NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > GENERAL DISCUSSION > Creative Writing Corner
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - The bare bones of critiquing (give and take)
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

The bare bones of critiquing (give and take)

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
ShadowBeast View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 18 Jan 2015
Location: Minnesota
Status: Online
Points: 726
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote ShadowBeast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The bare bones of critiquing (give and take)
    Posted: 09 Feb 2016 at 2:08pm
The machine of the forum is rumbling along nicely. Every hour readers churn out vast quantities of feedback. So ... perhaps it is time to explore how to give, and far more importantly, how to take feedback--even the not so helpful stuff. I speak from experience, as I learned a lot in last year's competition how to filter.

Last year I came to competition with a mystery where I gamboled on the formula, had a LOT of characters, and quite a bit of run on sentences. My story failed to advance--for god reasons I had been unaware of when I submitted it. The forum members focused on those problems and over the year I spent time working on addressing those universally recognized flaws. Because the members didn't shirk, and I didn't argue, I benefited.

And you can too!

The Give
OuchWhen offering feedback, be honest--but not brutal! If a story doesn't work, try to find a way to word it so that focus is on how the technique fell short. You are critiquing the piece, not the writer. Keep in mind, it may also simply be that the story didn't work for you, yet others were fine with it. That's the power of so many perspectives.

ClapTry to point out some strengths in the writing, even if its just a line that caught your attention.

DeadIdeally, it is best to point out the biggest issues in a story to help the writer grow. Sure, there may be tons of bitty problems, rather than give a landslide of info, deliver up the most crippling ones in a constructive way so they know--for example, POV didn't work, too many run on sentences made it tricky to follow, too many named characters ... etc. Pick the MOST distracting, don't list them all.

AngryRefrain from suggesting how you feel a character should react/scene play out--unless it is completely obviously out of character! There's nothing wrong with mentioning "I'm not sure why character X did Y ... can you ground that more?" That goes over better than "Character X should have done Z instead if Y! I mean, that would have been rad!"

EmbarrassedPause for a moment and think about how you would feel receiving the news--if it would gut you as it is phrased rather than motivate, rephrase or simply delete it. We're here to help one another improve, not stomp on eachother.

The Take
ShockedNever take a review as personal. Even if the person didn't word it well enough--it's a reflection on themselves if it sounds like an attack. You're surrounded by other writers, we can and do read between the lines. Don't start a petty flame war.

CryNot everyone is going to like every detail in your story. Sometimes they won't agree with a choice. Often that is a personal preference. However--occasionally you may see the same things coming up again and again. When more than one person has a similar reaction step back and look. Is there something to it? Or is it just that it's not their cup of tea (which is alright). I had something crop up in my story this year, the first one I thanked and moved on. Then two more mentioned it. I scratched my head and then carefully asked why, and yes, I asked them politely how they would have handled it. The feedback beyond that turned out to be that what I had done had achieved the goal in reality, it just didn't sound like it from how the replies were worded. Sometimes asking for clarification nicely gains you more insight. Wink But not if you get combative. If you disagree, acknowledge the person's time and move on. Just keep an eye out for patterns.

TongueUse what works in the feedback, kindly discard the rest. There is no need to tell someone you won't be using their advice. Just thank them, that's all you really need to do.

ConfusedYes, it is ok to explain something--but keep in mind that if this was a published piece you are not there over the reader's shoulder to go "I meant ..." If someone didn't get it (or enough several someones) that's a serious thing to consider. But that also doesn't mean you should club the reader over the head with your point. Ouch Respect your readers--they will naturally vary in comprehension. Some will love multiple layered plots, others will want a straight forward railroaded plot. You will need to decide where you draw the line. No one else can do that for you.

WinkWhen looking at someone work who has read yours, or the tag-back, give the kind of constructive feedback you would want to receive. Yes, even if they gave you a less than stellar one. What you say and how you say it reflects on you. Being graceful goes a long way, even when someone else isn't displaying it. Remember: we're writers. We're perceptive. Someone being a snot across the whole forum will get noticed. Don't fuel it.


