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Author Topic: Critiques vs Writing Advice  (Read 1603 times)

Offline Mark Lawrence

Critiques vs Writing Advice
« on: November 14, 2015, 12:13:34 PM »
Having recently posted critiques of three fantasy page 1s I am reminded of my old conviction that critique is more valuable than general writing advice even if it's not your work being critiqued.

Even the act of critiquing another person can strengthen your writing.


http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/you-really-want-me-to-critique-you.html

Offline m3mnoch

Re: Critiques vs Writing Advice
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2015, 03:24:25 PM »
this, sir, is a fantastic idea.

mad props to you and the brave souls submitting their non-anonymous page ones.

*ahem*

i, of course, sent mine in.  heh.

Offline Lanko

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Re: Critiques vs Writing Advice
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2015, 04:01:13 PM »
Agreed, i've read some of the critiques in the forum, and like you said, even if they were not my stories, it was very insightful to see what people say.

Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Lanko

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Re: Critiques vs Writing Advice
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2015, 07:51:50 PM »
Quote
Three often seen pillars of writing advice are:
i)  Write every day. Set yourself word-count targets.
ii)  Plan out your story. Keep notes on the characters. Plot a path.
iii) Your first draft will be shit. Revise, revise, REVISE!

My own experience is:
i)  I don’t write every day, or even every week. I don’t keep track on my word-count.
ii) I don’t plan my story. I just start typing and see where I get to. Generally I don’t know what the next page will bring, let alone the next chapter.
iii) My first draft may or may not be shit, but it’s the only one I write. Much later I check for typos, change the odd adjective, and send it off. I’ve tried revising work before and it feels like chasing my tail. I’m unable to tell if version 2 or 3 is better than version 1. So I don’t bother.

From someone who is on the very beginning on writing, i found those extremely useful, mr.Lawrence. Thanks!

About I), I do it, not because people say "you need to write X everyday to become Y", but to develop a very strong writing habit, which i didn't have before.
Quoting Bradbury: 'Eventually quantity will make for quality. Quantity gives experience. From experience alone can quality come.'
I think what's important  is seeing this as means to an objective, not the objective itself.

Word count, daily or not, is somewhat a measurable data i can use to have an idea about my progress. Not on quality, but frequency, and perhaps seriousness.
Maybe it could even be considered like a deadline, maybe some get stimulated by that (i do sometimes).

But i see the trap it can turn into: also becoming an end by itself, instead of only another tool to use to improve.

In this NaNo, on the very first day, a girl in my region posted a picture showing she wrote 73k and was done with it. As comments went on and on, she had a very strong outline, that she passed months or maybe the entire year doing just for NaNo, of if she guarded it just for NaNo, don't remember exactly.
But if that was the case, why didn't she simply wrote the story anyway? Revised? Sent it away? She just put outline at her side and typed away.
I was surprised by that, because NaNo serves as a stimulus for people who want to write, to develop habit, etc, but this girl just saw it as some kind of record typing marathon.

About II), that's what i'm doing so far too. Character sketches didn't worked for me at all, i didn't even bothered to create them when new characters appeared. I have notes and situations written down, some more detailed, some very ambiguous, but mostly things happen on "the moment".
I'm finding that the first 100,200 words usually gives me impulse to 400,500, and so on.

It's embarrassing to say this, but during the day sometimes i "daydream" about the story and get some scenes/dialogues/action that i try not to forget until i come home to write it. Also helps to get impulse, knowing beforehand how it begins or ends.

About III), i have yet to do that! But from what i did in college, i will probably have to work on that a bit, i revised things over and over. 
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Offline Mr.J

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Re: Critiques vs Writing Advice
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2015, 09:05:24 PM »
Oh this is a fab idea Mark! I will bookmark that and read them later. Might even do a critique of each myself before reading your own notes on them. :)

Offline jefGoelz

Re: Critiques vs Writing Advice
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2015, 04:08:34 AM »
I sent in a first page. Bring it.   >:(

Offline CameronJohnston

Re: Critiques vs Writing Advice
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2015, 09:22:09 AM »
Having recently posted critiques of three fantasy page 1s I am reminded of my old conviction that critique is more valuable than general writing advice even if it's not your work being critiqued.

Even the act of critiquing another person can strengthen your writing.


http://mark---lawrence.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/you-really-want-me-to-critique-you.html

I cannot agree enough. General writing advice is fine, as far as it goes, but it is very general. Nothing quite like learning from specific crits on a piece digging into the nitty-gritty of it all. Critiquing other people's fiction means you spot things that don't work and then learn not to make those errors in your own writing.

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Offline Barbara J Webb

Re: Critiques vs Writing Advice
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2015, 07:28:52 PM »
The value of critique is seeing that writing advice applied directly to writing. So you not only get the advice, but a concrete example of why that advice is there--why it exists in the first place.

It's like going from watching exercise videos to working with a personal trainer. It's not like you can't learn the first way, but having someone actively correcting your mistakes as they happen helps you learn that much faster.
Breaking the world one character at a time.

Offline Francis Knight

Re: Critiques vs Writing Advice
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2015, 10:44:29 PM »
Critiquing and being critiqued are the two most valuable things I did to improve my writing (why I suggest finding a writers' group that suits you)
My tongue has been in my cheek for so long, I've eroded a new mouth.


Duellists Trilogy (as Julia Knight) coming soon from Orbit!

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