Author Topic: Advice for a critique partner  (Read 239 times)

Offline alveszer

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Advice for a critique partner
« on: April 19, 2019, 11:20:56 AM »
I've been critiquing work for some time now. Both online and in person at a local critique group. I recently offered to help a woman in a group I am in and I am having some issues I am hoping I can receive wisdom about. Her writing definitely needs work. It's extremely difficult to read or decipher what is going on. All the issues she has to work on are not the problem, though. She is inconsiderate (if that is even the right word to describe it).
The work clearly hasn't been revised. In any fashion. I stopped reading her first draft and requested (politely) she tighten up some of the work and instead of sending me the revised work, she messaged saying she had sent 18 new pages. Imagine my surprise upon opening the document and discovering it was 100 new pages of completely unrevised work that was already challenging to critique.
She gave a few other critiquers some serious attitude when they mentioned that her work was difficult to read. Which was kind of a turn off for me as we are all volunteering.
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This woman has an interesting premise and I want to help her, but I'm really turned off by her behaviour and lack of consideration for her critiquers.

How on earth do I politely let this woman go without making her feel bad?

Offline An Albatross Man

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Re: Advice for a critique partner
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2019, 02:10:20 PM »
Easy said than done, but don't worry about making her feel bad.

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, I was regularly getting my a-- handed to me by my professors about creative work I honestly thought was excellent.  It made me plenty mad, because I was accustomed to be people being blown away by anything I wrote, performed or drew. These people were very experienced in their fields, saw talent in me, but knew that I wouldn't reach the next level unless they beat-up on my ego a little.  Now, twenty-some-odd years later, I look back and see that everything they said was right. Having sand kicked in my face was the only way I was going to learn. And I'm pretty sure none of the gentlemen lost a minute of sleep from guilt about making me feel bad. (BTW Navy flight school was EXACTLY the same way--and I saw it from both sides.)

This lady will be angry at you when you reiterate your criticisms and refuse to look at her new pages until the old ones are revised.  She will go off in a huff and find another critique partner. And that person will tell her the *the same thing*.  Sooner or later, the light bulb will come on.  Ego will reluctantly step aside, and let her latent talent progress forward.  Maybe.  Either way though, it's not your problem.  You did exactly what she asked for.