My Writers Circle

Writing => All the Write Questions => Topic started by: Patron on October 11, 2010, 01:47:55 AM

Title: I have a unique question.
Post by: Patron on October 11, 2010, 01:47:55 AM
As the subject says; I have a unique question. I am not going to offer it here as I want to explain why I've chosen this location in the forum.
First of all, this question is not about grammar or general writing questions; yet this question involves all of us and does not fall under any other category.
We all can benefit from this question and it's various responses and I truly hope that this question and answer subject can be an enjoyable learning situation to us all.
With all that being said: I want to see the rate of response's to this and then I will introduce this question.

Thank You and Sincerely;

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: 510bhan on October 11, 2010, 01:53:29 AM
We've all got questions in our lives! ;D
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Gyppo on October 11, 2010, 04:35:18 AM
It's been a while since you were last here, Patron.  So wheel out the question ;-)

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Lin on October 11, 2010, 04:53:42 AM
It does seem a strange item to post.  If you have a question why not to just ask it?
Don't keep us all waiting.

Lin x
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: WoodridgeNZ on October 11, 2010, 06:05:09 AM
Go on. Spit it out! You've got us curious now. We can't really comment on your question until we know what it is.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: 510bhan on October 11, 2010, 08:17:36 AM
For how long do we remain polite and take this seriously before frustration, boredom or distinterest come into play? Fresh and hot? Stale and cold?  There's always a choice.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Lin on October 11, 2010, 01:22:59 PM

I have another question. 

Lin x
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: eric on October 11, 2010, 01:58:06 PM
Most gracious welcome back, Patron.  And your enquiry old boy?
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Lin on October 11, 2010, 02:50:58 PM


frustration, boredom or distinterest come into play?

Disinterested or uninterested? Both mean different things.  Please clarify.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: 510bhan on October 11, 2010, 03:23:31 PM
disinterest -  interseted but without bias - don't care one way or the other
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Alice, a Country Gal on October 11, 2010, 04:11:49 PM
One thing is clear to me, the question is truelove unique since it seems to be invisible; neither read nor heard.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Patron on October 12, 2010, 06:20:43 AM

OK. Thank all who read and responded.
First of all however; I need to thank a few lifers. Thank you for the welcome back, as I'm very happy to have returned.

Gyppo, I have truly missed you and your informative and thoughtful insights.

Country4Gal, I've missed you too and I offer congratulations.

eric, thank you for that "most gracious welcome back"

So... the 60,000 dollar question?

Here it is guys and gals.

I've given this some thought.
I've stepped in and out from time to time, wondering how our MWC is coming along. Seems to be doing very well as a matter of fact. This question however, will affect a few and others not. I however, am somewhat troubled though. As many of you know I primarily stay involved in the "Review My Script" section with some dabble in the "Review My Work" area.
I have to say that I'm a Little dismayed. Why? Well here it is.

The big question:

Why is it that when our new members join and offer their work we still seem, (not everybody of course) to offer words and advice and discouragement. I guess the reason I ask this is, maybe I believe a different way. I think we are all here to encourage, and find a way to continue in our path, hoping that maybe one snippet of advice or simply strength together will lead us into the next realm of our endeavors. The negative comments I read, are sadly to say without thought and I see some of our new members, running away. Iíve seen this repeatedly in, (The Review My Script)) section as many of our members are not familiar with this.
I think that we owe ourselves and the new members of this MWC, the opportunity to be heard, whether we like it or not. This is what makes this a truly wonderful place to be and I am proud to be a member and a part of it. 

I think that we owe it to ourselves, our current members and our future generations of members to offer our best and sincere advice in the most respectful way that will continue to encourage those who are struggling or those who are coming up behind us. Please letís all make a concerted effort together to offer our best reads, advice, comments and thoughts that can help us in this never ending writing endeavor weíve so chosen. Thank you MWC and all of their staff and moderators, in giving us this wonderful forum and opportunity.

Bye the way, I am happy to be back!


Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Lin on October 12, 2010, 06:52:25 AM
Just to clarify

Disinterest means to divest of personal interest in a party or person.  Impartiality
Uninterested is being unconcerned about the matter in hand. Not interested.

Your question was valid Patron.

I feel strongly about members running away from MWC, but this is a tough world of writing, one has to become immuned to the slightly negative feel to critique.  We are only doing this to show how important it is to get it right.  If a writer cries buckets each time someone provides a comment then perhaps he should be looking elsewhere.

