people post on a thread just to tell everyone they don't approve of the thread. Why would anyone expect every thread to appeal to them? If a thread doesn't interest me, I just skip it. *shrug* Unless there's more to this story?

Fruitbat
11-26-2011, 05:01 PM
I'm not taking anything from your post that wasn't stated or wishing for anything from it, either. Just wondering what your point is, I guess. It didn't sound very nice, but I have no idea how this thread and the others like it could be considered offensive. *shrug*

the cat came back
11-26-2011, 05:50 PM
I thought that the original premise of the thread was WHAT constituted a good crit but morphed into WHO gives good crit, the former possibly constituting a Basic Writing Question and the latter being of a different nature (which Buffy feels is out of place).

Just my analysis.

jaksen
11-26-2011, 05:59 PM
I thought that the original premise of the thread was WHAT constituted a good crit but morphed into WHO gives good crit, the former possibly constituting a Basic Writing Question and the latter being of a different nature (which Buffy feels is out of place).

Just my analysis.

Agreed. Doesn't something with a lot of give and take, back and forth, normally go in the Round Table area? Or maybe not.

It's just that you never know how a thread is going to evolve and change over time. You start out going down a well-traveled avenue and end up on a dirt road leading to a logging camp.

bearilou
11-26-2011, 06:03 PM
I agree. From what I've seen in the various threads about this subject, everyone has remained respectful. Also, we have hundreds of threads being made about how you shouldn't write and what doesn't work. Being on a board with crits available, is it so strange to have threads about how you shouldn't crit and what crits don't work for you, the writer? Surely any points we bring to light on this subject, be it positive or negative, can only lead to a better understanding, as individuals and as a community.

That would be great, if there wasn't so much name-dropping. And now 'collecting a list of names to ask for'.

Now I wonder if I should even bother critting at all, considering what I may have to say won't be near as desired as those whose praises were sung.

If it had just stayed with what made good crits and not who gave them....

edit: oops...the cat who came back was there before me.

Dr.Gonzo
11-26-2011, 06:11 PM
That would be great, if there wasn't so much name-dropping. And now 'collecting a list of names to ask for'.

Now I wonder if I should even bother critting at all, considering what I may have to say won't be near as desired as those whose praises were sung.

If it had just stayed with what made good crits and not who gave them....

edit: oops...the cat who came back was there before me.

It's not my place to say. I only started the thread. With good intentions, I might add. I am not the internet police.

Ken
11-26-2011, 06:30 PM
... the thread was started in good spirit, with the aim of creating positive vibes.
That's something that should be kept in mind whether one is for or against the approach.
So can't the issue just be dropped. If members want to contribute, let them contribute. If they don't, they won't.

bearilou
11-26-2011, 06:34 PM
It's not my place to say. I only started the thread. With good intentions, I might add. I am not the internet police.

Just tossing in my two cents about how Bufty might be uncomfortable and how I was a little uncomfortable with it myself considering she was called out for questioning the thread in general.

:Shrug:

I think threads like you intended are valuable (I like positive spin threads instead of all the negativity) when left with generalities, like the other threads were, if for nothing else than to help those who seek and who give to make sure they ascertain what is wanted from the critique upfront so no one is dissatisfied with the exchange.

lorna_w
11-26-2011, 06:42 PM
I've had several good crits, though none great. At the beginning, when I was bad, they just hurt. After that phase, for awhile, they were mostly useful, as I had a lot to learn. Now, after two million words and 100 publications, and 25 years of professional writing, I really don't get much from them except typo/akwardness/repetition comments, which do help, but I don't think qualify as "great." I always appreciate when someone sees what I'm trying to do when I'm trying something complicated and not many people see it, but that's just reassuring, not tremendously helpful.

For me, critique relationship are most useful when I'm doing the critique. I don't really think they're that helpful to the writer, but when I have to think through an issue for someone else, that's when I learn it for myself. I remember way back, reading someone's dialog and he had written "blah blah." She paused. "Blah blah." And it came to me that that's when you insert a bit of stage business or a description: "Blah Blah." A crow cawed overhead. "Blah blah." It creates the pause without the terribly awkward "He paused". That sort of understanding came to me when I saw others making mistakes many times.

