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bsymom
06-09-2011, 09:47 PM
My thought was to ask: Is this normal?
However, meandering around here earlier, I suspect "normal" is close to vulgarity...

Anyway...I feel a bit uncomfortable critiquing other peoples work around here. I usually sit back and watch how things are done, first. Which I have done, but I worry someone's going to think "hey, why's the newbie putting her two cents in?"

Phaeal
06-09-2011, 10:10 PM
Is what normal?

If you're talking about me, hell no.

VTwriter
06-09-2011, 10:13 PM
Like writing, the best way to learn to critique is to just do it. One of the values that you'll bring to any critique is your own objectivity and experiences.

Hallen
06-09-2011, 10:19 PM
Whatever you are comfortable with. Critiques in the SYW section run the gamut from extremely insightful and helpful, to utterly useless. If you read a snippet and think you can help, then write it up. Some concentrate on grammar, others on flow and pace, others on content and story, and still others on emotion and feel. All can be helpful.

The first rule of asking of a critique is knowing when somebody's input isn't helpful for you. So don't be shy about it, just be considerate. If all you can think of is, "this really sucks", then pass on doing a critique. If you think you can help, post away. It does help to read what others are doing, and it will help your writing to evaluate what others have done. But, be careful. It can make you too myopic about your own work to the point where you spend too much time worrying about the small stuff and not enough just writing.

bsymom
06-09-2011, 10:51 PM
Thanks for the advice. I'll try my best to be helpful. :)


Is what normal?

If you're talking about me, hell no.

The last time someone referred to me as normal, they were laughing. Of course, I'm not sure if my children count.

Soccer Mom
06-09-2011, 11:14 PM
Reading and absorbing is good. If you feel like critting for other people, that's great. If you don't feel comfortable with it, that's great too.

Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you don't have insight to share. But there's no obligation to share if it makes you uncomfortable. There's no need to throw your work into SYW if that makes you uncomfortable. You might find a small crit circle or beta reader more beneficial.

ETA: and thank goodness no one checks for "normal" around here. AW's population would drop to almost nothing.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-09-2011, 11:28 PM
You don't have to do anything. You can also just lurk. If you think you have a point to make, or some advice to give, or some opinion to share, then go ahead.

Wayne K
06-09-2011, 11:33 PM
I welcome new eyes. I quietly take what I want and leave the rest, so if it's not helpful, I say thank you and carry on.

writingismypassion
06-10-2011, 12:09 AM
If you have some helpful advice, give it. Just because you're a newbie doesn't mean you have nothing to offer.

quicklime
06-10-2011, 12:12 AM
My thought was to ask: Is this normal?
However, meandering around here earlier, I suspect "normal" is close to vulgarity...

Anyway...I feel a bit uncomfortable critiquing other peoples work around here. I usually sit back and watch how things are done, first. Which I have done, but I worry someone's going to think "hey, why's the newbie putting her two cents in?"



worrying is typical....it is often counterproductive, as well. If you don't crit, and actually get your hands dirty, how do you propose to ever become proficient at it?

Kate Thornton
06-10-2011, 12:34 AM
We welcome your participation, but you don't have to do or say anything at all if you don't want to. It's one of the things I love aboutt his place.

Well, that and all the truly wonderful folks here. Welcome.



..

bsymom
06-10-2011, 01:15 AM
Thank you all for your insight. I do enjoy participating, almost as much as I enjoy reading.

Mr Flibble
06-10-2011, 01:21 AM
I was wary of doing crits at first too. I waited till I had something factual to offer about a point in a story so I could be reasonably certain I wasn't offering crap advice lol, and worked my way up from there.

As long as you're a reader, you can offer advice. 'I didn't get why she'd do that'. 'This sentence is confusing' 'Swords made out of silver aren't actually all that practical'. 'There are no bears on the Isle of Wight' Every little really does help.

amrose
06-10-2011, 01:27 AM
I feel weird about critting sometimes because I know there are some things that don't work for me in a story that the problem is really just me. I say what I think in a hopefully productive way and let the writer do what they want with it if anything.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-10-2011, 11:29 AM
I think with critting someone else's work it's important that your crit benefits the author somehow and is not driven by your ego.

Nick Blaze
06-11-2011, 10:15 AM
I think you should try to critique another's work... whether you post it or not. It often helps you see what mistakes you may be making in your own novels by seeing them happen in another person's. As AmAss above said, so long as they're as devoid as ego as possible, there's only benefit from a crit.