Writing is tough!  You will get loads of knocks and scrapes along the way.  If it wasn't for you guys out there providing me with some of the scrapes I wouldn't have got this far.  My thanks to everyone.  As one of the first MWC members, I have been here a long time so it must be a good place to be. It's important to have the opportunity to be told that my work is lousy.  Great - I'll put it right. I can go and have a paddy for ten minutes if I want, but I come back with the realisation they were right and I was wrong.  Sometimes they were wrong, but it's all about learning. You can make choices.

Good critique should be balanced and explained before reading the comments in the right hand margins. It's important to understand that if you want critique you are bound to get the feeling that everyone is out to destroy you.  Be brave, this is helpful stuff. You are dealing with many kinds of personalities here.

I have met many of the MWC members in the last couple of years and all of them have been great fun with the same aspirations as myself. What you read on the web site is the not the same as a face to face meeting. The written word is powerful and can often be misinterpreted as being  harsh.

So enjoy your day and keep writing.

Lin x
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: 510bhan on October 12, 2010, 07:13:10 AM
That is a huge question and probably affect many readers/writers on MWC. Newcomers like myself, getting to know the ropes and trying to navigate the site are bombarded with emails notifications to begin with, perhaps the abruptness through writing is only because of the speed of the response and the initial reaction. Most critiques I have seen do offer positive encouragement alongside the 'pointers' offered.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Hugh on October 12, 2010, 07:56:34 AM
Hello Patron. Iím not usually regarded as a complete thicko, but Iím afraid I donít understand where you are coming from. You started by saying you had a unique question, but wouldnít say what it was. Now that you have finally got round to sharing it with us, Iím afraid I still have to ask: What is the question?

What you call a question is really a statement ó that when new members offer their work, we offer ďwords and advice and discouragementĒ. You go on to say that a snippet of advice can lead us ďinto the next realm of our endeavoursĒ. Is that bad?

If someone posts a piece of writing in Review My Work, or indeed Review My Script, or Poetry, surely they are inviting an appraisal from their fellow writers. If they merely want a showcase for their work, thatís what the Gallery is for.

I can only speak for myself, but I only offer a critique if I feel I can contribute something that I hope will improve the piece, and help the person to become a better writer. That could be a suggestion about the punctuation, or a plea to cut out the purple prose and keep it simple, so that if fulfils my definition of good writing ó what a reader understands, enjoys reading, and gains something from.

You appear to be advocating what goes on in some writing groups, which soon fizzle out. Someone reads out what theyíve written, and everyone gushes, ďThatís wonderful, you are so clever, you must send it somewhere to be published.Ē That doesnít help anyone. It merely encourages them to keep on writing the same old crap, and collecting rejection slips.

So I must ask again: What is this unique question you mentioned?

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: 510bhan on October 12, 2010, 08:19:12 AM
Hi Hugh = sometimes newcomers take a while to familiarise themselves with the site - it's an easy mistake to post something in the wrong place until you've been around a while and know where it should be at. Perhaps the site message board could bring the gallery section up higher...I know I'm sometimes guilty of not scrolling far enough down a page to glean all the information. You scroll until you come across what you think is the correct place, post it and realise later when you've been exploring that it should have gone somewhere else.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: irallan on October 12, 2010, 09:50:59 AM
I have not found to much to complain about. Though criticisms positive and negative can still be delivered in a congenial and friendly manner and responses wether agreed upon or not the same. ie ." I like the effort but the style did'nt suit me.." rather than " That sucks." We can all be civil in our comments and polite with our responses.

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: LRSuda on October 12, 2010, 05:00:17 PM
I know, I'm cheating.  ;D  Jumping in after the BIG Question. But, Patron, I don't think anyone here intends for their critiques to be discouraging to newcomers. And, really, how much does one learn from nothing but positive comments? When I post on the review board, I do so because something about the piece is bugging me and I'm either not sure how to fix it or can't pinpoint what it is. Or, I'm so in love with the piece that I know I am very likely looking at in a way readers will not. Praise is nice, it feels good, but I want to hear other member's opinions on what needs improvement so that I can improve, say it how they will. But maybe I deal with brutal better than some. I don't know.

