WritersBeat.com
 

Go Back   WritersBeat.com > Writing Craft > Tips & Advice

Tips & Advice What works for you? Share your experience!


How To Critique - A Guide

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 01-07-2006, 09:27 PM
Mackb (Offline)
Dedicated Writer
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Timmins Ontario
Posts: 226
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default How To Critique - A Guide


You need much more in a critique than "wow, great job, well done."

If you are going to take the time to give your input (and you should for the majority of the stuff you read) do the writer and yourself justice. Spell out how you reacted to the story/poem, what grammatical-logical-rhythem-flow mistakes you see and why it does/doesn't work for you.

I'm sure everyone here has had the frustration of posting something you seated over and polished, only to 43 people view and only two take the time to post something trivial.

I will use me as an example. I posted a short story here called "Surprise" and the best critiques I got were the ones that not only said good job, but told why and/or pointed mistakes. I for one appreciate the effort anyone takes to post, much less critiques. I post to not only get approval (c'mon admit it, we all do to some degree) but to learn from the input of others.

What follows is advice I got from some of the other writing forums I belong to and the advice is dierctly on point. I do not take credit for the wisdom below, but certainly agree with it all.


This is courtesy of my research on www.writerscreate.com :
Critters Corner

How to Give and Receive a Critique.

For those unfamiliar with the ways of giving good feed back here is a brief outline of what you might take into consideration when giving your critique. You do not need to comment on all of these but hitting a few of them would really help the writer.

1) The overall story. Did it grab you, did the story flow from one thing to the next well? Did it feel real and believable? Was there a mood and did it fit the story? What were your overall impressions.

2) Grammar. Is the story in an active voice? Is it using verbs to their full potential? Spelling and other grammar mistakes?

3) The setting? Is there a clear picture of the setting that you get in the piece presented? Are the senses used to their full potential?

4) Characters. Did they seem real and believable? Did they seem likeable or at least distinct enough to capture your attention?

5) Anything else stand out as wrong?

6) List the things that were right about the story. Just a few things that were good. The key to giving a good critique in meshing the bad with the good. What parts held you're attention? What did you like about it? Did the characters really stand out? Was the setting unbelievably real? That type of stuff.

7) Put some thought into the critiques you give. Don't rush through them. Make sure you are giving the writer aid and not a heap of criticism.

Now to receiving a critique.

Receiving is sometimes harder than giving. You've been working on the piece for awhile and people are just criticizing your baby! How dare they! Well, if you get too bent out of shape, you're not ready for a proper crit. Writing is filled with critics and rejection, if you can't handle it you might consider writing a bit longer before coming to this point.

If however, the critique you recieved was unusually harsh, report it immediately. The moderators will look it over for improper critique ediquette.

One note on recieving. People have (in most cases) put a lot of thought and time into giving you a proper critique of your work. Please be nice enough to respond to them. Make sure they know that the time they spend on your piece is appreciated. Feel free to ask them questions, or to have them clarify something that you don't really understand. You can even pm them if you like.

----------

Also, this thanks to researching eliteskills.com

• Brief guide to commenting:

From www.eliteskills.com
Comments are essential to improving your own works. By reading through the works of others you can better understand what it is to be a 'unique writing' and make yourself standout by observing the strengths and weaknesses of others. It is very important that the comments be as helpful as possible towards improving the writing rather than just saying how great or how bad it was. If you do not have time to comment or will not have time in the future please be curtious and do not submit. One should not ask for help if they have the time to take but not give aid in return at some point. Time is to be respected. Compliments are fine, but please try to tell the authors how the writing made you feel. The more details and specifics, the better.

• Bad Comments:

"Wonderful <>! You put a lot of emotion into it. I can tell. Great write!!!! Have a great day. Keep writing. -Bob" ...
"It created some nice images. I like the flow, way to go."
"This really speaks to me. You did a great job!"

