Author Topic: I have a unique question.  (Read 6246 times)

Offline 510bhan

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #15 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.

Offline irallan

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #16 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.

                                             
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Offline LRSuda

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #17 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)   

Offline 510bhan

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #18 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.

Offline LRSuda

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #19 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,

Lisa

Offline WoodridgeNZ

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #20 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

Offline DC

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #21 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

Dave.
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - open throttle in the other -
body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming : "Woo Hoo, what
a ride!"

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #22 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.

Sincerely;

Patron
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 04:33:45 AM by Patron »

Offline Yushu na baka

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #23 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.   
A writer is not a liar, they just take your truths and tell it back to you in a way you can understand.

Offline WordBird

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #24 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, well.....you get the point. And if someone takes the time to offer a critique, then stop critiquing the way they critique.

Offline The Dude Abides

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #25 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.
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Offline DC

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #26 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

Dave.
Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - open throttle in the other -
body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming : "Woo Hoo, what
a ride!"

Offline 510bhan

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #27 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. :)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 11:46:40 AM by 510bhan »

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #28 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.

Sincerely;



Patron
« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 01:29:24 AM by Patron »

Offline LRSuda

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Re: I have a unique question.
« Reply #29 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.

Lisa