Truth be told, however, there are some newcomers out there who seem only to want to hear, "This is wonderful! OMG! I wish I could write like you," whether the work warrants such praise or not. I've seen a lot of very good advice, given by writers and editors who know the biz, get blown off because it does not seem to be what the newbie wants to hear. So, maybe some are leaving because, rather than learn, they want only justifications from others to support their delusions of grandeur. (And, yes, that last was intended to be brutal.  ;D)   
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: 510bhan on October 12, 2010, 05:28:30 PM
Newcomers - the ones I've been following around anyway - seem to welcome criticism and aren't here for an ego massage.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: LRSuda on October 12, 2010, 05:39:02 PM
I didn't say all newcomers. I said some. Most are very gracious and as eager to help as they are to learn. But I have seen quite a few leave after arguing with the Mods and others about the validity of the crits they took the time to give. I have also seen some who were outright insulting to those who didn't praise the work. The point was, some people do join sites such as these to satisfy their egos and when they are not, they leave. I don't think a well meaning but harsh criticism is going to chase anyone away who wants to learn, improve, and help.

Just the way I feel about it,

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: WoodridgeNZ on October 13, 2010, 07:49:18 AM
I agree with Lisa about some people responding badly, as I have seen this recently in a "review my work" post - arrogance and aggressiveness in the replies to criticism and rudeness to the moderators when checked. But, frankly, if that particular person leaves the site, I won't be crying in my beer about it.  :o
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: DC on October 13, 2010, 05:16:01 PM
Hi Patron. Before I go on, may I be another, though somewhat belated, to welcome you back? I've often wondered where you disappeared to...

Right, about your 'question'. I think the meat of it has been covered above. When we post something in one of the 'Review my...' boards, we are inviting other members to give their opinion of our work.

Most members (I admit there are a few exceptions) will give their honest appraisal of the work. What they like about it, what they don't like about it, and, in most cases, suggestions about how they think it could be improved. (Comments on the lines of This piece is a load of rubbish, whilst they may be true, are totally useless if not followed by advice as to how the piece might be improved).

What the newbie needs to realise is that, in the majority of cases, these comments are about the standard of the work presented, not about the author personally. It is a critique of the work, not a criticism of the author.

It may come across as harsh. So be it. Is it better to hear this from members on the site, who genuinely want to help, or to wait until one has received enough rejection slips to decorate a room before realising that the comments given on this site were what the author wanted to hear, rather than what he/she needed to hear?

One of our most respected (at least by me) former members was somewhat renowned for his critiques/comments. Sharp, to the point, often brutal. But I can't recall any of them that, after spending some time thinking about their meaning, could be called anything but good advice.

No matter how good your friends may say you are, if your driving is not up to the required standard, you will not pass a driving test.  Likewise, if your writing is not up to the required standard, you will not pass the agent/editor test, no matter how good previous flowery comments have suggested your writing is.

At the risk of being boring, I'll repeat again for the benefit of any newbies who read this (and perhaps some established members):

A critique is an appraisal of your work presented, not a criticism of you personally

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Patron on October 14, 2010, 04:25:58 AM
Hello everyone!

Wow! I enjoyed reading the responses; and I thank everyone for taking their time to respond.

I want to say that I took the time and I read each individual response. Again thank you everyone.

So, I want to address every response, but time constraints won't allow me to do so. I'm going to give my best overall and maybe address one or two in particular, but please don't feel left out if I failed to respond here.

That being said, I would like everyone to know that, yes I was gone for a while: I was involved in a fairly large project that involved a great deal of my time and...we'll, so I'm told anyway, is finished. I do want everyone to know that I thoroughly missed being here, on MWC. I realize I am not a hero, level nor a moderator, however in my time here, I can only hope and I actually believe that I have a great deal to contribute, and this for me is based on many private messages and many more e-mails. I see so many new members and I'm sure many of you don't know me. Myself, I always look at one person's previous posts, to understand them. Maybe we all donít take this time to do this, but I think it's important for many reasons.
I have always tried, included in my own writing, to make most try to think on another level. What does that mean?
It means that we all share one thing in common. We all can read the work of another.

Let me stop and address a response. Questions are what they are. If I ask a question, looking for a set of answers, which I have done; then the question should be responded too and not drawn with another question.

I love MWC. I choose not to share my fameís and opportunities I win: Why? I donít want any recognition from MWC. I donít want people to congratulate me and tell me Iím  Ö.great or maybe not? Not interested. I joined this place, (also addressing another) is because MWC meant something to me, and I learned some things from Nick, that advanced me in my career.