I think for me this was the primary value of critique groups and partnerships. And I do think a time comes when it's just not that important, that you can rely on agents and editors, unless you're just insecure or want people to coo at you about how good it is, which is fine, but not crucial for me. I'd rather save my friends' time for proofing galleys, should that day every come.

Ken
11-26-2011, 06:47 PM
... you've got a point there Bearilou.
Maybe names should be dropped, with unidentified critiques posted alone.
It'd be easy enough to edit names out. It's up to the OP to decide.

Devil Ledbetter
11-26-2011, 06:48 PM
This is a Basic Writing Questions Forum. What's with all these recent weird threads?
I don't know why anyone would be thrown off by Bufty's question. Though Dr. Gonzo started this thread with good intentions, it's not a basic writing question and might have been better place in the main SYW forum.

I thought that the original premise of the thread was WHAT constituted a good crit but morphed into WHO gives good crit, the former possibly constituting a Basic Writing Question and the latter being of a different nature (which Buffy feels is out of place).This. It went from being about what's valuable in a critique (a good question) to who are your favorite critters (a popularity contest) in only four posts. I don't think there was any ill intent, but it's both problematic and misplaced, IMO.

I agree with Bufty that if you appreciate a crit you should let the critter know by rep, PM or replying in the thread where the crit took place. And as others have pointed out, if you prefer a certain type of crit there is no harm in asking for that when you post your work.

Who's your favorite whatever is a topic more suited to Office Party. I'm not even sure if it's encouraged there.

RobJ
11-26-2011, 06:54 PM
Some people don't know how to write a critique, or don't have the confidence to write them when they first come here. A thread in which members discuss critiques that they've found particularly useful could be of value to those people. Similarly, knowing that a particular member has given good critiques in the past gives someone the opportunity to look at that person's critiques and perhaps see whether they can learn anything from the way they write them. Personally, I wouldn't consider that to be encouraging a clique.

It went from being about what's valuable in a critique (a good question) to who are your favorite critters (a popularity contest) in only four posts
I think the 'who' was clear from the original post:

Name a problem you've been slapped in the face with, you literary cabbage patch. If you can think of one poster who remedies it, name them.

Dr.Gonzo
11-26-2011, 06:55 PM
Just tossing in my two cents about how Bufty might be uncomfortable and how I was a little uncomfortable with it myself considering she was called out for questioning the thread in general.

:Shrug:

I think threads like you intended are valuable (I like positive spin threads instead of all the negativity) when left with generalities, like the other threads were, if for nothing else than to help those who seek and who give to make sure they ascertain what is wanted from the critique upfront so no one is dissatisfied with the exchange.

Well whatever my intentions were, it's not this. Let's just leave it. There's mods. leave it to them.

Devil Ledbetter
11-26-2011, 08:05 PM
I think the 'who' was clear from the original post:Ah. Good point.


I don't understand why people post on a thread just to tell everyone they don't approve of the thread. But that's not what Bufty did. This wasn't like someone showing up in the Walking Dead thread just to say "I hate that show and don't know why anyone would waste time discussing it." Bufty saw a problem with calling out favorite critters, and she also saw "who gives the best crits" as an inappropriate topic for a basic writing questions forum.

Bufty is a long term contributor to this board and has the best interests of the community at heart.

Dr. Gonzo, I am sure the mods will know what to do.

Fruitbat
11-26-2011, 08:46 PM
The rest of us are also members in good standing and with good intentions, Devil. And no, she didn't make those statements you just listed, you did.

Anyway, to get off the derail and back to the actual posted topic: To me, a great crit is one that points out important things that help improve my writing beyond just that story. Less than ideal habits or blind spots that I then see and change from then on. :)

Devil Ledbetter
11-26-2011, 09:19 PM
The rest of us are also members in good standing and with good intentions, Devil. And I never said they weren't.

Also, Bufty is quite capable of answering for herself on an off-topic that she has started.It wasn't off topic. Furthermore it was entirely appropriate of me to support Bufty's position, especially when you've been casting aspersions (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6769257&postcount=22) on his intentions and insinuating that he has some "other" problem.

Fruitbat, this isn't the first time you've taken it upon yourself to inform people how or whether they ought to post in a thread you're involved in, and made oblique remarks questioning their motivations and mental status for the high crime of disagreeing with you.

Unless AW has granted you mod status, you might want to consider knocking it off.

