Author Topic: Critique.  (Read 18457 times)

Offline ma100

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Critique.
« on: August 26, 2009, 03:28:33 PM »

Over the last couple of weeks, more and more members are not getting crits and this is for a number of reasons, but first of all I would like to put my point of view and dispel a few myths.

Some people are under the impression that it is their right to get a crit from the mods. NOT TRUE. Mods who crit do it by choice and voluntarily just like any other member. Mods are members with a few more buttons.  ;D

Lack of courtesy on the review board is getting a bit out of hand. If someone has gone to the time and effort to review your work, it's good manners to acknowledge their efforts. Even if you DISAGREE. Thanks for your comment will suffice, and if you think they are wrong, tell them so politely. They may not realise they are wrong, after all we are all trying to learn. ;)

I see this time and time again and to be honest it puts me off reviewing. So, I would imagine, it also does other members who have taken the time to do a crit and not recieved feedback.

A lot of new members are posting without reviewing and then complaining because they haven't been reveiwed. Members are not pressed into doing anything they don't want too. It's their choice if they crit, but again if they have put in the time and effort to do this a thanks costs nothing.

The STICKY critique for the shy will give you ideas on where you can help. I am not getting at anyone, so please don't think I am. :)

There are a lot less reviewers to posters, and it's up to the members to play the game properly and give as well as take. :)

Here is a copy of a post I made recently.
Quote
Quote

There are many reasons why a story isn't commented on, and I will list some below for you and others to see.

1. The story is too long.
2. The story is a download.
3. Not their genre.
4. The story doesn't grab their attention.
5. Some don't feel qualified to form an opinion.
6. Too many errors.
7. Some will only read for friends.
8. Some don't review at all.
9. Some would rather ignore than say hurtful things.
10. Some newbies take crits personally and don't realise the critter is trying to help them.
11. Some people only review when they want a crit.
12. The piece has no white space between paragraphs.

The bottom line is, reviews take a long time to do. People that crit work do it on their time without payment. At MWC, we don't force people to do things they don't want to do, It is up to the individual. It is not a slur on anyone that their piece is bad, just that time is an issue.

We do have a shortfall on reviews to posters, but that is the way it is at the moment. Sometimes you will get a load at once, other times you will get none. Take a look at other reviews, see if you can see where people have picked out errors that you can apply to your own work. This is the way I learnt and still is learning to write.   :) Remember it is nothing personal.  ;)

As for the amount of views per story, please remember that guests also look and are counted in the views, but they are unable to comment. Also every time you go on it's another view, they soon mount up.

Put at the top of your post what sort of feedback you would like, it does help.



Anyhooooo Ma whinge over.  :)

Offline Tina

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2009, 07:38:05 PM »
Thanks ma100.   August has been a busy month for me......

I try to do a couple crits every night......a little bit behind on my quota--- ;D

I tend to hang out in the Gallery section, will try to overcome my shyness and branch out into new threads.

Thanks for posting this......

Offline amakepeace

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2009, 08:10:55 PM »
I have to admit that when I see someone posting and it's their first post to the forum, I move on.

In general though I haven't been able to critique as much lately. Combination of health problems and keeping up with the E-Crit group has me busy. But I do try and offer a critique when I can.

You made a lot of good points Ma. We can only do our best!  ;)


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Offline Spell Chick

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2009, 08:33:11 PM »
I don't think it's a matter of people "having" to critique someone's work. It seems it is more a quid pro quo type of deal here. If you are posting work to be critiqued, you should forge ahead and offer some fresh eyes to others.

You don't have to be a brilliant writer to know how to critique. You can simply offer the author an insight into what does or doesn't work. Saying simply that something is brilliant or not, however, isn't helpful at all.

Even if all you know is that you are captivated by the protag, that is helpful to say. Why you find something engaging or not is helpful even if you don't understand all the mechanics of the English language. If you find something particularly off putting, letting the author know that is helpful as well. "The slang used is very dated." is a worthwhile piece of knowledge.

If you are unsure, read a few of the more involved critiques and see what is being done. You really learn more about your own writing as you critique other people's work. So it is a win-win situation.
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Offline eric

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2009, 09:31:29 PM »
Patti and Ma are both right, and threads like this are very good things to have.  I have posted tons of reviews, and I've noticed that the chances of two things happening increase dramatically when you review newbies, people with limited experience, or people who write really awful pieces.  (1) You get argued with by the writer.  (2) You get complained about to the mods.  This makes reviewing posts by any of the three mentioned groups much less attractive.


