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Author Topic: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread  (Read 51361 times)

Offline Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #90 on: December 08, 2016, 01:15:11 AM »
It's just me who saw the spectre of a dog at the right of the cat?
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #91 on: December 08, 2016, 01:21:00 AM »
Great perception. Definitely there but can't quite tell if intentionally or not.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

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Offline JMack

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #92 on: December 08, 2016, 02:05:34 AM »
@Nora, I really want to turn you on to a wonderful novel "Very Bad Deaths",  by Spider Robinson. So many interesting similarities and contrasts to Blink.

Meanwhile, I just re-read Blink and realize I didn't read it attentively enough the first time. It's got so many great ideas and sentences.

What I wish is that the story went beyond the concept to a conflict. Yes, Lone is hesitant, but not too hesitant. She (He?) jumps in pretty quickly, and we watch as she does her job. It's fascinating, with great atmosphere. But there's never anything that Lone wants which someone else is stopping her from obtaining.

Most awesome: The last line.

Things I tripped over: Names. It took me a while to get Lone Sorensen as a name. I didn't even realize Lone was a first name. (Ok, I'm stupid.) And the business with "Agent Caulk" is clever, but got me confused when I hadn't really learned Lem's name enough. I also tripped over the name of the church. I've never seen a Lutheran church named for the county it's in.

These are really small things, but I did trip on them.

Second reading: great writing, a few puzzling name things, wanted more of a story arc.



 
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 02:41:59 AM by Jmack »
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Offline LightRunner

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #93 on: December 08, 2016, 03:24:48 AM »
Here's another critique:

Affinity @Crystallynnfairy

I really enjoyed this story. It kept me engaged and wanting to know more. It also did a great job capturing Mella's thoughts and the attitude of a little girl.

For me it doesn't quite feel like a complete story because I have too many unanswered questions. It almost reads more like a prologue, a teaser to something bigger.

I wanted to know more about the magics of the individuals. Is there a set number of "types" of affinities? Is Mella a late bloomer? Does everyone have magic?

One thing I would recommend is to check the formatting before posting - it's a bit clunky without proper paragraph breaks.

Offline Saraband

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #94 on: December 08, 2016, 08:17:48 AM »
Thank you for the critique @Lanko, you're awesome! :D And you're entirely right, of course. Will keep your advice in mind when writing inner monologue in the future, I really need to hone it  ;)
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Offline Crystallynnfairy

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #95 on: December 08, 2016, 03:51:40 PM »
@LightRunner
Thank you for the critique. Now that you've said it I can see Affinity as a prologue. Maybe I will revisit it in some time as a prompt. You've given me some valuable things to think about.
100% right about double checking the formatting before posting. It was hard to read without the visual space breaks.
 

@Jmack Here are my thoughts on Hoy Girl
Spoiler for Hiden:
I got into this story, slipped right into that forget you are reading space.
This bit
Quote
on top the wedding quilt she’d slept under forty years married and twenty years widowed
I just loved. It said/described so much about the character for me in a second.
There was a styling to the words that lent the story to a place without being overdone. I liked this line.
Quote
"Hells, Gran. Won't do any good to give you a smack, so I guess I gotta give you that kiss."
It made me chuckle and I felt the mourning of the relationship for the Hoy Girl.
I would happily read more about this character, I would like to see some of the fights Brother Kent and she get into.
There wasn't anything that I didn't enjoy.   

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #96 on: December 08, 2016, 05:50:32 PM »
This would be a good time to just say thanks to the comments, or not respond at all.

This is SO true! Good advice.

Although, also, if you're critiquing people, and the receiver of the critique isn't receiving it the way you intend, you could always just be silent and let it lie, too. If the writer has reacted negatively and now feels defensive - (whether you feel they should be or not), maybe your editorial input is more trouble for them than it is worth.

Since the only reason you're offering your opinion is to help the writer, if the writer becomes defensive and upset, maybe it's time for the person with no emotional investment, no embarrassment or other emotions to back off, and that's the critic.
The Gem Cutter
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Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #97 on: December 08, 2016, 06:19:03 PM »
maybe your editorial input is more trouble for them than it is worth.