Fruitbat
11-26-2011, 09:26 PM
Devil, I am really not interested in your unfounded personal attacks or in arguing with you.

Does anyone have any other observations on what makes a critique great?

dpaterso
11-26-2011, 09:38 PM
Dr. Gonzo, I am sure the mods will know what to do.
Hopefully a mod who knows what to do will turn up soon! How threads can bounce off the rails and over the cliff in such a short length of time is beyond me.

-Derek

Bufty
11-26-2011, 09:39 PM
A critique is only as helpful as the recipient chooses to regard it no matter how helpful the critter may think it is, which makes defining what makes a critique 'great' somewhat academic.

LindaJeanne
11-26-2011, 10:21 PM
A critique is only as helpful as the recipient chooses to regard it no matter how helpful the critter may think it is, which makes defining what makes a critique 'great' somewhat academic.
Some critiques have a lot more potential to be helpful than others. While there is obviously going to be a certain amount of subjectivity -- and it's true no critique will be useful to the recipient if the recipient don't make use of it-- I don't think it's merely "academic" to discuss what makes a critique "great". For the sake of improving my own critting, I'm very interested in hearing various opinions of what the criteria for a more helpful critique are.

Bufty
11-26-2011, 11:17 PM
Read the submission and give your reaction to it as honestly as you can and if you can make any suggestions you think may be helpful then include them.

There is no magic rule book for giving a better critique. It's like the question 'How do I write a better novel?'

Each critique is different and depends upon the ability of the critiquer and their interpretation of what they are reading, coupled with the presumed apparent ability of the writer of the submission.

Browse the sticky threads in the SYW Forum and read as many submissions and critiques there as you can. Decide for yourself which ones seem more helpful than others or might suit your own style, and follow your own method.

I still wonder if this thread doesn't belong in another more appropriate Forum.

Some critiques have a lot more potential to be helpful than others. While there is obviously going to be a certain amount of subjectivity -- and it's true no critique will be useful to the recipient if the recipient don't make use of it-- I don't think it's merely "academic" to discuss what makes a critique "great". For the sake of improving my own critting, I'm very interested in hearing various opinions of what the criteria for a more helpful critique are.

dpaterso
11-26-2011, 11:34 PM
I still wonder if this thread doesn't belong in another more appropriate Forum.
I s'ppose AW Roundtable might be a better venue for all the recent critique threads. They'll probably get shuffled around once the dust settles and the blood dries.

-Derek

Donna Brown
11-27-2011, 02:18 AM
That would be great, if there wasn't so much name-dropping. And now 'collecting a list of names to ask for'.

Now I wonder if I should even bother critting at all, considering what I may have to say won't be near as desired as those whose praises were sung.

If it had just stayed with what made good crits and not who gave them....

edit: oops...the cat who came back was there before me.

I have to agree with this sentiment. It's one thing to discuss what constitutes a good critique and quite another to specifically name members who do so (in the opinion of the posters naming names). I think this sends a message to those whose names aren't being mentioned that their critiques are not as valuable. Surely this was not the intent of the thread.

LindaJeanne
11-27-2011, 05:40 AM
Read the submission and give your reaction to it as honestly as you can and if you can make any suggestions you think may be helpful then include them.
Gee, I'd have never thought of that.

There is no magic rule book for giving a better critique. It's like the question 'How do I write a better novel?'
The same logic could be argued for not posting work for critique. No critique is going to make give you a magic rule for creating a better novel.

I find it insulting that you are equating "I find it useful to hear what others have found useful or not in critiques" with wanting a "magic rule book".


Each critique is different and depends upon the ability of the critiquer and their interpretation of what they are reading, coupled with the presumed apparent ability of the writer of the submission.
Again, I think this is obvious. What, specifically, made you think that anyone disagrees?

Browse the sticky threads in the SYW Forum and read as many submissions and critiques there as you can. Decide for yourself which ones seem more helpful than others or might suit your own style, and follow your own method.
Did it occur to you that anyone interested enough to participate in this thread has probably done exactly that? frequently?

I'm not sure why this thread bothers you so much. If it doesn't interest you, don't read it. (There's a difference between coming into a thread with a contrary opinion -- which can be helpful -- and coming it to say that the discussion shouldn't happen at all.)