Offline gotpaints

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2009, 01:17:42 AM »
I attempt to review when I have time but this month has been hectic.  But I also haven't posted work in a while because I don't want to get more than I can give.

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2009, 03:42:59 AM »
Good points, ma and eric.

It's also still summer. I don't know about anybody else, but when I'm not writing my own stuff on computer, I'm outdoors enjoying the weather. I haven't critiqued in quite a while. When things settle into a normal rhythm in the autumn, I'll probably review now and then. I know how important it is for members and the site as a whole that reviews are made. They've helped me, and I do want to help other people.

p.s. I also wanted to mention that I probably won't review people who post pieces to the review boards too often. I call them Crit Hogs. I'm talking about the same person having several pieces up for review at once, whether it's multiple chapters or different stories. The same goes for people who seem to always have something new up for review, week after week after week. I assume they're looking for somebody to hold their hand. I like to encourage people when it's warranted, but the crit boards shouldn't be used as a crutch or to stroke egos.

To me, you should carefully choose a short piece you want reviewed. You should have a reason you want it reviewed, and state it in the post if you want to: I have a problem with the dialogue. Is the pace too fast? I'm not sure about POV. If I as the reviewer know what you want help with, I'm more likely to help because I can focus faster.

If I see chapter after chapter posted, I'm under the impression somebody wants their whole book reviewed. If you want that, find a twin or a beta reader. The review board is ultimately there to educate all of us, not just the person getting the reviews. This happens best when fewer pieces are posted for review, and we can see the writer is serious about improving that piece. If someone posts piece after piece for general critique, I start to think he's not really learning anything. It's all about attention, and I'm just too busy and serious about writing to play that game.

I'm sorry if my opinion may offend some people. It's just a small problem I've noticed lately on the board.

« Last Edit: August 27, 2009, 04:19:43 AM by Annmarie »
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Offline Chord

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2009, 06:32:29 AM »
Totally agree with you Annmarie and others.

It's very simple.

Don't come on the board with the impression that everybody is just waiting for you to delight them with your latest (un-spell-checked) masterpiece, presented as a solid wall of text, because you were just too darn eager to post it. We're not. We're all writers, doing our own thing. We may love your writing, but it is a distraction from our own work. Make it easier for us to review and get into it and you'll tap into the inner word-addict that is in us all and get us to read it properly. I'm not saying everything has to be technically perfect (or I'd be screwed), just make a little effort.

Read the sticky guide at the top of the board. Nobody here is paid to review. You review us, we'll review you. Simple as that. Even if you don't feel you have much to contribute technically, you can give reader impressions ('I didn't empathise with Norbert at all'. 'June was totally one dimensional'. 'I knew from the first sentence what the ending would be.') Though you may or may not have technical ability your honesty is valuable. If you're not prepared to contribute your own time though - sod you.

As AnnMarie says; have a reason for the review. If you just want to post your work - put it in the gallery, that's what it's for. People may or may not comment on it but you won't annoy them by wasting their time on needless reviews. This isn't the place to get longer pieces reviewed - you need to build relationships with other members and get them to do offline reads for you if you want twinning/beta readers. If you pose a question - you'll get an answer - if you just throw it down for 'comments', people have to work a lot harder so you'll get less responses.

As for the people serial publishing their entire first draft through the review board. You must be crazy. If I was a publisher and I saw you'd revealed your entire first draft on a public (no membership required to view pieces on the review board) forum, I'd have you taken outside and shot.

The review board is a great tool if it's used properly and you use courtesy and common sense. Other boards have token systems where you won't receive any reviews until you've built up enough tokens through valid reviews of others (and the requirements for a review to be valid can be very stringent). The system here is very fair and new-member friendly. People shouldn't feel guilty about not responding on a thread demanding attention by someone who was too self-centred to even read the posting guide (or too selfish to comply with it).

So yeah. What Annmarie and the others said +1. ;)




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Offline Maimi

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2009, 09:02:29 AM »
Ditto to the Nth degree.

Like many, my giving reviews ratio to asking for them is heavier than required on the giving side.  Having said that, the attitude popping-up is discouraging (very non-community and even less productive).

