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Hey, Newbies: Don't be afraid to critique(or post)

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shanan187 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote shanan187 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2019 at 10:26am
Originally posted by nod1v1ng nod1v1ng wrote:

I might add that tact and respect for your fellow forumites will always be well received. It is just as easy to say (if a tiny bit wordier) "try brushing up on punctuation rules for a more polished piece" over "Gee, your punctuation is a hot mess."

There are a few folks who believe that tough love is industry standard, but I've had a lot of professional feedback from editors and it has always been delivered in respectful and constructive way. We're not here to crush the soul of some poor newbie. It's not our job to "toughen them up," but we can encourage everyone to grow in the craft. I published 14 shorts last year, and in the process had many more rejections. I have thick skin, but even I am more receptive to kindly delivered, constructive criticism.  

I'll second (or probably third or fourth) the idea of "be respectful and constructive." As an editor, a professional writer in the marketing world, and as a writer who has published several short pieces and one small press novel (that I had professionally edited), I haven't yet had an editor come back at me with solely negative commentary. It serves no purpose. Praise isn't meant to coddle or butter up a writer... it tells us what we're doing right so we can do more of the same. And sure, I've had form rejections aplenty. But if a piece makes it all the way to an editor's desk and I receive a personalized rejection, there's always something positive in the feedback. Always.

That said, the purpose of this forum isn't to emulate an editing experience. We are writing on a short timeframe within a limited scope to a fixed prompt. I've published a handful of my NYCM stories, but none of them have left my desk as the same exact story that was submitted to the contest. 

The idea of this forum is to give us - a group of random writers from all over the world - a place to come and hone our craft. Even those of us who *are* editors aren't when it comes to this forum. And because of this forum, I've found friends with whom I speak on a near-daily basis who have helped me not only hone my craft but who have helped me gain the confidence to launch my own business as an independent marketing writer. I have contracts with agencies I write for Fortune 100 technology companies. 

I can't stress enough how incredible this forum and the people it attracts can be... as long as you act with courtesy and respect and realize that we're all in it together. Other writers are not my competition... even when we're working on a professional project together, publishing in the same genre, or even competing in the same heat in NYCM, I'm cheering for everyone who puts themselves out there. I live and die by that philosophy. So far, it has served me well.


Edited by shanan187 - 05 Feb 2019 at 11:08am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote GinaG Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2019 at 11:00am
Originally posted by shanan187 shanan187 wrote:

Originally posted by nod1v1ng nod1v1ng wrote:


There are a few folks who believe that tough love is industry standard, but I've had a lot of professional feedback from editors and it has always been delivered in respectful and constructive way. We're not here to crush the soul of some poor newbie. It's not our job to "toughen them up," but we can encourage everyone to grow in the craft. I published 14 shorts last year, and in the process had many more rejections. I have thick skin, but even I am more receptive to kindly delivered, constructive criticism.  

I'll second (or probably third or fourth) the idea of "be respectful and constructive."

I can't stress enough how incredible this forum and the people it attracts can be... as long as you act with courtesy and respect and realize that we're all in it together. Other writers are not my competition... even when we're working on a professional project together, publishing in the same genre, or even competing in the same heat in NYCM, I'm cheering for everyone who puts themselves out there. I live and die by that philosophy. So far, it has served me well.

I'm going to third (fourth, seventh, twelfth) this, but also add:

Kindness doesn't just serve the writer you're critiquing, it serves you.

Over the past four years, I've had a number of opportunities come my way via this forum and the writers I've met here - both personal and professional. 

Presenting yourself as the "I don't care what you think of me, I'm not here to make friends" or the "I'm hurting you to help you" or the "*shrug* what you say means nothing to me" person may very well mean you'll miss out. In general, no one wants to work with or recommend, or connect someone who comes across as willfully unpleasant. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote chrissie0707 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2019 at 11:56am
I've been around NYCM and the forum for about a year now, and I know there've been some bad seeds. But are there really people out there leaving intentionally rude and hurtful critiques to stories? I haven't personally had THAT kind of experience in reviewing, and I would really hope that common sense would steer everyone away from leaving that sort of feedback - especially when they're looking to get some FB in return - but the amount of times it's being repeated NOT to do that has me worried.

I think everyone here is trying to say the same thing - be positive where you can and be respectful always. I don't think anyone is backing negative comments as the sole way to approach this feedback process. Sure, there have been a few threads over the past year about reviewing, and one or two comments on "tough love" or "this is what an editor would do," but I haven't read any of those comments to mean "you should be mean and rude to each other because that's the way the world works." I've read it more as "we're all in this together and it's okay to dig into a story more than to say 'good job.'"