Another forum (not writing - specific) that I've frequented, the term used for the latter is "threadcrapping", and it's strongly frowned upon. I'll admit I'm still rather new to AW, so perhaps it fits the culture here more than the culture there, and I'm the one that's out of line.

There's a lot of threads on AW in which I have zero interest; I don't drop in to tell people they shouldn't be having the discussion.

I still wonder if this thread doesn't belong in another more appropriate Forum.
That may be, but mightn't a better way of handling that be to flag the thread for a mod, and ask them to move it to a more suitable forum?

Again, I'm the newb so I might be incorrectly applying the standards of other forums I'm familiar with to AW. If I'm stepping out of line then I apologize.

Amadan
11-27-2011, 05:48 AM
I have to agree with this sentiment. It's one thing to discuss what constitutes a good critique and quite another to specifically name members who do so (in the opinion of the posters naming names). I think this sends a message to those whose names aren't being mentioned that their critiques are not as valuable. Surely this was not the intent of the thread.

If that's the issue, it's amazingly petty. "Oh noes, I feel bad because someone else was named as a helpful critter but I wasn't!" Seriously?

Mr Flibble
11-27-2011, 05:56 AM
ops

Never meant to namedrop, but to give an idea of who/what.where/when is a good crit. BSB disects stuff at a level I am incapable of.

A good crit helps the writer with what they struggle with, that's pretty much it. We all have our weaknesses (I will stopbeing so f'ing repetitive in a first draft. I will!)

So for me, her deconstruction is very helpful. Other people will find other crits helpful, depending on where they are and their strengths. It's very...tailored.

So the best crits are the ones that illuminate without obliterating.

cbenoi1
11-27-2011, 06:08 AM
There is no magic rule book for giving a better critique.
I haven't found the one true template to fill when critting either. I tend to go through two major block steps in sequence, based on my own evaluation grid as a reader.

-- What's BORING goes first:
Backstory / As-You-Know-Bob
Hook
Tension / Conflict
End-chapter zinger
Storytelling / Realism (i.e does this or that make any sense?)
Characterization
Show vs Tell
Descriptions
Dialogue beats
Pacing

-- Then I go through what's ANNOYING
Adverbs
Passive
Grammar
Structure / Style
Context (POV underhandling, head hopping, et al.)

I usually pick two - usually one of each type - and explain why they don't work for me. Needless to say, if I'm down to pacing or style then everything else is good enough for me.


I don't know what constitutes a 'good critique' nor how to measure that. Is the above a good format / template? I don't know either, but it follows my personal take on what I think is better storytelling.


Which brings me to another point which, as a critter, gets in the balance with all the things I can say about a submission: time. Specifically - MY time, the time I'm not working on my own manuscript. Is it better to give a full crit, explanations, line-by-line and all? Or is the writer smart enough to know how to interpret "characterization is off here"? I don't crit to win a prize. I do because it help my own writing and it's a worthwhile exercise for me.

As for what makes a good crit, I'm with Bufty - trying to measure a subjective process with an objective measure is an academic endeavour at best.

-cb

Ken
11-27-2011, 06:14 AM
If that's the issue, it's amazingly petty. "Oh noes, I feel bad because someone else was named as a helpful critter but I wasn't!" Seriously?


... don't think it's petty, but I do think it's somewhat ironic.

The general attitude among critiquers is you've got to be tough and "brutally honest" when giving a critique and those receiving them should take them in stride and not get insulted, etc, for your being too harsh. And if one feels badly or retaliates in some way then they are overly sensitive and need to grow thick skin or a pair of --

Okay fine. I agree, with that to an extent. But then the tables are turned in a thread like this and everybody is getting all bent out of shape because god forbid they should not be credited for giving a good critique along with somebody else. TALK ABOUT SENSITIVE!

Bottom line, everybody is sensitive here and elsewhere. So quit acting tough. You're not kidding anybody.

Donna Brown
11-27-2011, 06:14 AM
If that's the issue, it's amazingly petty. "Oh noes, I feel bad because someone else was named as a helpful critter but I wasn't!" Seriously?

If this is addressed to me specifically, you are mistaken. I've offered very few critiques simply because I don't have the time. BUT, yes, I am serious. If one takes critiquing seriously, it is time consuming and to be slighted in this way is unacceptable in a forum made up of adults who should know better. The best response to a critique, whether or not you find it helpful, is a sincere thank you. Then, as a professional, it is your job to determine what works or not for your particular piece. Period.