The impression I get is that there are knee-jerk reactions taking place when someone receives a less than stellar critique, though it could be due to bloated egos.  Even if you think a critique is way off base, thank the critic for their time and move on.  It is one thing to correct a critic when they give you the wrong info about grammar, but another to pollute the thread with useless/rude arguments and rants.  That's a big turn-off for me.

Most are here to learn and share.  Others need to leave their pride at login.  If you want nothing but praise, keep it in the family.  Otherwise, there are a lot willing to help you hone your skills/craft with honesty.

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Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2009, 03:18:05 PM »
Yes, some cave dwellers picked up guns to defend those that could afford to go to collage. While these poor individuals never learned to spell the word brick, they used them to build, instead of throwing.

Offline Aspiring

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2009, 05:15:52 PM »
Thanks for posting all your thoughts. It was only recently that I began taking writing more seriously and as such am not used to the scene. It's good to find out what annoys other people looking to critique. While I give more critiques than I ask for, I admit I'm guilty to committing some of those other annoyances. I'll remedy that.

I do want to emphasize one of the earlier posts. Please, everybody, proofread before posting. Nobody's perfect and we all make typos or screw up our grammar somewhere (I, for one, use too many commas. I'm working on it.), but if the first thing I notice happens to be a paragraph full of misspelled words and horrible grammar I'm probably not going to read on.  Once again, please proofread.
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Offline Diver

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2009, 11:26:08 PM »
Amen to ALL the above.

Yet I fear this thread is just preaching to the choir.

The takers who can't be bothered to read or even attempt to follow the 'posting' or 'welcome' stickies or even the kind moderator welcome replies won't deign to read this either.  

But it does feel good to call them out, even if they don't hear it.  :P

Offline Don

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2009, 12:52:07 AM »
There are a number of excellent points brought up in this thread and thanks to Ma for starting it. Since I'm never going to be mistaken for the Tea and Sympathy go-to guy, I'm going to add a couple of things that haven't been said.

I find it annoying when someone posts chapter 37 of their opus nauseam on the review board and they are still making the same fundamental mistakes they made in chapter 1. Part of the problem is that they posted all 37 chapters over a seven day stretch. Another part is that they are either not reading the critiques they are getting or they are ignoring very fundamental advice and not applying it to subsequent chapters. If you're not going to take the critiques to heart, spare us all and post your stuff in the Gallery.

So, you don't like my critique? I don't care. That I took the time out of my busy schedule to review your work should tell you that I saw something worthwhile, or perhaps some subject matter where I have a particular expertise. Read it with care. If you choose to reject it, say thank you and move on. Picking an argument with me does nothing for you, or me or anyone reading the thread. It wastes everyone's time and makes you look small.

Putting your first post on the Poetry Board or Review Board is a rude way of introducing yourself. This tells me that either your haven't read the rules or think you are above them. In either event, you'll likely incur someone's wrath if you get any response at all. Read the rules. It's not rocket science. This site is as simple as they come.

« Last Edit: August 28, 2009, 04:49:50 PM by don86usa »
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Offline Annmarie

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2009, 04:03:27 AM »
Instead of posting on the boards, I'll make sure I send you my opus nauseam per PM, Don.  ;D  Your post made me laugh, I agree with it 100%.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2009, 07:30:21 AM by Annmarie »
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Offline Diver

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Re: Critique.
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2009, 12:15:52 PM »
Don, may I add one more annoyance to your excellent list?

People who post for review with the tag: ‘I wrote this in 10 minutes’. 

I’m guessing all they are looking for is a pat on the back, as it would take me longer than 10 minutes to read and offer any serious or (hopefully) insightful comments. They could not truly be asking for someone to spend time and effort critiquing, when they couldn’t bother contemplating/rewriting/reviewing/editing/correcting themselves. If it’s not worth their effort, why on earth would it be worth anyone else’s?

OK, as long as I’m ranting ::), one other.  As Ma said (more politely than I): People who can’t be bothered to say ‘thank you’ or give any acknowledgement at all after receiving an actual review (not just a ‘good job’ comment). I think I’d even take an argument over that, at least it shows they bothered to read it.

I’m generally a ‘happy-to-help’ & ‘let-it-go’ kind of person, just in a rotten mood today I guess. :P