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gothicangel
01-28-2012, 11:43 PM
I was reading the current issue of Mslexia [UK magazine for women writers] and came across on a piece about the results of a survey on receiving the feedback to criticism, and wondered what other people's thoughts are:


59% found the information helpful
41% found the process supportive and constructive

8% found the comments contradictory
6% felt it undermined their writing

Feedback was too general to be helpful:
30% it doesn't work for me
Or too specific to be helpful:
16% 'that comma's in the wrong place.'
Or simply, 'people don't always know what they are talking about [36%]

One in eight felt the feedback was distorted by the critters own insecurities.
One in six believe that the feedback was influenced by personal issues.

66% where hungry for feedback.
50% felt exposed in showing their work.
19% found criticism 'unnecessarily brutal.'
2% have fallen out with their critters.

As for the critters:

61% said that they tried to balanced the negative and the positive when giving feedback on a poor piece.
One in eight confessed to stretching the truth in an attempt to say some thing nice.
One in four overlook the problems altogether and focus only on positive aspects.

*Statistics taken from Mslexia Dec/Jan/Feb 2011-2

Polenth
01-29-2012, 07:34 AM
A lot of getting critiquing to work is finding someone who is a good fit for the way you work, so that stats don't really surprise me. There are always going to be failures on the route to finding someone suitable. People need different things from their critiques.

I do think some categories are a bit over-simplistic. How I approach a critique to a piece of terrible writing depends on the writer. Some people benefit from the whole truth. Others need more general encouragement with a few points explained, or it'll overwhelm them.

gothicangel
01-29-2012, 04:59 PM
I was intrigued by the idea that some critters are stretching the truth to be nice.

Is that the function of a critter, to be nice? I don't believe that is an honest way to be critting. When I crit I am brutal, and I'm open about it, but then I also balance it with 'you need to work on X' or 'try reading this author.'

I'll be posting in SYW soon, and I expect people to be brutal with me. I wouldn't appreciate critters just saying something to be nice.

backslashbaby
01-29-2012, 07:45 PM
If someone is just starting out or having their work critted for the first time, I'll make sure to tell which parts I liked. I think I usually mention that anyway, but I may forget with regular crits. I really am looking for problems that stick out, not the good stuff. The good stuff rolls on by nicely, and I'm looking for a break in that.

I try to give my impression as just a reader, too, especially when asked. Then I look it over again and pick it apart. So the author hopefully knows whether something is a glaring problem to me or a minor quibble.

Polenth
01-30-2012, 03:25 AM
I was intrigued by the idea that some critters are stretching the truth to be nice.

Is that the function of a critter, to be nice? I don't believe that is an honest way to be critting. When I crit I am brutal, and I'm open about it, but then I also balance it with 'you need to work on X' or 'try reading this author.'

I'll be posting in SYW soon, and I expect people to be brutal with me. I wouldn't appreciate critters just saying something to be nice.

I don't lie, but I don't see anything wrong with considering the audience when I critique. If a 5-year-old shows me a painting, I'm not going to say it's terrible, lacks any sense of colour and proportion and they've got a long way to go before they can match Picasso. It's not about being nice for the sake of being nice, but about giving people the level of critique that'll be helpful for them.

On the other side, I'm sure some people do lie. Think about how many posters have said, "But my mum and my best friend loved it!" when someone suggests their stuff needs work. Some people can't bring themselves to say anything bad.

Cristin_B
01-31-2012, 03:52 PM
I think there are different needs depending on where a writer is at. Someone just starting out might be looking for encouragement, someone to say, "No, you're not crazy. You are able to do this."

Whereas a writer working toward publication needs to know exactly what works, what doesn't work, and why. I've been in critique groups with both, and try to adjust according to what will be most helpful.