Donna Brown
11-27-2011, 06:19 AM
... don't think it's petty, but I do think it's somewhat ironic.

The general attitude among critiquers is you've got to be tough and "brutally honest" when giving a critique and those receiving them should take them in stride and not get insulted, etc, for your being too harsh. And if one feels badly or retaliates in some way then they are overly sensitive and need to grow thick skin or a pair of --

Okay fine. I agree, with that to an extent. But then the tables are turned in a thread like this and everybody is getting all bent out of shape because god forbid they should not be credited for giving a good critique along with somebody else. TALK ABOUT SENSITIVE!

Bottom line, everybody is sensitive here and elsewhere. So quit acting tough. You're not kidding anybody.

Since you are addressing my original post as well, I will respond, but I do not plan to keep doing this. I have been critiquing (and teaching) for years and I have never advocated for being "brutally honest" because brutality does nothing for either the writer or the person offering the critique. Honesty is a must because otherwise there is no point, but being cruel is never acceptable. I am very careful about what I critique because if I cannot find something positive to say as well as offering suggestions, then I won't offer anything.

If you all cannot see that you are slighting people by creating a list of the best, there's nothing I, or anyone else, can say that will make you see the problem.

Oh, and trust me, I am THAT tough.

Ken
11-27-2011, 06:34 AM
... just for the record, I wasn't singling anyone in particular out. My post was addressed to everyone, including me.

Ari Meermans
11-27-2011, 06:44 AM
The premise for this thread, "Great Crits and What You Learn From Them"—without naming critter names—was an excellent idea and might have made a great sticky in the SYW forum. It would have made a worthwhile learning tool had it been allowed to evolve in that manner. Instead, it turned into personal attacks and disrespecting your fellow writer and that's unfortunate for a thread that had such potential.

Dr.Gonzo
11-27-2011, 07:14 AM
Wow. What a shit storm. I see no harm in mentioning people in a positive light. If you haven't been mentioned... boo fucking hoo. I haven't. So what? What's wrong with having a reference of opinions, listing posters who have shown skill at critting in different ways, dealing with different problems?

Seriously, I'm disappointed in this place as of now. For those that took part in the thread in a sensible manner, thank you. Everyone else, cheer up. For your own sake.

LindaJeanne
11-27-2011, 07:16 AM
:flag:
The premise for this thread, "Great Crits and What You Learn From Them"—without naming critter names—was an excellent idea and might have made a great sticky in the SYW forum. It would have made a worthwhile learning tool had it been allowed to evolve in that manner. Instead, it turned into personal attacks and disrespecting your fellow writer and that's unfortunate for a thread that had such potential.
I hope that my last post didn't come across as disrespectful to other writers =^/ :e2zipped:. I admit I wrote it in a fit of pique (which is never a good idea :e2smack:). I felt like I was being condescended to,:e2poke: and was sad to see a thread that had been started in such a positive manner :e2flowersturn so negative.:e2teeth: But in hindsight, my post doesn't help things :o :o.

Maybe the thread needs a re-boot :Hammer:? Would @Dr.Gonzo be interested in re-starting the thread in the SYW forum, where it will perhaps get a warmer welcome :chair -- and we can let the unpleasantness :e2stooges that's arisen in this one drift to obscurity off the bottom of the page.:gone:

Normally a Mod-Move :e2fairy:would be the better option, but the tone has gone all wrong, :flag:and it's probably better to start over.:e2steer: Somewhere where the thread is less likely to annoy people. :gone::e2paperba


(Note: This post is now officially my worst offense in the over-use of embedded smileys. :) I do so in the spirit of poking fun at myself, to try to lighten the mood. The apology and suggestion are serious, despite the added silliness)

Ken
11-27-2011, 08:23 AM
The apology and suggestion are serious, despite the added silliness)[/I]

... adding my own apologies as well. Got carried away. I still think my point is valid, but it doesn't apply to everyone, but only to a few and they're probably not even the ones who've posted here.

