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Etiquette> Critiques of critiques?

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Seselia View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seselia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jul 2020 at 8:54pm
Is anyone familiar with Scribophile? It's a critique site, much more user friendly than the NYC forums imo, because it's specifically focused on writers giving each other critiques. 
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tiptreejen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote tiptreejen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2020 at 1:17pm
I wouldn't post my story on the forum, if I didn't WANT criticism and, yes, in parts, affirmation. But mainly, I don't expect to write a perfect story with someone else's prompts in 48hrs, so I WANT to know what works and what doesn't. In the same way a playwright or film-maker presents their first public draft in order to gauge audience opinion. Cos if 7 out of 10 people tell me they don't understand how there came to be an elephant in my story's room when there wasn't one five minutes ago, I want to be pulled up on that so I can make it better.

It seems to me that NYC Midnight has very little to do with winning, but a lot to do with personal (writing) development. ...And late nights, and agonising, and doing something outside of my comfort zone.

In terms of style of critiquing, I'm not THAT thick-skinned and I definitely prefer the sh*t-sandwich approach, but I want people to tell me if they see something that pulls them out of the story. I try to give feedback on every story I read but it's definitely harder if I see lots of things that someone could improve, because I don't want to discourage someone or look like a picky **s*hole. (I also feel bad if I can't find something to improve in someone's story.) I spend more time than is sensible (probably) agonizing over the best way to approach a critique, and I hope I give a balance of positives and negatives. 

Regarding a critique of a critique, I guess it depends what they've said. Feels a bit uncomfortable, but also I'm not good at confrontation! I've pulled someone up on their style of critique for another (art) site, but on there, people specifically choose if they want feedback and the person involved didn't ask for any. Overall, unless it's really thoughtless and rude, I guess I'd just take it on the chin - after all, the critic has gone to the trouble of writing something, presumably to be helpful. But I can only talk for myself.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote fioOxf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Sep 2020 at 1:49pm
I reckon if you want a particular kind of critique on your story, you should say so, up by the link to your work. Otherwise 'shut up and eat up', as they used to say.

That said, I also think reviewers should always aim to be constructive ('I like'; 'less successful', 'you could try...'), not destructive ('this doesn't work', 'you should', 'you should have') - word choices matter, even in reviews, and as writers, we really have no excuse.
I'd also say keep personal foibles out of reviews, as far as possible. "I don't like this because I don't like cats / cars / gay marriage / jelly doughnuts / the word 'moist'" is the reader's problem, not the writer's (unless the thing written is along the lines of gratuitous violence, sexual violence, racism etc). 

Just my opinion, of course. But I'm an editor 'in real life' (amongst other things, and not fiction), and editing and reviewing are about supporting without demotivating, as well as about getting the best possible end result.
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