In the end we are here to help one another to learn. That is done best with open minds. We won't always agree, but our writing is intended for an audience. Without test runs how will we know our own quality? Grace goes a long way--in the give and the take. The more you read others works and analyze them the better you will be able to see the glitches in your own work. It really does happen. LOL

Anyone else feel free to add their words of wisdom. After all, I learned from a lot of fellow forum posters last year. Star
Brass Quill
R1 A tightly packed parcel of contents that leave you wanting.
Back to Top
Gwen View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Regular
NYC Midnight Regular
Avatar

Joined: 31 Jan 2016
Location: Canada
Status: Offline
Points: 290
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gwen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2016 at 3:42pm
Refrain from suggesting how you feel a character should react/scene play out--unless it is completely obviously out of character! There's nothing wrong with mentioning "I'm not sure why character X did Y ... can you ground that more?" That goes over better than "Character X should have done Z instead if Y! I mean, that would have been rad!" 


exactly.
Back to Top
ShadowBeast View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 18 Jan 2015
Location: Minnesota
Status: Online
Points: 726
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ShadowBeast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2016 at 6:19pm
Remember: Grace goes a long way. Wink
Brass Quill
R1 A tightly packed parcel of contents that leave you wanting.
Back to Top
mrjaywilson View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 20 Jan 2015
Location: California
Status: Offline
Points: 682
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mrjaywilson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2016 at 7:14pm
Originally posted by ShadowBeast ShadowBeast wrote:

Remember: Grace goes a long way. Wink

Didn't Grace get hit by a car in that one movie? LOL


Edited by mrjaywilson - 09 Feb 2016 at 7:14pm
Back to Top
ShadowBeast View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 18 Jan 2015
Location: Minnesota
Status: Online
Points: 726
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ShadowBeast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2016 at 7:25pm
Originally posted by mrjaywilson mrjaywilson wrote:

Originally posted by ShadowBeast ShadowBeast wrote:

Remember: Grace goes a long way. Wink

Didn't Grace get hit by a car in that one movie? LOL


Depending on the speed and the size of the vehicle that would factor in how long of a way Grace can go. Big smile
Brass Quill
R1 A tightly packed parcel of contents that leave you wanting.
Back to Top
Scarlet Screenwriter View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 01 Nov 2010
Location: Melbourne, OZ
Status: Offline
Points: 3801
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scarlet Screenwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Feb 2016 at 4:26pm
Originally posted by ShadowBeast ShadowBeast wrote:

Remember: Grace goes a long way. Wink


I'm sure Grace appreciates the sentiment ...

I've decided I'm more of the "It works" and "I liked it" and "Good Luck" school ... if it sucks dog's balls, I usually don't comment at all ...

If a writer tries something out of the ordinary ... like a quirky format (I once did 'handwritten' love letters ... the prompt was love letters), I might encourage/discourage. 

Over on Screenplay, I WILL comment on formatting, because that's so vital in that medium ... bad formatting is a speed hump.

I NEVER say the judges will like/dislike something ... fuq 'em, I say ... I also don't say "I'm glad I'm not in your group" ... kind of puts a moz on it and sounds competitive ... write for yourself ... I do.









Back to Top
psuppak View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Newbie
NYC Midnight Newbie
Avatar

Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Status: Offline
Points: 67
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote psuppak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2016 at 12:03am
I agree. Thanks for suggesting these.

Because of great comments I got from the writers' community, I found a room in can grow in my writing. I turned over it a few days, and I finally thought of the way to solve the issues everyone was saying don't work!!

Well, I'm not sure if my story will make the cut, because the plot hole is about the size of Alaska, but I had an idea of turning this story into a book. Will see how that goes!
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 11.08
Copyright ©2001-2017 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.109 seconds.