Tromboli
11-27-2011, 09:58 AM
Definitely never seen so many smilies in one post:)

RobJ
11-27-2011, 12:43 PM
If one takes critiquing seriously, it is time consuming and to be slighted in this way is unacceptable in a forum made up of adults who should know better.
If I thought people were being slighted then I'd agree, but I haven't seen that happen anywhere in the thread so far. I've seen only positive mentions. And let's be honest, if we're adults, then we shouldn't be so sensitive that we feel bad about ourselves just because someone else got a mention for providing good critiques.

Bufty
11-27-2011, 03:44 PM
There are thousands of submissions and thousands and thousands of both long and short critiques in all genres in the SYW Forum and I think anyone wanting to try critiquing or see different ways of critiquing can do no better than spend time browsing the SYW Forum and then jumping in whenever they feel the water is warm enough.

Critters crit as they feel appropriate, are unlikely to change their particular style of critting, and feedback to a critter beyond a simple 'thankyou' is rarely desired or sought.

Critting is in many cases just as, if not more beneficial to the crittter than the crittee because it forces one to concentrate and hopefully more easily recognise the flaws in one's own work.

Then, when submitting our own work it will, with effort , be the best it can be at that time - as all submissions for critique should be.

Dr.Gonzo
11-27-2011, 04:05 PM
There are thousands of submissions and thousands and thousands of both long and short critiques in all genres in the SYW Forum and I think anyone wanting to try critiquing or see different ways of critiquing can do no better than spend time browsing the SYW Forum and then jumping in whenever they feel the water is warm enough.

Critters crit as they feel appropriate, are unlikely to change their particular style of critting, and feedback to a critter beyond a simple 'thankyou' is rarely desired or sought.

Critting is in many cases just as, if not more beneficial to the crittter than the crittee because it forces one to concentrate and hopefully more easily recognise the flaws in one's own work.

Then, when submitting our own work it will, with effort , be the best it can be at that time - as all submissions for critique should be.

So it's clear you don't agree with the thread. I get it. Everyone gets it. For the people who do agree with the thread and hope to get something from it, I would ask you kindly to drop this subject and let us get back on topic. There are threads I don't get anything from/have zero interest in/disagree with; I stay out of them and allow the people who want to partake in the topic to do so.

No harm done. I don't want any hard feelings. But this circular disagreement should stop. There's been a mod present in the thread and I'm sure others have viewed it. The thread is still open. We can come to our own conclusions about that.

Bufty
11-27-2011, 04:13 PM
Excuse me?

Are you saying you think my post contained no sound advice and contributed nothing to this thread, which now seems to be destined to go round in circles even more rapidly.

So it's clear you don't agree with the thread. I get it. Everyone gets it. For the people who do agree with the thread and hope to get something from it, I would ask you kindly to drop this subject and let us get back on topic. There are threads I don't get anything from/have zero interest in/disagree with; I stay out of them and allow the people who want to partake in the topic to do so.

No harm done. I don't want any hard feelings. But this circular disagreement should stop. There's been a mod present in the thread and I'm sure others have viewed it. The thread is still open. We can come to our own conclusions about that.

firedrake
11-27-2011, 04:22 PM
It's not my place to say. I only started the thread. With good intentions, I might add. I am not the internet police.

Could've fooled me.

I've been watching this thread and debating whether to wade in or not.

I happen to think that Bufty and others have raised a very good point. If the thread has digressed from it's original intent, that's not unusual, it happens all the time on forums. We're all entitled to our opinions. Starting a thread doesn't necessarily give you the right to 'police' its contents.

There are good crits and there are bad crits. It's a writer's choice whether to take the points raised on board or not. I've had great crits in SYW, more good than bad. I wouldn't be published if it wasn't for the help I've received in SYW, but I wouldn't want to single out any specific critters. I prefer to do that by PM or rep. Likewise, when I give critiques, I'm happy with a thank you or a rep, I don't need my name in lights on a thread.

Just sayin'

Dr.Gonzo
11-27-2011, 04:28 PM
Excuse me?

Are you saying you think my post contained no sound advice and contributed nothing to this thread, which now seems to be destined to go round in circles even more rapidly.

I will not excuse you.

It certainly did have advice: Go to SYW and see it done. This thread is to talk about helpful crits that deal with your problem areas, how they help you, and if you can think of someone who stands out when critting your work, remedies your weak points, name them. If you want to.

This thread isn't called, 'Helpful crits, go and see them'.

If you were trying to contribute, I'm sorry. But it was still off topic.