Now is it really possible to tell if this person even read the writing? That's how you know if the comment was good or bad; you can't tell if they just skimmed through for partial detail or actually read it. If it was bad just send a polite note to the person making it either referring them to this page or asking them to take more consideration into adding details to their feedback(then lead by example, give a quality comment).

• If I can't find words!?
Then you're not helping by saying, "great job". That's just a kick in the face to the writer. You won't always understand a writing on first read. If it's complicated don't just say they are a genius, try to connect to the writing as best you can an express your interpretation or how it made you feel. If you can't say anything about it then don't try to just throw a bad comment in.

• What if I just really like it?
Then elaborate on what makes you really like it. What if everyone only got "GREAT WRITE!!!11" comments? That wouldn't help us improve any. Think feedback rather than compliment. If you do compliment try to connect with the writing and add detail: "When you said '...quote' it really made me connect to the time I... and the way you structured it makes it feel like it's swaying and contributes to the piece."

• I think of the first thing that comes to me!
You don't help any by saying, "I relate, lots of emotion, great write." Put some time into the technical aspects and think about rewording the writing. The real world is not about smilies and compassion. It's about having substance behind your words and having a helpful impact. If everyone just said, "that was cool, that sucked get over it, that was great, the flow was nice, too complex for another read through so I'll just say your brilliant, etc" it would ruin the integrity of the site.


Last edited by Mackb; 01-26-2006 at 04:41 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 01-25-2006, 04:51 AM
Dalton's Avatar
Dalton (Offline)
Half Man, Half Amazing
Official Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 188
Thanks: 0
Thanks 14
Send a message via AIM to Dalton Send a message via Yahoo to Dalton
Default

Mack B, I copied this over to here because I thought it was a great post in that thread and more people should see it. Thanks!
__________________
Some days you're the bird,
some days you're the statue.
Which are you today?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 01-26-2006, 01:56 PM
DFischer's Avatar
DFischer (Offline)
Got Fisch?
Official Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Hollywood
Posts: 2,709
Thanks: 0
Thanks 170
Send a message via AIM to DFischer
Default

Yeah, great post. I'm going to sticky it and put it in the rules as a guideline.
__________________
Founder:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Personal site:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Please critique other's work before asking to get critique on your own.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 01-26-2006, 04:52 PM
Mackb (Offline)
Dedicated Writer
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Timmins Ontario
Posts: 226
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
OOps, I thought this was a pm, ih I'm in trouble now... I can see a deficit of rep points now...

Originally Posted by Arachn1d
Yeah, great post. I'm going to sticky it and put it in the rules as a guideline.
THANK YOU. OH HOW CAN I TELL YOU HOW MUCH I appreciate this, because this board seems to have been put together with so much care. I'd hate to see it squandered on kids who can't bother to spell a word right.

That is one issue which is bugging me. I see people (you included, the evidence is below), me too, who make a lot of mistakes and don't bother to fix them before posting. I try to fix most of my stuff and yes, some mistakes get through, but take a look at the quality of some posts and you'll see what I mean.

Originally Posted by Arachn1d
Eventually this WILL be a rule. I really see no point in replies where it doesn't (which don't?) help the author with their work. It's 80% of the reason on the site. (????) So I believe it is important.
Sorry spiderman, but I can't let you get away with this. :-)

I know you're super busy and all, but this sentance as written doesn't make any sense. Please don't delete me.

Did you change the log in style now, so that every time we come back to a page after 30 minutes or so, we get logged out

BTW thanks for responding to my concerns earlier and putting the menu tree at the top and bottom of each page. Much appreciated.

BM

Last edited by Mackb; 01-26-2006 at 04:55 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 01-26-2006, 05:03 PM
DFischer's Avatar
DFischer (Offline)
Got Fisch?
Official Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Hollywood
Posts: 2,709
Thanks: 0
Thanks 170
Send a message via AIM to DFischer
Default

Oh man, I must be wacked out. See, I have mental problems. I think to fast for my hands. Even though I typed at 130wpm. I just can't keep up with my thoughts.