It was good advice to put in your post the type of crit you're looking for. Some might be newer to writing, and need those grammar tips, but not everyone is looking for spelling and grammar critique. Some want more an opinion on whether the plot worked, or how a character came across. Some maybe just want to try sharing something they created and aren't looking for much critique on the story at all at this point.

It was a bit disheartening to see that "negative" and "constructive" are synonyms as far as feedback is concerned. I've never considered leaving thoughts on how to write a sentence in stronger, active voice or deleting a repeat adjective as leaving negative feedback. If that has led to my own confusion in these threads, or has led to others feeling bashed by my FB, that's something I can be more aware of. But any constructive FB I've left has always come from a positive, helpful place, and I have a feeling it has for others here, as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zelda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2019 at 1:18pm
Originally posted by chrissie0707 chrissie0707 wrote:

I've been around NYCM and the forum for about a year now, and I know there've been some bad seeds. But are there really people out there leaving intentionally rude and hurtful critiques to stories? I haven't personally had THAT kind of experience in reviewing, and I would really hope that common sense would steer everyone away from leaving that sort of feedback - especially when they're looking to get some FB in return - but the amount of times it's being repeated NOT to do that has me worried.

I know, right? What if everyone's talking about me?!?! Dead

Originally posted by chrissie0707 chrissie0707 wrote:


It was good advice to put in your post the type of crit you're looking for. Some might be newer to writing, and need those grammar tips, but not everyone is looking for spelling and grammar critique. Some want more an opinion on whether the plot worked, or how a character came across. Some maybe just want to try sharing something they created and aren't looking for much critique on the story at all at this point.

 

All well and fine, but the way my mind works, I focus on the technical aspects because I have a harder time grasping reading comprehension. In my critique group that my friend runs, she says, "Offer whatever sort of critique your mind is geared to. All the different angles are helpful." 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote SakuraHime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2019 at 1:37pm
I think that some of the negative feedback that's getting discussed is when someone comments without any positive feedback at all. I don't think the issue (at least in my mind) is relegated specifically to grammar/spelling, and I don't think most people find constructive feedback to be negative. There are some writers whose comments amount to little more than "I didn't like your story because...." 

That's where the concern for negativity is relevant, I think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fioOxf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Feb 2019 at 2:08pm
Originally posted by SakuraHime SakuraHime wrote:

I think that some of the negative feedback that's getting discussed is when someone comments without any positive feedback at all. I don't think the issue (at least in my mind) is relegated specifically to grammar/spelling, and I don't think most people find constructive feedback to be negative. There are some writers whose comments amount to little more than "I didn't like your story because...." 

That's where the concern for negativity is relevant, I think.

Exactly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Eggcorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2019 at 11:58am
Originally posted by Zelda Zelda wrote:


All well and fine, but the way my mind works, I focus on the technical aspects because I have a harder time grasping reading comprehension. In my critique group that my friend runs, she says, "Offer whatever sort of critique your mind is geared to. All the different angles are helpful." 


Oh, that's such a great way of putting it. I usually just put I want honest and if you have the time, detailed, feedback. But this makes sense too.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aranea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2019 at 1:03pm
Thank you for this thread! I'm a newbie and just wrapping my head around how things work in the forum, the etiquette, etc. I'm starting to feel ready to leave reviews at last. 

I do have one question. How long do reviews typically remain active after each round? At what point is it "too late" to leave a review and potentially get one in return? 


Edited by Aranea - 06 Feb 2019 at 1:03pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nod1v1ng Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2019 at 1:15pm
Originally posted by Aranea Aranea wrote:

I do have one question. How long do reviews typically remain active after each round? At what point is it "too late" to leave a review and potentially get one in return? 

Usually the first 2 weeks there's a flurry and then forum activity dies down... However, a lot of folks might notice a new review over the following weeks and try to reciprocate while awaiting the next round.

Then there's an upswing in forum activity when judges' feedback arrives, then scores. You won't see much activity at all on round 1 stories once round 2 begins.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PrestonLeytonNelson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Feb 2019 at 1:38pm
Originally posted by fioOxf fioOxf wrote:

Originally posted by SakuraHime SakuraHime wrote:

I think that some of the negative feedback that's getting discussed is when someone comments without any positive feedback at all. I don't think the issue (at least in my mind) is relegated specifically to grammar/spelling, and I don't think most people find constructive feedback to be negative. There are some writers whose comments amount to little more than "I didn't like your story because...." 

That's where the concern for negativity is relevant, I think.

Exactly.


Agreed here--I haven't been on the receiving end of any feedback I've perceived as hurtful, but I also have somewhat thick skin but am super cognizant that not everyone does, especially when it comes to something so personal as our own writing.

I think the reminder here is a good one--obviously no one likes malicious/mean feedback, but more than that, our intended tone doesn't always translate over text, so we should be careful not to write reviews that can be misconstrued as hurtful or malicious, when what we want to do is encourage/help.
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