My personal understanding and belief of MWC is a place where everyone can join, share, learn and understand. We all do this in our own individual way; however in the time I was away and as I came back, I was dismayed to see responses to posted works that were negative and in some cases wrong. Being wrong is part of life; but I think that we all owe the new members and their posts, our best foot forward, that will show the class of this MWC membership, regardless of professionalism, but informed, non-personal responses that make the contributor feel welcomed and will continue to contribute and be a member.

I see this more in the screenplay section than most; because I spend my time there. I know we have a very few, that can respond to a screenplay, or play due to its very different style of writing. On the other hand, I also see the same problems happening in the open writerís forum.

Iím responding to another; this is not an attack on any individual response by any means. This is, I would hope, an opportunity for all of us MWC members to seriously evaluate each and every submission to the best of our ability, and offer the most professional critique we can offer, bearing in mind that many of these are from brand new members, and shouldnít be shunned or tossed out just because we donít like their work.

Thank you all again for your responses and I hope that we all can read and evaluate and respond with our best foot forward with respect and as we would want that same respect delivered to us.


Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Yushu na baka on October 14, 2010, 06:59:07 AM
This is an intriguing forum and I'm glad a I took a break from working to check on the good ol' MWC.

I'm a fairly new member of this forum and I like to think I've been successful in establishing myself and receiving critique well from the members and passing what advice I feel I'm qualified to give. I know at the beginning it was a little intimidating but I thought everything on this forum was quite clear. Introduce yourself, review some other's works, learn what the forum is, then post your own pieces for critique. Through and through I think when people do things correctly there's no reason to grow any resentment towards the board or be intimidated to stop posting here. Perhaps a large piece of the problem to the puzzle you're seeing here is that the new members don't spend enough time actually getting to know the character of the forum. They come on, do the mandatory Introduction (most of the time) and then jump to the Review section and post pieces. I know even I get a little goose-pimple of rage when I see a post for review or critique by someone with only 2 posts! 2!?! But alas I subside these feelings and look at their piece of work same as I would someone with 10,000 posts. It's not the amount of reply's in a forum that makes someone worth reviewing, it's their own work for what it is.

In the few months since I've joined I've watched mostly the 'Review My Work' and Off Topic pieces while glancing in the Scripts for nostalgia. I have to say though, I have yet to see anyone who was just blatantly or arrogantly rude at the expense of someone new on the forum. Sure I've watched a couple newer cubs try to butt heads with some of the MWC Staff members or long time members, but from what I've witnessed the mods handle this professionally and civilly and there's no reason for animosity afterwards, but perhaps a bruised ego here or there.

This isn't to say there isn't stern criticism, that has been seen but I think it's done in the best of intentions and is usually worded in a way to give just that; good intention. Generally the critique is to guide and educate and perhaps caution,  so sometimes it's a bit hard to find the exact wording and tact necessary to give a critique to someone who needs it without someone walking away a little worse for wear. I only hope those people can part on the issue gaining the appropriate knowledge. It's hard to watch someone falling off a bicycle when you're cruising around no-handed on a 21-Speed Schwinn (or whatever you crazy kids are riding now-a-days) but as I said, I don't think I've yet to see any member, new or old, who has just blatantly criticize anyone else for the point of negativity. So as I said, perhaps that's just me; perhaps I'm just sufficiently appeased to be live in my veil of naivetť.

I think you also have to give credit where credit is due on this forum. In general a writer is just another form of an artist. Artists, historically, are not very open to things like criticism and critique. In general they tend to be very arrogant, snarky, and hold themselves far above common sniveling peasants. With that in mind, the very fact that a forum for these hoity-toity grammar toting, spell-checking, creation hoarders ( =P ) exists without going off like St. Helens (for you non-North Westerner's this is volcano) every couple of days is frankly pretty damn impressive. I think this forum does a miraculous job of keeping the peace in what could easily be a cat fight scenario of slamming and insults.
So. . .Way to go MWC!

And that's my take, but what do I know? I'm just a brilliant idiot.   
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: WordBird on October 14, 2010, 08:45:56 AM
I seldom post items for critique. But I do, when time allows, read some of the items posted and offer my thoughts.

