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Hereford Eye
October 28th, 2006, 11:15 AM
Everyone needs an editor to espy the more egregious warts and pimples in their work but does everyone need critters? It occurs to me that critters over-analyze things, forget to see if the story appeals, if the characters appeal, if the story is something they want to read.
Readability, I suspect, is determined when you read the first three paragraphs and want to read the 4th and so on and so on. When critting, it doesn't matter, you keep reading to honor your role as a critter and thus become prone to ever more severe technical critting. You've lost the enjoyment and the entertainment and now it is drudgery but duty drives you on. Having agreed to crit the work, you must complete it. Especially on the critter boards; it is uncouth to write that you couldn't get past the third paragraph.
We would never do that with a book. We'd put the damned thing down and pick up another one that has a chance to please us.

Dazzlinkat
October 28th, 2006, 11:44 AM
Hmmm. Lucky for me I am not capable of deep technical critting, which is why I rarely point out grammar bits. I tend to focus on pointing out non-grammar things I think would help me enjoy reading the story more and leave the technical bits to the more capable ones.

Don't think I would make it on a critter board.

invertebrae
October 28th, 2006, 11:20 PM
Everyone needs an editor to espy the more egregious warts and pimples in their work but does everyone need critters? It occurs to me that critters over-analyze things, forget to see if the story appeals, if the characters appeal, if the story is something they want to read.
Readability, I suspect, is determined when you read the first three paragraphs and want to read the 4th and so on and so on. When critting, it doesn't matter, you keep reading to honor your role as a critter and thus become prone to ever more severe technical critting. You've lost the enjoyment and the entertainment and now it is drudgery but duty drives you on. Having agreed to crit the work, you must complete it. Especially on the critter boards; it is uncouth to write that you couldn't get past the third paragraph.
We would never do that with a book. We'd put the damned thing down and pick up another one that has a chance to please us.


i am sure many of the critter's are this way. but speaking for myself, i don't critique work that way. i finish the story either way, but i refrain from nitpicks etc. until i've read it thru and digested the story first. my critiques (i've done about 10 now in total), are seldom grammatic or techinical in their focii. i can also say that of the two stories i've submitted (one is in the cycle as we speak), at least half of them have been as you describe. and the other half have been as you would ideally want (someone telling you, as a reader, why a story is working or not).

anyhow, my two cents.

...ryan

Rocket Sheep
October 30th, 2006, 04:40 PM
I need critters. I can't get a feel for my own work in the way that I can get an immediate response to someone else's work. I have a story being critiqued at the moment and everytime I get an email, I'm stunned that my main character characterisation is so inconsistent. I didn't even see it before! She is coming across completely wrong.

I do hate being the critiquer tho. Fortunately, I get to critique some very good writers and I gain by picking apart their work because at the same time as finding where they're slipping, I can see where they're excelling.

The critiquing forums tho tend to be a bit trench-like in their approach. If you're lucky, you'll get 10 crits tho, and between the 10 people half will touch on areas that resonate with your view of the improvement of the work and hopefully the rest will just let you in on their interpretation of what you set out to do. If they completely misunderstand everything and think it's rubbish then that's still useful feedback.

KatG
October 30th, 2006, 05:57 PM
A "critter" is an editor. Critique is just another term for editorial notes. A critiquer is not supposed to read your work like a reader would, ideally, but as an editor does, looking at both strengths and weaknesses, rooting out difficulties in composition and coming up with possible options for improving the material. Grammar and sentence structure -- the nitty-gritty technical stuff -- might be tackled but doesn't have to be. However, that's sometimes the easiest thing for a critiquer to concentrate on, especially if the person doesn't understand what you're trying to do in the story.

As an editor, it doesn't matter then whether the critiquer likes the story or characters or not, since the job is to look at content and structure, not strictly appeal. If it's just what an impression a work makes that you want to discover -- if you don't want a bunch of editors putting in their two cents -- then the easiest thing is to find trusted pals and family, ask them to start reading and tell you whether if they looked at such a book in a store or story in a magazine, would they bother to go past the fourth paragraph. And assure them twenty times over that your feelings won't be hurt if they say no, they wouldn't. These, I guess we could call test readers or focus groups.

But a critique criticizes -- it's what they do. :D

MrBF1V3
October 30th, 2006, 06:24 PM
I'll go along with rocket sheep, I find it quite useful to have another POV on what I've written, the more information the better. If the critter doesn't like it, and won't provide any more information than that, well, I'll get over it.

When I have time to do it right, I kind of enjoy crawling over someone else's story, and usually I can come up with what might be useful suggestions. It's very rare that I find a story I don't want to read, and sorry, when I get there I just don't read. If it's for someone I know, I would say as much. When it's for someone I don't know very well I kind of figure that silence is golden.

B5

mistri
October 31st, 2006, 07:53 AM
I think you just have to be upfront with what you want from a critter. For example, in my recent post here (asking for readers), I've stated that I don't want a nitty gritty in-depth crit. Those tend to come back with pages of 'don't use passive voice there, don't use a comma there, don't tell instead of show there,' and so on. Of course they can all be valid points, but sometimes critters point them out because they're looking for something to say rather than because those things were really getting in the way of the story.

I just ask for general comments about the characters/plot/pacing and so on.

But I don't think critters are *needed*. Many people get books into great shape on their own, and pass them to editors/agents like that. But on some stories or for some writers an extra opinion can really come in useful.

invertebrae
November 1st, 2006, 02:41 AM
i think the only danger with receiving critiques on your work is that you have to be very confident in your ability to find an objective POV when reading them. it is very easy to feel dejected and turned away from your original ideas when multiple critiques come back with more negatives than positives.

so if you can stay at arms reach from your story while it is being workshopped, then essentially the process serves as a set of opinions to help you make choices for your story. i don't look at most critiques and begin changing them line for line. you have to search for the essence of what is not reading well and re-address it in the best way you as the writer know how.

would you writers out there agree with this? or am i crazy?

...ryan

MrBF1V3
November 1st, 2006, 09:50 AM
... we don't say "crazy" anymore. We are just reality base challenged persons.

But I'm feeling much better now.:D

I'd say you are right in general, but would make an exception for certain people who critique. There are a few people who know the language better than I do, and when they point out a bad sentence, I am very likely to change it.

On the other hand, the critiques will point out problems, especially in places where I have been less than clear. I needed to know about that problem, and I can get over any disappointment when they didn't "get it". I do not feel obligated to follow the critter's suggestion on how to solve that problem. It's part of the creative process.

Rocket Sheep
November 3rd, 2006, 12:08 AM
As a critiquer, I feel people are not obligated to make plot changes as I suggest (because after all, it's not my plot) but if they keep making the same old grammatical mistakes over and over, I get bored and annoyed quickly. And may I just now say a few words to those people IF YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO THE CRITIQUES STOP ASKING ME TO DO THEM!

As a critiquee, I have to have a lot of confidence in just one person to listen to them or multiple comments or a realisation that they're right.

Ryan, I completely agree, you are not reality-base challenged.

You are not your writing. It soars, it crashes and burns, but you go on, hopefully learning how to write less plane smash type stuff.