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Stew21
01-09-2008, 11:21 PM
I've asked the question. People have asked it of me. People have shared in SYW for the purpose of finding this out and nothing more.
So I'm curious:
When someone shows you work and says "How does it make you feel?" what do you base your answer on? Is it the plot, character, or theme?
Is this a question which, at its heart, is asking you to ignore certain elements (grammar, punctuation, sentence structure)?
Can you separate those elements out in order to answer the question?

I find that more and more, I can't. How I feel when I read a novel, short story or poem that needs work in those more technical areas is frustrated. That's how it makes me feel. those sorts of mistakes (not a few, I mean a lot) take me out of the "feel" of the words and the ideas, the story, characters, etc. It is hard for me to pull those things apart, though I'm certain the question is asking "did I make my point even while not paying attention to the basic structural necessities of good writing?" or I tried to paint a picture of a flower, I know the proportions are wrong, it doesn't look much like a flower and the color scheme is off, but besides all that do you feel like your standing in a field when you look at it?
Example: Poetry with problems in meter, rhyme, or use of basic poetic devices - "but how did it make you feel?" well. I'd feel better if those tools of poetry were used so well that they were transparent and theme and form functioned as a solid unit.
I've had people read work from first draft that was not pretty - asking them to pay attention to story - but I wonder how they can. I've regretted asking someone to do it now that it's been asked of me. I think at the time it was "story flow" I was after so as not to waste precious time of someone fixing mistakes that were bound to be in a draft like that. I consider this a mistake on my part that I won't repeat.

Is asking someone to solely focus on how something feels like asking someone if a building is beautiful even though it is structurally unsound and not-functional to the purpose for which it was built?


What does "how does it make you feel" mean?

DeleyanLee
01-09-2008, 11:30 PM
When someone shows you work and says "How does it make you feel?" what do you base your answer on? Is it the plot, character, or theme?
Is this a question which, at its heart, is asking you to ignore certain elements (grammar, punctuation, sentence structure)?
Can you separate those elements out in order to answer the question?

I base my answer on the experience of having read their work in totale, as a reader, without an editing/critiquer hat on. Did I fall into the story? Did I enjoy the experience? Did I like the characters?

Only after I have that assessment do I put on my editorial/critiquer hat and look for the places and reasons where things worked and things didn't for further commentary.

So, yeah, I can separate those elements out in order without much problem. That's how I was trained to critique.

maestrowork
01-09-2008, 11:35 PM
I base my answer on being a reader -- Did I enjoy the story? Did I feel the emotions and the meanings of the story? Does the writing take me out of the writing? If the writing is bad, it doesn't matter if the story is there -- I can't get into it, and that would be my feeling as a reader. I also rate the story not simply by emotions, but by intelligence, structures, pace, intensity, etc. -- everything that has something to do to ensure my enjoyment and involvement.

Now, if the author asks me specific questions such as "how does the relationship between A and B make you feel?" I would be honest about it and be specific as well. Don't expect me to sugarcoat it, though. If it doesn't work, I will tell you.

That is, if I could get through the whole thing.

Gina M
01-09-2008, 11:37 PM
Hi Stew21,



I have posted some work in SYW in the past and was looking for a specific type of feedback. However, initially I didn't clearly state what type of feedback I wanted. So, naturally I received feedback - some great and others not what I was looking for at the time.
If I am generic in my quest as to how it makes you feel - I don't want to be dragged through the mud that my punctuation sucks ( God I know it does - I'm working on it) or that there is too much telling etc.
When I ask the question - how does it make you feel - I mean exactly that. Are you bored with it, does it interest you, does it make you want more?
How does it make you feel has become a wide meaning phrase.
Consider the differences when that same question is asked by a therapist, a chiropractor or a dominatrix? Hmmm.
So, if I'm reading something for someone or they are reading for me, unless it is specifically stated to comment on grammar, punctuation, show vs. tell etc., the question, How does it make me feel, needs to be answered with - angry, excited, bored - those are the feelings that I want to know.

