June 17, 2019, 02:21:17 AM

Author Topic: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions  (Read 10672 times)

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2016, 03:27:30 PM »
Another thought: I remember seeing another forum-based writing contest where participants had to create a separate thread for their entry instead of posting it as a reply in a submissions thread (though they did also have to link to their entry's thread in the submissions thread, which seemed a little cumbersome).

While I don't think that works as well as the single thread we have here for submissions, could it work for critiques?

One big positive I noticed about that other contest was that every entry thread gained a number of comments, as if the thread was a little critique thread instead of a submission. Perhaps people who want critiques in our contest could create a separate thread for their story, which might encourage a small discussion rather than a handful of disconnected crits and also make all the crits more organised and easier to parse.

It definitely has some cons - it'd make the forum more cluttered, might feel slightly discouraging to newbies, etc - but it definitely has pros too - another one would be that it'd make it easier to spot which people have asked for crits but not received any/many yet.

Not sure whether it'd be a good or bad idea, but it's probably worth considering at least. Thoughts?  :o

oooh.  i like this idea.  it allows for more discussion of a specific story.  the story owner could copy/paste their story and a call for critiques AND a call for what kind of critiques they're looking for!

we could just sticky the submission/voting threads.  general discussion could then float, like the critiques, or any other threads that might pop up.

i think this is a keeper.  i like it.

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2016, 09:17:51 PM »
Boom, took months or half a year to realize my stories had no such structure. Because I was still in the mindset of long form, so I was not writing stories. I was writing chapters.
But people couldn't go back to read the "fascinating" beginning nor advance forward for the "explosive" conclusion. I guess people still did like a lot of concepts and situations, but left unsatisfied.

EDIT: @Lanko The man's name is Larry Brooks- he has two writing books out and his approach to structure is hands down the best I have seen. He is concise and specific. I loaned them to my son, and will have to get them back, because I cannot recall his name.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1599636891/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=DMWRTTZFAGKGZ0MMF27K

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1599636891/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=DMWRTTZFAGKGZ0MMF27K

Like me, his background includes the more-structured world of technical/business writing, and I think that he has brought the same effective exploitation of structure that goes on in business that so many novelists could benefit from.

There are so many crappy books and blogs that ramble on about structure - but his includes some finer points that have a huge impact on understanding the nature of those well-known and much-discussed plot-points. I am not exaggerating when I say it was an EPIPHANY worthy of caps.  In my own story, when I stumbled into mine (I'd like to say I planned and thought it out, but I didn't because I am still discovering the story and characters) I sat bolt upright and cheered because for the first time in my life, my story was fitting into an acceptable story structure.

Because I read his books, I recognized them for what they were, and more importantly WHERE they were - that was the end of my beginning - the moment when the protag sees what he has to do and for the first time fully understands it. In Star Wars, this moment is NOT when Luke decides to leave home or gets zapped in the ass by the little drone. It's when he realizes the Princess is on the Death Star and devises a plan. For others this might have been obvious, but I would have thought the beginning ended long before that moment.

My friends used to call me Captain Analogy, and my analogy for structure (and my argument against those who oppose it) is this: meals come in a structured format: drinks, appetizers, salad, main course, dessert. I don't care how amazing the food is, how unique and delightful the dessert, etc., if you deviate from that you begin to lose customers. There's a great temptation to want to innovate - but even the Tarantinos of the world are slaves to structure. They appear to break it, but they don't. It's an illusion. Likewise, the movie Memento with it's clever, backward flow adheres to the laws of structure - and they are the only writing rules I call laws (I don't even like calling rules rules).
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 01:45:01 AM by The_Gem_Cutter »
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Offline JMack

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Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2016, 10:22:25 PM »
Some have heard this, but I want to reflect here on my experience with this writing club (yes!).

I didn't finish a damn thing before I discovered the club.
Now I've written 25 stories since November 2014.
And if this had been a truly competitive troll-filled place, I'd never have gotten past the first two.

And I want to shout out the critiques. I wrote my 4th (?) story and thought it was a work of unmitigated genius and humor. I was all like: this will win, no question at all! (I was so excited about winning.). It barely did ok with votes. So I put it up for critique and @D_Bates politely and thoroughly tore it apart in a separate PM. And wow did I learn.

Here's another thing that helped me enormously. During the first year of my participation, @Elfy would regularly read my stories before I submitted them. I learned a lot from his suggestions, support, and friendship. Then a few months ago, D_Bates did the same on my dystopia story. Seeing how he helped me manage pace and clarity in my action sequences was terrific.

This why I love that our contest is a club. If I ever finish a long form piece or in some fantasy world actually get published, it will because of this place and these people.

Pass the Kleenex.
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Offline m3mnoch

Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #33 on: October 09, 2016, 12:58:01 AM »
HUGS FOR EVERYONE!!

Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #34 on: October 09, 2016, 01:13:56 AM »
Another thought: I remember seeing another forum-based writing contest where participants had to create a separate thread for their entry instead of posting it as a reply in a submissions thread (though they did also have to link to their entry's thread in the submissions thread, which seemed a little cumbersome).

While I don't think that works as well as the single thread we have here for submissions, could it work for critiques?

One big positive I noticed about that other contest was that every entry thread gained a number of comments, as if the thread was a little critique thread instead of a submission. Perhaps people who want critiques in our contest could create a separate thread for their story, which might encourage a small discussion rather than a handful of disconnected crits and also make all the crits more organised and easier to parse.

It definitely has some cons - it'd make the forum more cluttered, might feel slightly discouraging to newbies, etc - but it definitely has pros too - another one would be that it'd make it easier to spot which people have asked for crits but not received any/many yet.