Since the only reason you're offering your opinion is to help the writer, if the writer becomes defensive and upset, maybe it's time for the person with no emotional investment, no embarrassment or other emotions to back off, and that's the critic.

I don't agree with that.
If you can't take a polite, non insulting, by-the-rules critic, then you should not ask for any critic, you should specify for people to take it easy, or highlight the good parts more, or only comment on plot or grammar, etc.

We have rules at the beginning, which state what a polite and civilised review is, and if an author is offered such a one and reacts badly, all he does is put bad emotions on this very thread, where some people are currently saying they're afraid of offering critics or asking for them.
Honestly, unless a critic is going overboard or the criticism is going into insult realm ('you couldn't write your way out of a paperbag!') there is no reason not to thank the person for their input, even if you disagree with what they have to say.
Writers often take the time to reply to their critics too.

I think it's the author's own work to either brush it off, or cool down before analysing and answering to the critic, if said critic really offered no constructed insult.
If you feel strongly against any more critics, you can say so.
If you want to deepen the conversation with the reviewer, you can send them a PM.
It's also stated in the rules that you can have your reviews sent by PM if you'd rather not have it done here.

I really don't see any reason why anyone should have to "back off" from a conversation if it's done politely and respectfully. If you come here asking what people thought and can't tolerate that they thought your story didn't work for them, shutting it out isn't going to make their thoughts go away, but the following month they might not offer you a truthful review, or no review at all.

Here are some of the meanest reviews on some books I truly enjoyed and rated 4 stars, which ought to put our critics in perspective, and are things we might all have the joy to receive if we get published :

Quote
Book four, and the addition of the hackneyed ‘amnesia’ device and some blood drinking were-witches does nothing to help Harris’s lazy characters and poor plot development skills.
This series is so consistently and repetitively poor that it’s hard to know how to express my disgust.

Quote
Given up on it approximately 40% in and the last 10% I was skimming to desperately see if the pace picked up or things just became more coherent.
I'm trying to analyse why a gripping opening went so wrong and all I can conclude is that the opening was basically repeated over and over and over again with no progression or character development.

On Abhorsen, a pure 5 stars I adored :

Quote
piece of trash. dont even bother starting this, i was bored the whole time. Its totally weird and what the heck. i never really got what they were doing and why they were doing it. I never got what the bad guys were. This book is confusing and so boring you dont even want to try to figure out whats going on. Dont waste your time on this, you have better things to do like hitting your head agaisnt the wall.

On the latest novellette by Rothfuss... Which I also loved and rated 5 stars...



And authors don't even ask for reader's reviews, people just come and give it to you. Might as well train for that.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 06:24:21 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #98 on: December 08, 2016, 06:55:47 PM »
If the reason for the critique is to help the writer, at their request, and things get emotional and hurtful, they are not always going to be able to respond the way you think they should. Does someone have to kill themselves before you can appreciate just how painful this stuff can be for some of us?

Clearly you're thick skinned and better than I am. I've got baggage, genetic and acquired, and like many others with issues on this forum, these things make me unreasonable and at moments, unstable. Can you see that those of us who are sensitive are trying to receive things as intended, but not always able to? Do you have any idea the courage it takes to open yourself up when you feel this way? And when we reach our limit, you think it's okay to just keep pushing and pushing and pushing?

If you don't care that a well-intended critique can go from helpful to hurtful, if you don't care how intensely that pain can hit people, then I am sorry for you. You may think the feelings of others must pass your standards to be legitimate, but their legitimacy is not subject to your opinion and was never within the scope of a critique. If a critic detects that they're hurting someone, and they continue, then this is not about helping anyone anymore.

And when you point to training on dealing with trolls as a reason for continuing to force a critique when the writer's clearly hurt and upset, then you are proving my point.
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #99 on: December 08, 2016, 07:44:17 PM »
If the reason for the critique is to help the writer, at their request, and things get emotional and hurtful, they are not always going to be able to respond the way you think they should. Does someone have to kill themselves before you can appreciate just how painful this stuff can be for some of us?

