NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > GENERAL DISCUSSION > Creative Writing Corner
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Tips for giving feedback?
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Tips for giving feedback?

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123 4>
Author
Message
ZoeLou View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 19 Jan 2020
Location: Australia
Status: Online
Points: 1997
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ZoeLou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tips for giving feedback?
    Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 3:17am
Hello! The floodgates have been opened and the forum is a flurry of people giving comments and crits. I hope you’re all enjoying the chaos. ;)

I think there’s a bit of an art to giving feedback that points out what someone did well and what they could have improved, without coming across the wrong way. We all come from different backgrounds and have different levels of experience, so I want to know - what are your top tips for giving feedback? Something you always keep in mind or think other feedback-ers might like to know? Pop em below and maybe we can all learn a thing or two. <3

(Also, sorry if the formatting’s a bit wonky - my internet just spontaneously combusted so I’m on mobile.) 


Edited by ZoeLou - 23 Nov 2022 at 4:21am
Back to Top
cford View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 10 Jul 2021
Location: Australia
Status: Offline
Points: 1565
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote cford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 6:07am
I often struggle to give crits and sometimes choose just to leave positive as a boost (or I genuinely can't see any) - but I know that is not helpful to a writer wanting to continually improve even if it is gratifying. 

I find using words like 'perhaps' or 'consider' as a way to suggest improvement is a nice way of offering constructive criticism. EG: "Consider switching the sentence structure of da da da to keep the lovely flow" ,Or: "Perhaps this piece might work in first person to highlight the immediacy of the action."

I think giving suggestions in a way that offers it as possible improvement rather then a non-negotiable "you need to do this" makes it more palatable to the writer. Such as "If you're looking to further improve this story, it may benefit from fleshing out the da da character to give us more insight into their motivations. 

I hope that makes sense but basically I think it comes down to the way it's worded.
Back to Top
NMiller View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 15 Nov 2020
Status: Offline
Points: 3673
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NMiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 8:12am
I agree with cford.
 I always sandwich the critique by stating what I enjoyed, what I was confused about that needed clarity and end with a positive note. Writing is a subjective art and not every story will be my cup of tea, but that doesn't mean there isn't something to appreciate in it. 

I love the supportive atmosphere of the forum. It takes the sting out of the judges not always getting or appreciating where I took my prompts. Yes, it is surprising when people enjoy it but the judges don't but I realize if someone doesn't like my story....they may not be harsh or not comment at all....and I am OK with that. Again, art is subjective and we are all here to grow and build out confidence in a supportive environment. So rare and appreciated!
Back to Top
Ben Daggers View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Addict
NYC Midnight Addict
Avatar

Joined: 15 Jun 2022
Location: Osaka
Status: Offline
Points: 517
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Ben Daggers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 8:50am
I always start with the positives. Even just the act of finishing a story within the deadline and having the nerve to post it here deserves praise and respect.

I will also give my stronger critiques in terms of "it may just be me, but..." which I think is far more palatable than stating something as fact.
Back to Top
TheGhostofMissJessel View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Newbie
NYC Midnight Newbie
Avatar

Joined: 10 Jan 2022
Status: Offline
Points: 104
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheGhostofMissJessel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 11:40am
Originally posted by cford cford wrote:

I often struggle to give crits and sometimes choose just to leave positive as a boost 


Sometimes I worry when someone gives only positive things and no thoughts on improvement, that they really didn't think my story was very good, but they are trying not to discourage me. Isn't imposter syndrome grand?



I often use "perhaps" or "consider." I'll also often qualify things by saying "to me" or "personally" so that the reader understands the critique might be personal preference or tempered by my own interpretation of what I read. 


Edited by TheGhostofMissJessel - 23 Nov 2022 at 11:41am
Back to Top
iress View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 28 Aug 2021
Status: Offline
Points: 2817
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote iress Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 6:11pm
So this is a good discussion to have! 

The above advice is really useful. 

I’ll add that it’s important to understand what the writer’s job is, and what the reader’s job is. The writer obviously has to work with the prompts, establish a goal and use the tools of character and setting; etc. to achieve it, all while making choices with an intended audience in mind. 

However, the reader has some work to do, too. A pet peeve of mine is when readers (including judges) disparage an author’s work for a word or concept that may be unique to a culture, religion, region, or time period simply because the reader “isn’t familiar with that word” (or setting or tradition, etc.). If the writer has provided enough context and even a quick Google search would help me learn what that word or idea is, then the writer has done their job and I’ve just learned something new, which is part of the glory of reading.  In that case, I’m grateful I just expanded my world literacy. 