Did anyone stop to think that a critique says more about the person writing it than the person receiving it. It takes time to read and offer advice on other people's work. There is no monetary compensation for it (that I'm aware of). And when the critique is received with hostility, there probably isn't even that much 'feel good' payment.

One of the best ways to learn something for yourself is to correct the work of others. The people who volunteer their time are just trying to help. Writing is a skill and a craft that must be developed over time with practice.

If you were learning to drive for the first time, and let's say you were driving on the wrong side of the road, would you not expect your driving instructor to correct you before you cause a terrible accident? But then, let's also say that you were learning to drive for the first time, and another vehicle was coming across into your lane. You think quickly, see that no other cars are around and steer over to the wrong lane to avoid hitting the car. An accident is avoided by breaking the very rule that your instructor just taught you.

New writers must learn the rules in order to understand when it is ok to break the rules. If you were driving on the wrong side of the road, your driving instructor probably wouldn't say, "Hey there lovely mate, the proper way to drive is on the right/left side of the yellow line." He would likely say, "WTF are you doing, you idiot? Get on your side of the road before you get us killed!"

Ok, so I know that writing may not be the same as putting another person's life in your hands. But, my point is that people who post their work for critique must be willing to learn by the comments. If something sucks, it sucks. If something is ok, but needs some tweaking, get the point. And if someone takes the time to offer a critique, then stop critiquing the way they critique.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: The Dude Abides on October 14, 2010, 09:21:43 AM
I am probably one of those that gives negative advice. This is why. I am a SPaG freak. I simply cannot read a piece that is rife with mistakes and remain in a suspension of disbelief. I have been a member of three or four writing forums for several years. In that time, I have read many, many posted items that are just chock-full o' errors, clearly not even having been given a spell check or a read-through before being vomited onto the screen. And frequently, the author doesn't want to hear about the errors, just to be told whether it is 'good'.

At first, I was polite. But after countless repetitions (and often seeing the author ignore the advice), I now find myself either not reviewing the item at all, or advising the author to clean it up, then repost. Given the limitations of online editing, it takes time, much time, to review an item.

I should just stay away rather than offer negative feedback, but it seems to me that proper spelling, punctuation, grammar, and formatting are things that every author needs to know. Until you get famous, you cannot get away with turning in error filled crap for potential publication.

Taking your question under advisement, Patron, I believe I will just avoid critiquing work that is loaded with errors. That way, the author is not dismayed or discouraged, and I save myself time.

As usual, this is just my opinion and does not reflect the opinion of the management.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: DC on October 14, 2010, 11:13:15 AM
Hey Dude, I for one certainly hope you won't refrain from giving critiques. I think I've read a couple of your 'short,sharp' relies, and yes, that's just what they are. But they do carry the message that SPaG is important.

It's (They're?) something we all need to get our heads round, myself included, and people like you are needed to pull us up when others may not feel qualified to do so.

So, how many SPaG mistakes in this post? ;D

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: 510bhan on October 14, 2010, 11:45:01 AM
HI - I'm probably one of the annoying newcomers who jumped in straight away without getting to know the site...but I've learned a lot [DC driving instructor style analogy]. Outside the site many writers are struggling just wonder where to make a start and to have the opportunity for their work to be posted, read and possibly critiqued/reviewed FOR FREE is unbelievably generous. My contributions on posting have been meant to show courtesy and to bother to place a comment even though it might not have much content to it, to encourage others and show that there are those of us out there who do appreciate all efforts. You've got to start somewhere.

Should I have just been reading all this time and not posting??

PS Some of the zealousness shown by newbies is to get over the initial inability to stop email notifications to their mail boxes until they reach the threshold where they can change them I suspect. :)
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Patron on October 15, 2010, 01:18:06 AM
Thank you everyone for your responses. The question has not only been defined and discovered but yet.... not answered.

Nobody here is wrong! Yet nobody here is right; Why?

This was the test. This was about making us think about our responses and our opinions and how it reflects in other posts.

I really don't want to respond to each answer; however one struck me. The basis was over a period of time of new-comer entries inclusive of grammar, style or whatever errors, the decision becomes not to read or stay away or simply not to respond. Sorry.... but I have a little issue with that. Not responding, or responding with negativism is the same thing and constitutes a, holier than though, idea.