Wow, sorry to say that, but I think that if hurtful reviews that weren't purposefully insulting are enough to bring up talk of suicide, you need to either ask for positive comments only or entirely avoid the process.
I think it'd be extremely unfair to come around asking for a review and then place the responsibility of any mental deterioration on the shoulders of critics, especially if they weren't forewarned.


Quote
Clearly you're thick skinned and better than I am. I've got baggage, genetic and acquired, and like many others with issues on this forum, these things make me unreasonable and at moments, unstable. Can you see that those of us who are sensitive are trying to receive things as intended, but not always able to? Do you have any idea the courage it takes to open yourself up when you feel this way? And when we reach our limit, you think it's okay to just keep pushing and pushing and pushing?

No, but people commenting here aren't pushing you. You can very well ignore the thread if you think you've read enough, or demand that people stop from commenting on your story. You're in control.
You don't even have to participate in this thread. Some month I don't ask anyone's opinion because I know I messed up and I don't want anyone to pile it up. What can I say?  :-\

Your case this month was odd because you replied to a comment from someone who mentioned your work, and said you were really curious on why they thought X, and all the reviews you received on that part seemed to get on your nerves.
Fine, maybe it'd be good to warn people again not to give a full blown critic unless the author has specifically asked for one. After all I saw you guys were discussing the topic and offered my own critic without going through the thread to check if you even wanted one specifically.
Maybe that's something to correct, so that you can still participate without getting undesired input.
But again, if you feel close to limits, then you should take distance, and verbalise your disquiet rather than lashing out at people who think they're helping (of course I understand that emotion is often involved, but it's still worth saying so).

Quote
If you don't care that a well-intended critique can go from helpful to hurtful, if you don't care how intensely that pain can hit people, then I am sorry for you.

Would you please care to quote me on that?
Or maybe you can re-read the very first post of this thread?
Or maybe go and look around on the forum for a proof that I have sadistic tendencies and enjoy the emotional pain of others?
Your argument, asking for my consideration and understanding, would work a lot more if you didn't bag it with implications on my moral standing.
Don't be sorry for me. I have a cosy level of empathy, I feel for people, I cry when movie scripts want me to, and when book characters have it rough. If I didn't care for people 's pains and efforts, I wouldn't even waste any time on a critic thread intended to help relative to complete strangers improve on their skills and quest to author-hood.
I can perfectly understand that people get hurt, what I can't understand is why backlashing should be okay when we're trying to make this thread friendly for everyone. It shouldn't be a "critic-till-emotional-backlash" system. It should be the emotional writer asking others the kind of review they want, until they feel it's enough. You being in control rather than everyone stubbing toes in the dark.


Quote
You may think the feelings of others must pass your standards to be legitimate, but their legitimacy is not subject to your opinion and was never within the scope of a critique.
And when you point to training on dealing with trolls as a reason for continuing to force a critique when the writer's clearly hurt and upset, then you are proving my point.

Where do I speak of trolls, or dealing with trolls? I never even thought about trolls for weeks.

The problem in your case is that when you were upset, you were engaged in a battle of sarcastic remarks that kept your reviewer responding in defence of his opinion, and others to chip in – but to them the entire discussion was literary, maybe seeing you defensive but not necessarily that hurt. Hurt pride is common enough and doesn't always go on with people talking of killing themselves.
We're on the internet. We're faceless strangers spread across the world, and none of us are professional psychiatrists trained to spot distress and respond professionally to it.
If you don't help us and help yourself, you're bound to end up in such arguments, especially if you get entangled and both of you have wounded feelings!

Were you caring about the opinions of others, when you were making caustic remarks and attacked one of your critics for not having read you properly? What of the people scared to participate in this thread? What of the people who thought of giving you a review and thought the better of it?