The only time I feel comfortable critiquing word choice or world choice is if there is an inconsistency that confuses, it seems unintentionally repetitive or ambiguous, or I might have a suggestion for saving word count. Occasionally I may signal a typo, or tense issue, but that’s only to be helpful if it seems like the author is planning to revise it. But I try to keep that stuff for beta reads.

And commenting for flow and clarity is different than commenting on whether someone uses slang that I may or may not understand based on my experience.  

I guess I try and think…would I find this comment helpful? Also, it’s good to give an example if possible. 

This is a cool topic and I look forward to seeing more ideas.  




Edited by iress - 23 Nov 2022 at 6:14pm
Back to Top
Mrsnetpro View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Regular
NYC Midnight Regular
Avatar

Joined: 20 Nov 2020
Location: NJ
Status: Offline
Points: 400
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mrsnetpro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Nov 2022 at 7:01pm
Originally posted by iress iress wrote:

So this is a good discussion to have! 

The above advice is really useful. 

However, the reader has some work to do, too. A pet peeve of mine is when readers (including judges) disparage an author’s work for a word or concept that may be unique to a culture, religion, region, or time period simply because the reader “isn’t familiar with that word” (or setting or tradition, etc.). If the writer has provided enough context and even a quick Google search would help me learn what that word or idea is, then the writer has done their job and I’ve just learned something new, which is part of the glory of reading.  In that case, I’m grateful I just expanded my world literacy. 


And commenting for flow and clarity is different than commenting on whether someone uses slang that I may or may not understand based on my experience.  

I guess I try and think…would I find this comment helpful? Also, it’s good to give an example if possible. 

This is a cool topic and I look forward to seeing more ideas.  



Valid!   

In one of my submissions, the protagonist was a Nazi hunter. She found one, identified it by the tattoo at the very end (plus the other references throughout) and the feedback I got was "that tattoo is gang related" so your feedback resonates. It wouldn't really make sense that I'd pay to enter a writing competition and then provide something so obviously out of place. The "lesson" was the blood type was tattooed so perhaps we need a "legend" with our submissions (sorry being slightly facetious here as the judges likely wouldn't read it anyway).


Edited by Mrsnetpro - 23 Nov 2022 at 7:02pm
Back to Top
cford View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 10 Jul 2021
Location: Australia
Status: Offline
Points: 1565
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2022 at 12:51am
Originally posted by TheGhostofMissJessel TheGhostofMissJessel wrote:

Originally posted by cford cford wrote:

I often struggle to give crits and sometimes choose just to leave positive as a boost 


Sometimes I worry when someone gives only positive things and no thoughts on improvement, that they really didn't think my story was very good, but they are trying not to discourage me. Isn't imposter syndrome grand?



I often use "perhaps" or "consider." I'll also often qualify things by saying "to me" or "personally" so that the reader understands the critique might be personal preference or tempered by my own interpretation of what I read. 

Imposter syndrome is a b***** and I'm sure we all feel it. I am always truthful with my positives, wouldn't make anything up just to spare someone's feelings. There's definitely ways to be helpful without discouraging.
Back to Top
Suave View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 25 Jan 2015
Location: Thailand
Status: Online
Points: 22389
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2022 at 7:18am

I really, really hate giving negative feedback. 
Back to Top
iress View Drop Down
NYC Midnight Black Belt
NYC Midnight Black Belt
Avatar

Joined: 28 Aug 2021
Status: Offline
Points: 2817
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote iress Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Nov 2022 at 8:53am
Originally posted by Suave Suave wrote:


I really, really hate giving negative feedback. 

Suave, I think your feedback is a good example of giving helpful / constructive feedback. Negative feedback to me is the stuff like “I just don’t like it.” I know, semantics. 

I was just thinking to myself this morning about this. Sometimes I feel like I’m supposed to give both positive and “needs work” kinda feedback. But I think the positive stuff can be just as helpful. And there isn’t always a “needs work.”  But I wonder, if I am sharing with  a fellow writer what I really liked (in a specific way), isn’t that constructive as well? Doesn’t it signal to them what choices they were successful with (at least for one type of reader), and more of that please?

I know I’m open to see how my writing landed in all ways. I’ve learned so much via all types of critiques. If I have something stuck in my teeth, I’m grateful if someone tells me. Even if I meant for it to be there, lol, I’m like, thanks for noticing. 😀 But, as a reader, I don’t feel like I should be pressured to hunt for the errant greenery if I don’t see any, lol. 

I do appreciate when some puts a request above their link what kind of feedback they are looking for. Some people want gentle feedback, some want very critical, some are up for whatever. That’s helpful and cool. 


Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123 4>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.03
Copyright ©2001-2019 Web Wiz Ltd.

This page was generated in 0.108 seconds.