Dr.Gonzo
11-27-2011, 04:39 PM
Could've fooled me.

I've been watching this thread and debating whether to wade in or not.

I happen to think that Bufty and others have raised a very good point. If the thread has digressed from it's original intent, that's not unusual, it happens all the time on forums. We're all entitled to our opinions. Starting a thread doesn't necessarily give you the right to 'police' its contents.

There are good crits and there are bad crits. It's a writer's choice whether to take the points raised on board or not. I've had great crits in SYW, more good than bad. I wouldn't be published if it wasn't for the help I've received in SYW, but I wouldn't want to single out any specific critters. I prefer to do that by PM or rep. Likewise, when I give critiques, I'm happy with a thank you or a rep, I don't need my name in lights on a thread.

Just sayin'

You can disagree with the thread all you like, and threads can morph into something else. What is pointless is having a thread just for people to say that they disagree with the thread. It's a waste of time. That's why I asked nicely if those who disagree with the thread could move on now they have had their say, and allow the people who would like to contribute to do so. I would have said that whether I made the thread or not. That has nothing to do with it. I'm familiar with message boards. I value posters' opinions. My point was, what has been said has been said. There is no need to keep saying it.

I didn't tell anyone to do anything. I asked.

Phaeal
11-27-2011, 05:17 PM
If that's the issue, it's amazingly petty. "Oh noes, I feel bad because someone else was named as a helpful critter but I wasn't!" Seriously?

You know, when I was a tender little child in kindergarden, we took naps every afternoon. Every kid had a cot, with either a pink or a blue blanket on it.* Except me. I just had a cot.

I still haven't gotten over it.

However, I'm cool that none of you has praised my critting. Really. [Sniff] I just have a cold.



* A fluffy pink or blue blanket, with the satin binding on the top edge cleverly extended and tied into a huge bow. So warm, so cozy....

the cat came back
11-27-2011, 05:21 PM
The title of this thread - Great Crits and What You Learn From Them - would indicate to me a topic that almost fits in this sub-forum, at least more so that the content of the original post:

"So I'm going against the trend at the minute. They're all very good threads but it's Friday and I'm feeling a bit negative posting in them a lot. So here's the cure. Not all crits are bad. Most of them are great. Even if they can't tell you how to fix it, they'll at least make you aware that something's wrong. I have my problems and so do you. Name a problem you've been slapped in the face with, you literary cabbage patch. If you can think of one poster who remedies it, name them."

Clearly, this is not a Basic Writing Question.

Nontheless, the thread followed the intent of the OP for about a page and a half until someone pointed out - politely, too - that the thread might more suitably be located in Roundtable.

This suggestion was not received well.

It went from there.

There is certainly no harm in publicly thanking those who gave us good crit, even though it only bears tangentially on the thread title (which itself does not constitute a basic writing question).

If the thread is imperfectly located, there is nothing wrong with someone pointing that out. And if it is poorly received, there will be some inevitably escalating back and forth.

It's all quite natural at that point.

It's not so easy to put the genie back in the bottle, of course.

Dr.Gonzo
11-27-2011, 05:24 PM
I have no problem with it being moved, if that would ease matters. Never did have a problem with that.

the cat came back
11-27-2011, 05:27 PM
I think it would solve tge problem.

Dr.Gonzo
11-27-2011, 05:30 PM
If that's the case, I've never seen such a reaction to a thread being in the wrong section. It happens all the time. Hopefully a mod will decide soon.

Bufty
11-27-2011, 05:59 PM
Gonzo,

Whether I received any particular benefit from any particular critique or critiquer is of no interest or benefit whatsoever to anybody but me, and whether anybody else received a critique that resolved whatever their particular issue was is likewise of little interest or benefit to anyone but them.


I will not excuse you.

It certainly did have advice: Go to SYW and see it done. This thread is to talk about helpful crits that deal with your problem areas, how they help you, and if you can think of someone who stands out when critting your work, remedies your weak points, name them. If you want to.

This thread isn't called, 'Helpful crits, go and see them'.

If you were trying to contribute, I'm sorry. But it was still off topic.

dpaterso
11-27-2011, 06:03 PM
They told me Basic Writing Questions would be nice and quiet, almost therapeutic, good for calming my nerves. They lied.