Again, if you want me to extend you the courtesy of caring for your feelings, I'll ask of you to not go on and put baseless comments in my mouth.
I only ever exhort you to speak out before you get hurt, and you more or less say I went and critiqued your emotions?
Please copy paste examples of me, or people on this thread, critiquing your emotions, or applying standards to them.

We're not here for this.
We're here for reviews on our writing, and we all put different amount of emotion and involvement in this month's work. The key is communication, and specifying what we're all after and what our limits are!
You can't expect people to catch any tone on the internet. If it's dire, we should all try and spell things out, which is exactly why I came out and asked you what was up with your reply to m3m. I wanted to make sure I caught the bug that was happening.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2016, 07:46:22 PM by Nora »
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline Crystallynnfairy

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #100 on: December 08, 2016, 07:56:51 PM »
Just because...
Spoiler for Hiden:

Offline Nora

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #101 on: December 08, 2016, 08:29:21 PM »
Which would have made a fine corpse story as well!
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline m3mnoch

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #102 on: December 08, 2016, 08:50:39 PM »
Which would have made a fine corpse story as well!

dammit!

*shakes fist at the sky*

stupid missed opportunity.  that would have been a brilliant misdirection story!

Offline TOMunro

Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #103 on: December 08, 2016, 10:37:45 PM »
@Nora

I really loved the inventiveness of Blink - the grim creativity of it, that just sucked me in.  Not so much "I see dead people" as "I see through dead eyes"


Quote
"I suppose you've noticed the numbers in the autopsies, here, such high levels... He does that to them while alive, Lem. Dying. Damn it, you come here to ask me to go with you and look out for this, look down a peeled chest being sawed off and then up the monster's face. Who's gonna pay for my therapy after that, the FBI?"


There were bits I didn't quite get - like in the above quote what "numbers" in the autopsies?  but then it doesn't really matter that I don't know what it means, it is clear the characters know what it means and that gives a terse realism to the dialogue. It makes the reader feel like they're a child/foreigner witnessing a conversation between adults/native speakers - and I like that. The author resisting the urge to explain everything, make the reading an immersive/showing more than an educational/telling experience.

At the same time I loved the dark humour "Who's gonna pay for my therapy." and you can see what a curse this gift would be, to witness through dead eyes how a murderer disposes of a corpse and in so doing help to unmask them.

I really was struck by the core idea and the way it was carried through. It was so true to the corpse theme and yet different from the others. It also had that darkness - this was not a rescue mission, this hunting would only work when it was too late, when the victim was already dead.
 

It was my top pick - 'cos the ripples it set going were still washing back and forth after I'd finished reading it.  More so than most, I thought this was the kernel of a really good novel/novella.  I'd certainly read more of Lone's work and her reaction to it.


I liked the glimpses seen through freshly dead eyes, the kind of experience that would make you afraid to blink.  I was content to be swept along by the story, but thinking back I wonder did the dead show up when actively blinking, or whenever Lone's eyes were shut? Would make for some crap dreams. 


I must admit, I read the whole thing thinking Lone was male.  I think the story works equally well if the protoganist is male or female, but I suppose a question would be - did the gender matter to you? Are you disappointed that I thought it was a man.

Offline Lanko

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Re: [OCT 2016] - Corpses - Critique Thread
« Reply #104 on: December 08, 2016, 11:02:12 PM »
Some Called it Freedom, by @LightRunner

Spoiler for Hiden:
Selected Quote:
Quote
Some called it freedom. Others, death.

Something Amazing: I loved the concept, it easily stood out. Some good humorous parts that made me smile. Also how the bickering among the different parts of the body allowed us to know about the character (the person), what she liked to do, her job and even beliefs.

Theme Appropriateness: Very High.
We see the whole dieing process of the person, and she becomes a corpse at the very end.

Conflict and Tension: Medium
Good parallels between vices/desires and etc pleasing one part of the body and upsetting another. And how we squash many attempts of "rebellion" against our "tyrannical abuses". Or how the "populace" suffers the most.

Something Confusing: ---
« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 04:40:02 AM by Lanko »
Slow and steady wins the race.

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