Very sorry, I'll try do better in the future. I am usually good with getting away with not checking back, but agh! That was horrible, haha.
__________________
Founder:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Personal site:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Please critique other's work before asking to get critique on your own.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 01-27-2006, 06:40 PM
Mackb (Offline)
Dedicated Writer
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Timmins Ontario
Posts: 226
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Tsk Tsk
lolol
"I think to? fast" hmmmmm The problems of being too smart. hahahahaha
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 03-12-2006, 03:07 PM
Panthere Noir's Avatar
Panthere Noir (Offline)
Eloquent Troll
Official Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Alien Feline in Tokyo ;)
Posts: 211
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

Here's a thought that occured to me after I saw some critiques, that I found inappropriate.

Do not - unless you are a qualified editor (and even then I personally would consider it bad form, even if correct in content) - tell a writer:

"You have to change (whatever the reader didn't like)."

Unless it's a clear grammatical error, a lot of things that a reader might not like are matters of style and personal preference. If you don't like something, put it that way, and suggest what you would do about it - or even better yet, ask the author why he or she wrote the piece the way they did, if that was intentional or accidental. If accidental, the writer might be thankful that the issue was brought up for discussion; if intentional, no author is going to like being told that that "has to be changed." (Again, unless - and maybe not even then, but that's a different issue - if it's asked for advice from a qualified editor.)

Putting a critique in personal terms - "I think . . .," "For me . . .," etc - is not catering to the creator's ego, it simply acknowledges different points of view.
__________________
A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament. - Oscar Wilde
Saite yuku, Higansakura ya, Chi no shizuku; Shiroi suhada ni, Makana hanataba . . .

Last edited by Panthere Noir; 03-12-2006 at 03:14 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 03-12-2006, 06:22 PM
Mackb (Offline)
Dedicated Writer
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Timmins Ontario
Posts: 226
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Default

Well said Panthe, well said.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-16-2006, 09:23 PM
TillDusk's Avatar
TillDusk (Offline)
Eloquent Troll
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 322
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Default

Critique-

Well, I thought the characters needed some improvement, though the setting provided a very analytical tone.


-Tilldusk
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-16-2006, 10:32 PM
Rob's Avatar
Rob (Offline)
Word Wizard
Official Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Rob is currently on a sabbatical while he gets his novel started.
Posts: 535
Thanks: 1
Thanks 30
Default

This is a handy post, Mackb. Short positive comments that don't directly address the writing can be an ego boost for the writer but aren't helpful in terms of improving. Specific detailed comments are worth their weight in gold. The more specific you can be, the better for the author. That said, forums such as these attract writers of all standards, including many who may not have written anything before and may have little or no knowledge of writing theory, which make it difficult for them to make useful comments. To these people I would say post whatever feedback you can, do your best for the writer, and in time you'll find that your critiques will improve. It does mean, though, that in any particular thread a writer can receive hugely varying comments.

I would also say to the authors, don't be in a rush to edit your work. If possible, wait for a number of people to comment, then weigh up the comments you receive and decide which to address. Readers will differ in how they see a piece, and editing on the basis of the first critique you receive may not be entirely useful.

Cheers,
Rob
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-17-2006, 04:29 PM
Perfect_Paradox's Avatar
Perfect_Paradox (Offline)
Better than Darth.
Loyal Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,146
Thanks: 0
Thanks 0
Send a message via AIM to Perfect_Paradox
Default

well said, Rob. =]
Reply With Quote
Reply

  WritersBeat.com > Writing Craft > Tips & Advice


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Guidelines for Critiquing ~lacy~ Tips & Advice 5 05-24-2008 09:35 PM
Bakpak Travellor's Guide Jay Writing Markets 0 05-05-2006 07:56 PM
Critique Guide Mackb Tips & Advice 4 04-30-2006 04:51 PM
Critique Tips Mackb Tips & Advice 1 03-07-2006 06:20 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:20 PM.

vBulletin, Copyright 2000-2006, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.