This is a simple web site designed to encourage all those who have a desire to write. One or many of us may have experience or not, however when someone finds that courage to allow another to read and critique; I believe it is in our very soul to help in every way possible without discouraging them from future posts. It's a simple thing folks. I don't mind correcting someone, whether it's grammar, style, plot, characters or in my case proper screenplay format; Why? We'll why else am I here? Over the years I've seen some people offer many pieces that have a true value. I've also seen posts of storylines from those that can't spell a word like spot; however their story was incredible and due diligence is deserved not just for their story but also for the guts to post.

Finally this question solved another question in itself. We tend to run from one post to another and we find ourselves responding to the previous post in a different forum. Why? Because that is how our mind works. We continue to process the information and make decisions from them, before trying to solve the next answer.

Maybe it's better that we try to take a little more time and respond in our best light and offer those who need a light, our best information we can offer to help than continue in their endeavors.

Nobody here should be bored with a new, or should I offer, uneducated post. This is what makeís MWC great and stands out from many other shameless websites, looking to boost numbers and not evaluating the members they have.

Sorry everyone, if you were looking for a hard Patron question, as Iíve offered before; however this one, although it may not appear important, should be given its due. All of us need to dig down inside and offer the best help we can give without cause or without an attitude that would discourage.

My final thought on this is simply this. We all come and have evolved into varying degrees of writing experience. I never get tired of seeing a new post full of errors that I know. Furthermore it doesnít in the least bore me nor make me tired to read the same errors, because I know that we all repeat many of these errors and also I know that, a simple post doesnít mean itís going in front of an editor tomorrow. If that was really what this we site was all about, then I guess we could spend all day critiquing each other to death, hoping one would be the victor.

Further more and I hate to do this in the same post, but I think it has value. Thank God, thank the Chilean government and the mining operation to save these men that have been rescued. Sometimes in life things can seem so bad, but once in a while something happens beautiful.


Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: LRSuda on October 15, 2010, 02:39:01 PM
Perhaps if you just came out and asked this unique question it would be answered. Going on what I've read so far, there hasn't been a question. You have openly blamed members of this site for chasing away new members and requested that we all consider the ways in which our critiques can be construed as negative and discouraging to new members

Well, I have a multiparter for you, which is rather straightforward:

Does courtesy not deserve kind? If a member of MWC takes the time to read, critique, and offer suggestions on how to improve a piece of writing, does that member's effort not warrant a "thank you." Or, just because a member is new, are they exempt from the standards of common courtesy?

I have never seen anyone here respond to a newbie' or any other member's posts on the review board with "This sucks," then walk away from it. I have, however, as I stated earlier, seen new members respond to even some of those who have posted here with defensiveness, antagonism, and outright rudeness if the review was not riddled with praise. (And to answer your question 510bhan, no, in my opinion you have not been running around this site all willy nilly. I have seen nothing but gracious and well thought out replies posted by you.)

So, Patron, maybe consider that the finger of blame doesn't point in a single direction? If someone quits because of a harsh critique, my guess is that there is more going on than meets the eye.

This will be my last reply to this thread.


Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: thatollie on October 15, 2010, 03:00:19 PM
I'm glad you're back. Regrettably, I cannot answer your question.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: WoodridgeNZ on October 15, 2010, 04:20:11 PM
I agree with Lisa on this one. Thanks for raising the issue, though. Hope you're enjoying being back at MWC.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Patron on October 16, 2010, 12:27:10 AM
Very interesting post, should I say....? Sorry but I would suggest you re-read.

thatollie; Glad to see your still around. I was just checking the other day to see if you were still here. That reminds me of something. I'll send a PM.


Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Don on October 16, 2010, 07:27:05 AM
I've been avoiding this thread, but there are a couple of obvious points that ought to be thrown into the mix.

In a virtual environment, it's sometimes hard to wrap your head around the diversity a site like MWC offers. We have members as young as eleven and others who are self-identified as curmudgeonly. They hail from every corner of the planet and English isn't always their first language. It should surprise no one that the range of talent and ability is equally diverse.

Several have spoken of courtesy and yes, that is a requisite element on an opinion/information sharing site. Lisa has correctly pointed out that courtesy is a two-way street. But if courtesy is requisite, so too is honesty. If someone has violated a fundamental rule of the language, this has to be pointed out. Arguing with someone who has critiqued your work does nothing to improve your writing. Accept the advice or reject it but have the courtesy to say thank you.

