View Full Version : The Helping Hand
January 31st, 2003, 08:35 PM
In the last few years the opportunities for helping friends and acquaintances with writing seems to be on the increase. I relish the idea and the chance but am uncertain of the implementation. I submitted a story to another forum for critique and received a raft of response but it was 94 44/100 grammar and spelling critique. I've done that myself and I kick myself hard every time I think about the mistakes I've made, how I let the author down.
I don't want to hear about spelling and grammar. I want to hear about the story. I want to hear the characters were believable, compelling, interesting or not. I want to hear the ideas were fun or stimulating. I want to hear if the story struck a chord, if it moved you, or did it leave you flat. Was it a waste of your time? That will hurt but it's more impoartant than anything else you could tell me.
I want to hear that some idea could have been more clearly explicated or some usage seemed to come from left field. I want to hear what you liked and didn't like.
Am I asking too much?
January 31st, 2003, 11:51 PM
A good critic should be able to provide help in both grammar and content. However, it depends on the background, knowledge and experience of the critic.
February 1st, 2003, 04:05 AM
HE, as you know I agree with you.
My grammar is bad, this I know. It's not as bad as it was but *g*. Thing is I need to get the story down. Bouncing ideas of folks and getting feed back about where the story is going is why I put a story up for critique.
I want to know if it is actually enjoyable, makes sense and is going somewhere. If I am going to spend 6 to 8 months of my life thumping out 100,000 words, editing and re-editing it until I am sick to the back teeth of it, I need to know if someone else other than me likes it.
I would rather have a friend say H, that stinks, what on earth were you thinking about in this piece or that section. Get your rear end into gear etc, etc. This is far more preferable to a mumbled, "yes that is nice "
I would also like a friend to know that if they send me a piece to critique that I would do the same to them. It wouldn't mean I was kicking them, it would mean I repect, not only their writing, but their trust in me to say what I think.
The book I have out at the moment with an agent, (who requested to see it after being presented with the feedback I had from a number of publishers) was professionally edited by a dear friend. This is part of this friend's line of work( edit's scripts and manuscripts) He volunteered after reading a couple of chapters. I thought he was mad!
He put in hours of work, helped and supported me, and is still doing so. I owe him a debt I can never repay. It made me grow as a writer. I am not afraid to put down the words now. Not afraid to write as I want to. To not conform to a "set" standard in my prose, but allow them to reflect who and what I am, the way I see the world.
Others too( mentioning no names *g*) have given me tha same support with regards to half though out ideas and partly written stories. This gives me hope that I am not banging my head against a brick wall even when the dark moods have gotten so black I feel like wiping everything off my hard drive and forgetting about writing.
If I can encourage another writer to do follow their dreams to be stubborn as hell, then I feel as if I have passed on the torch so to speak.
This is why I feel commenting on the content, not the grammar I am helping far more than nit picking the commas, spelling mistakes etc.
A short story I can, I know make presentable for publication. A novel is another matter, for this I believe you need an editor. My hope is that with the next one I will be able to pay my friend the going rate. If he can't do it due to other work, then I will find another good editor to polish the grammar and nit pick the spelling.
My writing is becoming my work, and I need to present the "best" to get even the chance of a sale.
February 1st, 2003, 05:38 AM
I do believe this is the reason most people put up reviews, yet we still tend to nit pick. The reason for putting up a story on a fantasy/sci-fi based site is to see what the fans of these particular genres actually think of the work, whether its stale, a beautiful new idea or something that has twisted itself into an unintended mess. Almost everyones grammar will be bad, so maybe it would be better to post the idea instead of the actual story. Though of course unscrupulose people such as myself will tell you its terrible and then proceed to steal it.
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