How do tell someone the story is

For discussions relating to critique.org workshops in general, not for any specific workshop.
Forum rules
This forum is for questions that don't fit into a more specific workshop's forum. (If there's a more specific forum that's appropriate, please post there.) For example, a post about writing science fiction belongs in the SF writing forum, but a post about writing that applies to all writers could go here. Questions about the general nature of the critique.org workshops could go here, but not about a specific workshop.

Also see the forum rules at: http://critique.org/c/forums.ht
  • Ads

How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit19124 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:49 pm

OK, we all have read them; stories that are average or unimaginative or just plain bad. When reviewing do you skip them, or do you try and tell them. If you tell, how do do you say such a thing in a respectful manner? I personally don't feel the truth is disrespectful. I think telling them they are good, or implying it is worse.
crit19124
Name: Mari Mitchell
Sapling
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:10 am

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit19292 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:06 pm

If I can find something positive, I use it to subdue my derision. If not, I skip it. Note that I once did get mean, and Aburt fussed at me. I thus don't say anything if I cannot find anything good to say.
I will not deny myself having my opinions.
User avatar
crit19292
Name: Roby Ward
Tree
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:53 pm
Location: North Louisiana

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby aburt » Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:22 pm

Since doing in-depth critiques is fully half of the benefit to your own writing :) I definitely encourage you to share your reactions. Phrased diplomatically, of course, as in "What didn't work well for me was _____" and try to explain why it didn't get you interested. See the articles on the site about diplomatic phrasing (starting at www.critique.org/c/whathow.ht and following). But you definitely, for your own benefit, want to get to the bottom of why that piece didn't work well for you. Doing so will likely help illuminate aspects of your own writing, and help guide you in the future. The more you study other people's writing -- in-depth -- the more you help your own. (But always report bad news to the author phrased as your own reaction; never resort to "the reader" or "editors don't like" or any other kind of speaking as an authority, speaking for anyone but yourself, statements of fact, etc. It's all about how you reacted as yourself.)
User avatar
aburt
Name: Andrew Burt
Tree
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 4:59 am

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit22441 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:33 am

Almost every story has something that's at least on the right track. Comment on that one positive thing, then select the most significant of your complaints and offer them in the most positive light possible. Avoid spending ten pages telling the author how badly the story fails--most people can only focus on improving one or two areas of their writing at a time, and ripping them to shreds will only overwhelm them.

Even if it's the worst story you've ever read in your life, keep in mind that someone's put time and effort into it, and they won't improve without well-intentioned guidance.

And if you can't handle the idea of offering well-intentioned guidance to a struggling writer, then why bother critiquing at all?
sarahthegrey.livejournal.com

"Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can't try to do things. You simply must do things." -- Ray Bradbury
crit22441
Name: Sarah Grey
Sprout
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:38 pm

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit27411 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:24 am

I always write a critiques for the stories I read, and never skip them, because I think they are not very good . Part of the learning process is story analysis, and trying to understand the differenced between good and bad writing. I offer my personal opinions , to be taken or ignored and I am grateful to receive the opinion of others.
crit27411
Name: sf
Sprout
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 8:10 am

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit4889 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:18 pm

If I can think of something that would improve the story, I review it. Otherwise I skip bad stories. Sometimes I read stories that are marvellous and can think of nothing to improve them. With those, I focus on what worked for me and rave about the story. (Those are the most fun to write.)
crit4889
Sapling
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:52 am

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit24063 » Tue May 08, 2012 1:44 am

What if the story is 300 words long, and utter and complete drivel? No room for error: bad.

Is it really beneficial to me to spend time critiquing this?

I came across one of these and found I was forced to skip it, otherwise spend 600 words asking the author what the point was...
crit24063
Name: Thomas Chalmers
Sprout
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:01 am

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit14135 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:53 am

1) If there's nothing there that works for you, then don't crit it. If you
feel like starting your crit with "I don't read/like this kind of story..."
then don't crit it.

2) If the story isn't working for you, then first apply your writing
skills to determining what exact factor is missing, for you. If you find
an answer, then that author can use your (polite) help.

3) Before you write the crit saying what you think is missing, though, see
if you can determine what the writer was trying to accomplish. If the writer
was doing a hard scifi idea story, then the lack of detail on the characters
may be a genre expectation, as opposed to a flub. When you correctly
identify the subgenre, it allows you to focus on what's important to
the effectiveness of that particular story.

4) Unless you are doing a line by line crit, restrict your crit to the top 1-3
themes that will help that author improve that story, or his/her
writing in general, with specific details and examples of each. By
targetting one to three specific skills, you can help that author more
than just giving him/her a laundry list of everything that's wrong with
the story. (That's a technique used in Toastmasters to evaluate a
person's speech.)

Those are my suggestions.

Dal
crit14135
Name: Dal Jeanis
Sprout
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:30 pm

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit30303 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:07 pm

This is all very informative as I was just pondering this myself. I think I'll take another look at all the information for critiques :)
crit30303
Name: Ashley
Sprout
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:51 pm
Location: CO

Re: How do tell someone the story is

Postby crit30338 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:42 pm

I tend to look at a few to find one that has some interest or promise. I feel that these are my peers and are more likely to give helpful feedback when it comes back to me. Also, these works tend to be more enjoyable (obviously). Finally, "there is something to work with." It may take more experience and knowledge than I possess to help bring someone up from zero, but something with at least some strong qualities usually has flaws which I might have ideas on how to correct.

However, there is something to be said for analyzing exactly why the story does not in any way work for you. Often it comes down to--this has all been done before, and far better. The writer needs to read in the genre and go much deeper.
crit30338
Name: Michael Cho
Sprout
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 6:36 pm

  • Ads

Return to General Workshop Forum

cron