Critiquing takes time and effort. Hell, just reading a piece takes time. Not every piece that gets posted is going to be reviewed. That's simply the dynamic of the site.

If I post a piece for review, I should be grateful for those who gave me the gift of their time to read it and especially grateful to those who made the effort to respond. Whether the responses were helpful or not is quite beside the point--a simple thank you is in order. Arguing with someone who has pointed out deficiencies in your work is the telltale sign of immaturity as a writer, chronological age notwithstanding.

Those who post their work for review should shoulder some of the responsibility for the critique process. Telling me what you need help with allows me to read with that purpose in mind. If I offer additional advice, that's a bonus. If you don't tell me what you are looking for, then everything is up for grabs and this is often where the critiquing process falls apart.

Some pieces need improvement in several areas. The reviewer will say, "I don't know where to begin," and they don't. They point out the need for improvements in spelling, sentence structure, grammar choices and show versus tell. Our budding author is overwhelmed and takes up embroidery. Reviewers should remember that while all their critiques were valid, no one can correct everything at once. In our rush to help, we sometimes forget that. Help the poster with one thing and let them improve that first.

Oh, yes, did I say welcome back?

Don -

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Tempered on October 16, 2010, 07:40:57 AM
Ah critiquing. How to give one, how to take one.

Excellent post btw Don.

I will add one thing and that is that I'm a firm believer that the novel you are writing should not go into a forum. I know that sounds weird, but for me, a novel written by you, should be written only by you from the lessons you've learnt from pieces written to teach you. What I mean is to do exercises like those done in school, learn from them and then apply it to you manuscript, this way, every word, every phrase is in your voice and not in a combination of others.

Of course after you have reached the level of being secure with your writing, when you are a writer then this could change. But while still in the process of becoming that writer you wish to be, it is just easier to let go of words that don't have that 'manuscript I bled for' attachment.

anyway best writing to you all.

My thoughts are just my thoughts and by no means make them the truth or the only way. If you find something that works for you, then use it.

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: thatollie on October 16, 2010, 09:07:46 PM
Very interesting post, should I say....? Sorry but I would suggest you re-read.

thatollie; Glad to see your still around. I was just checking the other day to see if you were still here. That reminds me of something. I'll send a PM.


Please do, playing PM tag may keep you here a while.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: ma100 on October 17, 2010, 04:16:40 AM
Hi Patron, welcome back.

I pretty much agree with Don and I would just like to show things from the other side of the coin. Reviewers need as much encouragement as newbies. Some are terrified they have given the wrong advice. I for one am and if I'm not sure, I pm whoever I think can check me. Unlike a lot, I don't care if I look a fool, I wore a dunces hat for a year before I started to get some of the knowledge in my head.

Some newbies do come on and think they have the next 'Stephen King' cos their family and friends have said it's good. It's a shock to their system to find out it's not the next best seller. I've been there mate so has the best part of the members on this site. ;)

Crits do take a long time to do and also they SHOULD be acknowledged whether agreed with or not. There is no reason for anyone to be cruel, but we owe it to all our members to be honest or we are doing the poster no favours. We can encourage and I feel most of our members do. Sometimes we have the odd person who jack boots in, but on the whole this is a very helpful site.

This subject came up last year and it will show you how the critters at that time were feeling.

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Patron on October 18, 2010, 02:01:13 AM

Thank you very much for the welcome back.

I was letting this post go because it was clearly heading a different direction. Thank you very much, whole heartedly for your post. Everything you said is right on the money.

I completely agree that we need to critique each piece with our best effort; I don' think anyone deserves a break or special treatment. I never indented that. I think some took this a bit too personal. That's not the point however and is, un-important.

This is the point. (As you have already said.) I absolutely think that we all need to critique as best we can, however can't we just show a little common courtesy? Whether it is right or wrong, agreed or not, common courtesy in our responses and posts is not only necessary but for my opinion, mandatory.

Iíve re-written this twice. Ma100 youíve got me thinking here. Thank you for that. This for me is all about our responses to new person posts. Iíve been gone awhile I know; I return and read some ďnewbie type posts and Iím dismayed. Iíve been around a while some longer than me; I was thoroughly disappointed to read reply type posts that, lacked merit, lacked integrity and most of all simply lacked respect. I realize I was away, but and I miss some of those who arenít here anymore, but I honestly felt like Pat was among us again. Heavens no!