Since the whereabouts of this thread is threatening to lead to a West Side Story pastiche, I guess I better move the darn thing. Hold onto your flick-knives... off we go to AW Roundtable. Sorry, Soccer Mom!

-Derek

Dr.Gonzo
11-27-2011, 06:09 PM
Gonzo,

Whether I received any particular benefit from any particular critique or critiquer is of no interest or benefit whatsoever to anybody but me, and whether anybody else received a critique that resolved whatever their particular issue was is likewise of little interest or benefit to anyone but them.

Again, I'll disagree.

Bufty
11-27-2011, 06:39 PM
So what's new? :Shrug:

Amadan
11-27-2011, 06:39 PM
Gonzo,

Whether I received any particular benefit from any particular critique or critiquer is of no interest or benefit whatsoever to anybody but me, and whether anybody else received a critique that resolved whatever their particular issue was is likewise of little interest or benefit to anyone but them.


Well, that's awesome and bunnies for you. But contemplate this for a moment: everyone else is not you. You are not everyone else.

If you don't like the thread, you can, you know, not participate. And it seems the thread has now been moved, so what is the problem?

Bufty
11-27-2011, 06:54 PM
No problem, and I did particpate.

Let's hope the thread continues to thrive and blossom in its new home.

Well, that's awesome and bunnies for you. But contemplate this for a moment: everyone else is not you. You are not everyone else.

If you don't like the thread, you can, you know, not participate. And it seems the thread has now been moved, so what is the problem?

Rolling Thunder
11-27-2011, 07:35 PM
Another cyclical thread about SYW and crits, huh? The last time this happened here it went off the rails and some of the best critters stopped helping others.

Bufty didn't. He's been critting here for years and his advice is sound--take what helps your work from a crit, be polite, thank the critter, and go write.

LindaJeanne
11-27-2011, 08:02 PM
until someone pointed out - politely, too - that the thread might more suitably be located in Roundtable.
This suggestion was not received well.

???
I missed the part where anyone expressed objection to the thread being moved.

But then I miss things all the time, so that shouldn't surprise me.

Edited to add: And I still can't figure out how something that started out so positive -- to counter the "bad advice" thread, the "bad crits" thread and the "worst SYW mistakes" thread, a thread was put up looking specifically for "what you've learned from great crits you've received". Yet somehow, it's managed to produce more negativity than the three "negative" threads combined. WTF happened?

thothguard51
11-27-2011, 08:34 PM
I blame the tone of this thread on the fact that no one got raptured...

WriteMinded
11-27-2011, 09:16 PM
Funny. Funny. I love AW.

I thought What's the Most Common Problem With Critiques You Receive was likely to get ugly, so I jumped to this thread because it sounded more positive, which I still think was the intention of the OP. So much for good intentions. :tongue

Amadan
11-27-2011, 09:28 PM
Criticism is bad. Praising one but not praising all is worse. Remember, if you didn't bring enough cookies for everyone, you can't share them.

LindaJeanne
11-27-2011, 10:51 PM
I blame the tone of this thread on the fact that no one got raptured...
:D

the cat came back
11-28-2011, 04:33 AM
When I do a crit, I think, "What does this most need?" there's not much point getting into sentence variety or "Show, don't tell." if the problems are more basic as in, "Where's the story?"

I haven't posted anything for crating in a long time - I don't find it all that useful anymore and prefer beta readers.

I still find it immensely useful, however, to give crits.

Soccer Mom
11-28-2011, 07:40 AM
Jeez Louise, guys. I just came online and found like a bazillion reported posts from various crit threads. What the hey?

I really don't want to sort through all the threads and figure out who said what. Let's just play nicely or I'll lock it.




*muttering*
damn kids--get offa my lawn

WriteMinded
11-28-2011, 08:44 PM
Hmmm. Got real quiet. Real fast.

Phaeal
11-28-2011, 10:24 PM
I'm still waiting for my pink blankie, snuffle.

LStein
11-28-2011, 11:52 PM
The most useful criticism I ever got was my friend asking: "What is this story about?" I took a second and answered "Stockholm Syndrome" and he said "I didn't get that at all."

Just forcing me to think of what my story was about whittled down to one idea told me how to edit it.

The Lonely One
11-29-2011, 02:13 AM
To me, the most useful part of a crit is why.