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LoboGal26 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LoboGal26 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Giving Feedback
    Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 3:31pm
Just curious--
When you give feedback on someone's story, do you keep it positive and encouraging even if the story has some obvious flaws--because it's easier to be a cheerleader than a critic?

Or do you identify the flaws and offer ways for the writer to improve their skills and hopefully overcome the flaws? 

Or are you influenced by the feedback of prior readers, therefore if their feedback is glowing you keep the glow going because you believe they are better writers and lack the confidence to throw water on the glow?

***Personally, I've been an editor, critic, and instructor too long to be a cheerleader, and believe we all can benefit from helpful advice.


Edited by LoboGal26 - 08 Nov 2019 at 3:32pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NerdyDan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 3:32pm
When I give feedback I put positives and negatives. Speak up about the things I did like. Point out the things I didn't like. 

Only way to learn is to listen to feedback to improve. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChillyToez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 3:34pm
Just curious--When you give feedback on someone's story, do you keep it positive and encouraging even if the story had some obvious flaws because it's easier to be a cheerleader than a critic? Yes

Or do you identify the flaws and offer ways for the writer to improve their skills and hopefully over come the flaws?  Yes

I like to tell the writer both what worked for me and a place or two where I (as a reader) had issues. I think both have value.

Or are you influenced by the feedback of prior readers, thus if their feedback is glowing you keep the glow going because you believe they are better writers and lack the confidence to throw water on the glow? No. I don't read previous feedback before replying.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote OnyxLily Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 3:44pm
I use the sandwich approach because as writers on the forum we generally both want to grow, but also don’t want to be completely crushed. 

Here’s what I liked
Here’s what confused me/could have been worded differently/didn’t quite work as well as the rest
Overall, here’s what I thought was great. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chrissie0707 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 3:47pm
I tend to leave thoughts as I read. I point out sentences that grabbed me and were just plain awesome examples of writing. I point out places with passive phrasing that could be reworked to be more engaging, and also shave word count. I like to leave an overall wrap-up thought of why or why not the story worked for me. I don't read other comments before.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SidewaysSnow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 3:49pm
I go for the compliment sandwich...
Something good
Something to improve/or what confused me
Something good
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote louciferish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 4:34pm
I always try to give both positives and negatives. We can support while also helping each other improve.

If I can't find anything nice to say, then I don't say anything at all. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LaissezFaire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 4:58pm
When you give feedback on someone's story, do you keep it positive and encouraging even if the story has some obvious flaws--because it's easier to be a cheerleader than a critic?

I make an effort to find something good to say even with a story with a lot of flaws. Not because it is easier (it's really hard, actually), but because a person is more likely to listen if you made an effort to understand their vision.

Even if I find a genre or story just not my cup of tea, I make an effort to find something in it that worked. I will always mention, too, that the genre is not my area but this is what worked for me. If I can't do that...I don't post a review.



Or do you identify the flaws and offer ways for the writer to improve their skills and hopefully overcome the flaws?

Both. No reason not to. Writers do a good enough job putting themselves down. It costs me nothing to give a boost and mentioned what worked/what I liked before I point out an area of improvement.

Or are you influenced by the feedback of prior readers, therefore if their feedback is glowing you keep the glow going because you believe they are better writers and lack the confidence to throw water on the glow?

I generally only read reviews after I post. Sometimes I will add an edit to my post after reading to add a "disagreement with what others have said" if I feel it is important or I think a point I saw was missed. Once in a while I will happen to spot a very scathing post and I will read that and make a point to put extra effort in my feedback to counteract the harsh negativity.

***Personally, I've been an editor, critic, and instructor too long to be a cheerleader, and believe we all can benefit from helpful advice.

I am a teacher at the college level. My students (no matter who they are) are more open to my suggestions if they can see that I understand where they are coming from and what they were trying to do (even if the answer has left the ball park). What they did wrong is not as important as what they did right.

Edited by LaissezFaire - 08 Nov 2019 at 5:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Random Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 5:21pm
I tend to say what I think, which has proven problematic and one of the reason I don't (do reviews) anymore.  There are very successful books/movies I utterly detested, which might also be part of the problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019 at 5:28pm
When you give feedback on someone's story, do you keep it positive and encouraging  if the story has some obvious flaws Always. Anyone who reaches out for feedback is putting themselves in a vulnerable position. If you think about it, the opposite of "positive and encouraging" is "negative and discouraging" - who am I to crush someone else's spirit because I happen to find something flawed?  I strongly believe it's possible to be honest/helpful AND positive and encouraging - it takes more effort but it's worth it.

--because it's easier to be a cheerleader than a critic? It's actually HARDER to be a cheerleader when a piece is severely flawed, if you're reviewing something in good conscience. Much easier to take the Simon Cowell approach than to take time to carefully craft a response that balances encouragement and constructive criticism. Most stories have at least one redeeming quality. If they don't, and I don't have anything to say other than "I didn't like this," then I simply move on and don't critique at all.

Or do you identify the flaws and offer ways for the writer to improve their skills and hopefully overcome the flaws?  Of course. But politely and respectfully. In a balanced way - what worked well, what *this reader* feels needs improvement along with a suggestion or two.

Or are you influenced by the feedback of prior readers, therefore if their feedback is glowing you keep the glow going because you believe they are better writers and lack the confidence to throw water on the glow? I really try not to be influenced by other reviews. But I'm human. Often I find that, especially here on the forums, the tone of subsequent reviews is echoed from the first few and doesn't always represent reality. Which, of course, isn't helpful. But there are ways to word your disagreement with prior reviewers without crushing someone. "Others indicated they loved your surprise ending. The approach was interesting, but from my perspective the payoff might have been better earned by doing X, Y, Z" rather than "Your surprise ending didn't work. WTF were these other people thinking?" (exaggeration, but I've seen similar types of comments on this forum!)

***Personally, I've been an editor, critic, and instructor too long to be a cheerleader, and believe we all can benefit from helpful advice.
I think you can be an editor, critic, and instructor while also being a cheerleader. It's all about striking a balance. And yes, absolutely agree the most helpful advice is honest. I would never tell someone that I thought their story was the greatest thing I ever read if I really didn't mean it. But I would tell them what worked well so they could tuck that advice in their back pocket, in addition to any suggestions on what could be improved.
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