I am condensing but, Iíve seen posts on this thread that were thought out and well written. Iíve seen others that were deplorable. I believe that we owe it to ourselves, call it pride, call it responsibility, call it anything that you want; I believe we need to simply respond with a little respect. New people enter all the time. Maybe their grammar is bad, maybe their spelling, and many times I see their format is wrong: I ask you, who cares? These people might be looking for someone to guide, they might simply be looking to get their feelings out or they might be testing the waters: Who knows? As Iíve read; we wonít read them because their spelling stinks; or how about, writers need to have a thick skin? I gotta tell you, writers develop this thick skin but not here on the MWC. How about those that have said that nobody theyíve seen writes with any disrespectÖ. How about saying that I wonít respond anymore? Please people think about your responses.

Don86usa, you were right in many ways. Thank you. LRSudaÖ.weíll I just canít possibly respond to your threadÖ missed the boat, Iím sorry to say and Iím thrilled it was your last thread.

I can go on. Many have offered some sound and positive advice.

I want everyone to know that I encourage and appreciate each and every new person that joins this forum; and I hope that they will get the best out of it. By the way, one more: Nobody here is an editor looking to slim the pile and find the worst, post full of mistakes. Help these new people for crying out loud. Everyone wants to be heard. Maybe it isnít what we like or agree with but we have the responsibility to help the best we can; period.

Last point I help out in a volunteer group for dyslexic people looking to write and or work through their dyslexia. Iíve seen some great ideas written from these people and I couldnít imagine tearing into them because they misspelled or grammatically were wrong or their format was atrocious.

Think about it; what do you know about these new people that submit? Maybe they donít have a spell check; maybe they donít have the education; maybe they know a little English; or just maybe somebody needs to feel a part of something and wants to share their writing. I donít think a thick skin is needed, is it?


Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: twisted wheel on October 18, 2010, 02:23:52 AM
hi patron,

i'm glad to see you back too. i'm one of those who you are pointing the finger at for sure. i've always tried to do all that ma and don have said in their posts. BUT it gets annoying when lots of newbies join MWC and post their work in the script section never to return. my time is limited and reviewing a script (which i enjoy) takes a long time to do properly. so when i have done this and get no response from the person(s) time and again, i just think 'sod it, i won't bother anymore. check through all the posts to see if that is correct. but now i just stay away from the section because i don't want my time wasted anymore. i do agree with a lot of what you say though but i deserve the same respect. reviewing takes a hell of a longer time than posting!

Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: Patron on October 18, 2010, 02:51:28 AM
Hello midnight candle;

Great to see you again!

No, I wasn't picking on you and I'm not picking on anybody! I promise. I agree your time is valuable; My time is too. On the same token when I joined this web site I felt this. (What I've been talking about.) You may have felt it or not. You've been around. I see many great things happening here. Their is so much talent here; Country GaL, Gyppo and many others, (please don't feel left out anyone, because their are far to many to name here) but as I said, I came back, read  some discouraging posts and it was like Pat was back.

I understand time constraints; I was gone for awhile. I'm not asking anyone to agree with me here; but is this what we do? Time forces us to offer a post that speaks negative and discourteous or possibly disruptive. We were all new members once.

Just my thoughts.

Great to see you again midnightcandle and thanks for responding. Look forward to seeing you around the boards.


Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: twisted wheel on October 18, 2010, 04:34:45 AM
thanks patron.
Title: Re: I have a unique question.
Post by: The Dude Abides on October 18, 2010, 09:41:05 AM
Yeah, this is my last visit to this thread also. It is starting to turn inward on itself. But first, Patron, in your last post, you say this:
Think about it; what do you know about these new people that submit? Maybe they donít have a spell check; maybe they donít have the education; maybe they know a little English; or just maybe somebody needs to feel a part of something and wants to share their writing.
There is a clear implication in your posts that the reviewer should go easy on mechanical errors, maybe even not mention them, so the original author will not be discouraged. When a post is made with many SPaG problems, there can only be a few reasons.
1. The person does not know the proper usage or word.
2. They know what is correct, but made a lot of typos and did not proofread afterward.
3. They do not care if there are mistakes, that just want to get their deathless prose out for (only) favorable reviews.
4. English is not their primary language, or they are just learning the rules.

I cannot see any of those cases except 3 where the author would not fervently wish to know of their errors, so they do not continue to make them. But, as always, this is just my opinion.