Not sure whether it'd be a good or bad idea, but it's probably worth considering at least. Thoughts?  :o

oooh.  i like this idea.  it allows for more discussion of a specific story.  the story owner could copy/paste their story and a call for critiques AND a call for what kind of critiques they're looking for!

we could just sticky the submission/voting threads.  general discussion could then float, like the critiques, or any other threads that might pop up.

i think this is a keeper.  i like it.

Support this wholeheartedly, with separate threads for those who wanted to open them up for discussion of  their own stories would be great.  They could ask questions for themselves about specific points and be asked questions in return.

In the past some of our critiques have generated discussions about the stories and I know I recently asked some questions in a crit because I wanted to understand the thoughts behind the story better.
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Offline D_Bates

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Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #35 on: October 09, 2016, 09:19:59 AM »
Aw, @Jmack, you made me blush!

Glad I was of some help, and wish I could be more active here, but I've been getting somewhat lost in my own worlds recently. Always happy to do critiques though for whosoever wants one. I did intend to keep up to date on these even if I didn't participate, but then it started to have near 20 entries a month! But yeah, just summon me so I notice and I'll give your story a read and pop out some points.
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Ciara: A Faun's Tale - 90,000; The K.B.G. - 100,000; Maria and the Jarls of Jotun - 90,000; The Shame that lurks in Stableton - current project; Ezra'il - Plotted. TBC July 2018

Offline night_wrtr

Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2016, 05:50:39 AM »
Critique threads have a few pages each. That's nice to see and glad people are taking advantage of it. I think giving a critique is just as helpful as getting one. At least, that has been my perspective the last two months.

Thanks to everyone who has asked and submitted a critique for the contests!

Edit: Does anyone have comments/suggestions about how this is going? What's working, what needs more work?
« Last Edit: November 08, 2016, 05:53:19 AM by night_wrtr »

Offline Lanko

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Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2016, 12:15:37 AM »
I received two PMs the past days that said this:

"Hey, I liked your critiques very much! Could you write one for me? I don't feel confident in doing them, so I didn't ask there."

About two days later I received another saying pretty much the same thing:

"Hey, could you do a critique for my story? I never critiqued anyone before, so I'm afraid of upsetting someone or worse, if they give me a detailed critique and I only return a few lines and things will look like I'm receiving so much more than I'm giving..."

I guess even if we say to not worry that much about exchanging critiques, I think it's natural some people will feel embarrassed in those situations.

Hm, what to do?
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline m3mnoch

Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #38 on: December 08, 2016, 12:19:57 AM »
change your forum title to "CRITIQUEMUTHAFUCKINMASTAH!!"?

Offline Lanko

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Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #39 on: December 08, 2016, 12:21:36 AM »
change your forum title to "CRITIQUEMUTHAFUCKINMASTAH!!"?

No way, that would make people take such critiques for granted!  ::)
Slow and steady wins the race.

Lanko's Year in Books 2019

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #40 on: December 08, 2016, 12:28:01 AM »
change your forum title to "CRITIQUEMUTHAFUCKINMASTAH!!"?

No way, that would make people take such critiques for granted!  ::)

we don't take you for granted.  we love and appreciate every single letter you type, man.

tho, more seriously, maybe see if they'll let you post them publicly?  even if it's not your story, it can still help to see a crit of work that, while not yours, is still something you're familiar with.  to see thinking about a piece not so dear to your heart and to help build a deconstruction grammar and all that other analytical kind of stuff.

Offline Nora

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Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #41 on: December 08, 2016, 12:41:42 AM »
That's a shame that we have people feeling like they can't give or publicly receive critics.

If any of them is reading this thread, I'd really like to say that anyone can ask out for things, specifically. Aka, you can say "I'm really shy about receiving critics and would like you guys to go nice on me, mostly review this or that, but please don't prod at plot/grammar/prose/whatever"
People would of course listen to you. If you enter the contest, I assume you want to get better at writing? Getting used to be judged, voted for, or not? Getting critics and/or more gentle reviews/opinions, ought to be part of the process.

As for not giving critics away, it's even more sad, because the people who ask for them are genuine about it and really want to know what others thought of their work.

I kept my own submission anonymous in hopes of seeing if that would motivate people to come out on it, but it doesn't seem to help.

If you're afraid of being contrary, just go and say positive stuff. Every writer here is waiting for positive comments.
Something like "This story was not my cup of tea, but I liked this and that, and this "..." was a really cool sentence" would be a fine enough review to get you used to deliver opinions.
Please take the time to see how thoroughly we often tear each other down. No little criticism will harm anyone if it's politely expressed.
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Offline Lady Ty

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Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #42 on: December 08, 2016, 12:46:01 AM »
change your forum title to "CRITIQUEMUTHAFUCKINMASTAH!!"?

No way, that would make people take such critiques for granted!  ::)
]we don't take you for granted.  we love and appreciate every single letter you type, man.


[/quote
Yes second that gladly. Thanks a heap Lanko.
“This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.” 
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Offline night_wrtr

Re: Critique Thread Discussion and/or Suggestions
« Reply #43 on: December 09, 2016, 03:05:28 AM »
Just more evidence for how awesome your crits are @Lanko !

Maybe next round they will be willing to join and feel comfortable. We are all here to help each other, afterall!

Another reason we should lead by example and remember that we are a friendly environment and really do want to not only improve our own writing, but to help others in whatever way possible. Even a few sentences are welcome, because feedback in any form adds perspective and it makes a difference to see our stories from someone else's eyes.