AmsterdamAssassin
06-11-2011, 11:01 AM
As AmAss above said, so long as they're as devoid as ego as possible, there's only benefit from a crit.

Did you just call me an ass? :poke:

Libbie
06-11-2011, 06:23 PM
I think it's pretty common for people who are new to the forum or new to critique in general to be worried that their opinion won't matter to the author or will even be unwelcome. It's true that there are some forum members who won't take you seriously because you're new, but that's their loss.

The best critique I ever got was from a friend who is not a writer at all. She just enjoys reading. She's not a form member with zillions in post count. She has no "credentials" to qualify her critique as somehow worth more than anybody on AW or any agent or editor. Yet she still gave me the most useful critique I've ever received.

Anybody who isn't open to at least hearing your opinion on their work, take it or leave it, needs to grow a pair. You're not at fault.

Libbie
06-11-2011, 06:29 PM
I feel weird about critting sometimes because I know there are some things that don't work for me in a story that the problem is really just me. I say what I think in a hopefully productive way and let the writer do what they want with it if anything.

And, just for the OP's benefit, this will happen. It's normal. Remember that a critique is a subjective evaluation (most of the time -- stuff like grammar or spelling is objective, but even that can fade into the subjective realm). You're giving the writer your opinion on how the work strikes you -- what doesn't work and why. If a reader's reason for something "not working" doesn't strike the author as valid, the author doesn't have to take the reader's advice.

But the author does have to say thank you. Actually putting in the time to read, think about it, and offer an opinion is a valuable gift.

So that "best critique ever" referenced in my post above? Yeah, that had a lot of stuff I didn't agree with and won't change. My friend who gave me that awesome critique had a different approach to the tone and theme of my book, and she expected it to be all super-serious while I am going for flashes of dark humor from the MC. She didn't like the humorous bits and felt they were out of place. Fair enough. I disagree with her but thanks to her feedback I'll evaluate whether they're overdone or misplaced anywhere. A smart writer will give serious consideration to every critique, even the ones she really doesn't agree with on the surface. (A smart writer will also not try to change her work too much in response to critiques, but will use them as a way to test the temperature of the work and will keep a lot of trust in her gut instinct.)

bsymom
06-12-2011, 01:28 AM
I usually have other avid readers critique my work. Not everyone normally reads the kind of stuff I write, but I know anyone can have something to offer. Of course, I still have friends who will "lie" and tell me they love it. I have to request an honest opinion. I try to read as much as I can on here, usually my first thoughts are the same as others who have already posted.

skylark
06-12-2011, 03:04 PM
You don't have to be able to do an in-depth literary analysis for your comments to be useful. Remember that what any writer ultimately needs to know is what readers think of his book. Those readers won't be doing in-depth literary analyses of it.

Sure it's more useful if you can put into words exactly why the MC annoys you or you find yourself skimming over paragraphs, but just that you are doing it is useful in itself.

Jehhillenberg
06-13-2011, 12:14 AM
My thought was to ask: Is this normal?
However, meandering around here earlier, I suspect "normal" is close to vulgarity...

Anyway...I feel a bit uncomfortable critiquing other peoples work around here. I usually sit back and watch how things are done, first. Which I have done, but I worry someone's going to think "hey, why's the newbie putting her two cents in?"

yep felt the same way.

The Grump
06-13-2011, 01:35 AM
I assume you read the kind of fiction you write ... and know what you like and dislike:

There's no reason why a newbie shouldn't critique. For one thing, you'll learn a lot by critiquing others' work for what works and doesn't. I know I did.

Then, there're a whole bunch of other reasons which will appear as you do more and more critiques.

mrsvalkyrie
06-16-2011, 07:26 AM
I have yet to crit, too. I stick with helping out around the other forums (at least, I hope I'm helping) so that at least I can be useful somewhere. Maybe you should start with that and see where it leads. :-)

I will eventually go into SYW, but I'm just too nervous right now because I don't want to say the wrong thing, so I understand how you're feeling. But as others said, we all have valuable insight to share. :-)

Nick Blaze
06-16-2011, 07:58 AM
Did you just call me an ass? :poke:
Almost. That one little hump at the end of the "n" changes you from an ass to AmsterdamAssassin! Who'd have thunk it?