My 2c

Gina

Stew21
01-09-2008, 11:39 PM
I base my answer on being a reader -- Did I enjoy the story? Did I feel the emotions and the meanings of the story? Does the writing take me out of the writing? If the writing is bad, it doesn't matter if the story is there -- I can't get into it, and that would be my feeling as a reader. I also rate the story not simply by emotions, but by intelligence, structures, pace, intensity, etc. -- everything that has something to do to ensure my enjoyment and involvement.

Now, if the author asks me specific questions such as "how does the relationship between A and B make you feel?" I would be honest about it and be specific as well. Don't expect me to sugarcoat it, though. If it doesn't work, I will tell you.

That is, if I could get through the whole thing.

yes. these are the things I was referring to. They all are so closely related and all smaller parts of the whole experience it is hard to distinguish. Specific questions are much easier to answer. How did such and such scene make you feel? How did the ending make you feel? etc. those are more doable.

Stew21
01-09-2008, 11:42 PM
Hi Stew21,



I have posted some work in SYW in the past and was looking for a specific type of feedback. However, initially I didn't clearly state what type of feedback I wanted. So, naturally I received feedback - some great and others not what I was looking for at the time.
If I am generic in my quest as to how it makes you feel - I don't want to be dragged through the mud that my punctuation sucks ( God I know it does - I'm working on it) or that there is too much telling etc.
When I ask the question - how does it make you feel - I mean exactly that. Are you bored with it, does it interest you, does it make you want more?
How does it make you feel has become a wide meaning phrase.
Consider the differences when that same question is asked by a therapist, a chiropractor or a dominatrix? Hmmm.
So, if I'm reading something for someone or they are reading for me, unless it is specifically stated to comment on grammar, punctuation, show vs. tell etc., the question, How does it make me feel, needs to be answered with - angry, excited, bored - those are the feelings that I want to know.

My 2c

Gina

Hi Gina. I have also asked people to not waste their time on those things, but have learned that most people have trouble looking past them, it pulls the reader out of the story just long enough to be a distraction to the pace at the very least. (IMO).
When I've asked the question I was looking for feedback on a cohesive, moving plot, proper levels of human emotion, intensity, anxiety, and conflict, etc.
I just guess that from now on, I will ask it that way.

Toothpaste
01-09-2008, 11:52 PM
Stew I actually get where you are coming from. There are some pieces of writing that are so poorly put together that it distracts me from "feeling" anything about the story itself. I can't say that the work made me bored, because I got angry reading it. I can't say the work made me angry, because it was the mistakes that made me angry.

There are other pieces of work that might lack something technically, but still have a decent grasp of the basics that I can see past it. Then I can comment on my emotional response to the work.

It always comes back to: it depends.

maestrowork
01-09-2008, 11:58 PM
I don't sweat the occasional typos, grammatical errors, etc. -- I make those mistakes, too. But there are other mechanics that would absolutely take me out of the story -- wordiness, for example. Badly composed sentences, cliches after cliches, overtly flowery prose, etc.

Stew21
01-10-2008, 12:08 AM
So when someone asks you that question, even if the work is impeccably written, what do you base "feel" on? Which element or combination of elements determines "feel"?

Do you ask the writer questions to clarify? "How do I feel about what specifically?" "Which parts?" "Regarding which story elements?"

Toothpaste
01-10-2008, 12:25 AM
If someone asks me what I feel, I usually go with the gut. When I read, watch, listen to something, I feel something. Literally. Sometimes the feeling is hard to quantify, sometimes the answer is "weird". Then once I've answered in the general, I try to see why I felt what I did, what kind of "weird" "happy" "sad" "angry" whatever it was that I was feeling. In that way I then look at character development and story arc, and tone and style etc.

But I will start with just the gut feeling.

maestrowork
01-10-2008, 12:36 AM
Same here: gut feel. First impression. Last. How I feel about the entire story in general or specific parts. Parts that are very well done, and parts that I feel are a bit lacking. Whether the story touches, entertains, enlightens...me as it should. If it's a horror: Am I scared? If it's a romantic story: Do I feel the connection? Do I feel the emotions? If it's a tragedy: Am I touched? If it's a comedy: Do I laugh?

Basically, do I make a connection with the story and characters as a reader?