So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

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OokamiKasumi
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So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#1 Post by OokamiKasumi » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:37 pm

So you want a Critique?
WARNING! Incoming Rant!

A Critique...?
-- Really? Are you sure...? From the responses I've gotten, and the responses I've seen others get, plus the resulting peanut gallery commentary, I'm not so sure a Critique is what some of you are looking for.

Let's start at the beginning.

Do you even know what a Critique actually is?
cri·tique
kriˈtēk/
noun: critique; plural noun: critiques
1. a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory.
synonyms: analysis, evaluation, assessment, appraisal, appreciation, criticism, review, study, commentary, exposition, exegesis
"a critique of North American culture"

verb: critique; 3rd person present: critiques; past tense: critiqued; past participle: critiqued; gerund or present participle: critiquing
1. evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way.
"the authors critique the methods and practices used in the research"
THINK: Are you actually looking for a Critique; a detailed analysis of your work, or are you really looking for something else, but that's the word everyone else is using so you're using it too?

Things you might really be looking for:
-- "Can you check my sentence structure and look for typos?"
-- "Are my characters interesting enough to keep reading?"
-- "Is this fight scene or love scene confusing? Did I describe it well enough that you can see what's going on clearly in your imagination?"
-- "Does this story drag? Is it boring to you?"
-- "Have I used too much narrative and exposition? What should I trim out?"
-- "Should I use additional characters to tell this story, or stick with what I have?"
-- "Should I use more description in this scene, or more dialog?"
-- "Do you like this Main Character, or should I use someone different?"
-- "Should I keep writing this or scrap the whole thing?"
-- "Is my dialog entertaining enough to keep you interested?"
-- "Did I do good this time? Is this an improvement on my last work?"
Once you know what you're really looking for, you then need to know
How to ASK for what you actually Want.
Here are some examples of how you DON'T do it.
-- "Will you gimme a critique?"
-- "Can you take a look at my story?"
-- "Can you give me an honest opinion of my story?"
-- "Can you tell me if this is any good?"

None of these questions will get you what you're after so Stop Asking Them.

Instead:
Be Direct and ask point-blank for what you actually Want.
Don't play around. Ask for what you want in clear, simple English. Being indirect or too broad in your request for help with your work will not only Not get you want you really want, it frustrates the hell out of those of us that want to help you. How are we supposed to assist you when we don't know what kind of assistance you're looking for?

You want a Character Interaction check? ASK for one.
You want a Plotting check? ASK for one.
You want a Grammar and Typo check? ASK for one.
You want an Action Scene Description check? ASK for one.
You want to know if a Scene is boring? ASK if it's boring.
You want to know if you have enough info in your info-dump exposition, or if you have too much? Ask exactly that.
You want all of the above? List the entire set of questions and ASK for those things to be checked.

And just for the record:
Specify if this is a Creative Writing piece
or something you intend for Professional Publication.
We have experienced experts in Both on this board, and the advice from the Professionals such as myself, ("Follow these rules,") tends to be diametrically opposed to the Creative writers, ("There are no rules!") If you want to avoid a fight breaking out between them, specify the type of writing advice you're looking for. Seriously.

So...!
Don't just throw your writing at us and ask for a Critique!
ASK for Precisely what you Want.
This way, those of us experienced enough to offer you solid advice can give you the solid advice you want.

And for God's sake...
Don't whine about it or Attack those of us that answer you!
No one wants to help someone that bites the hand that gives them what they asked for. If you're not mature enough to gracefully accept that you're going to hear things you may not like about your work, then you're not mature enough to ask for assistance from those of us that actually know what the hell we're doing.

There are tons of people on this forum alone that are damned good at writing, but won't say a word because they've been bitten one too many times when all they did was try to help -- myself included.

Suggestion for the Shy people that want to offer help:
-- Private Message (PM) the person you want to help and ASK if they're interested in hearing what you want to say. If they say "Sure!" PM your analysis of their work. If your analysis is particularly long and detailed, in other words; it's going to take a lot of rewriting to get their work straight, don't expect a reply for at least a week. It takes about that long for the impact to wear off. Remember, it always hurts when someone points out something you got wrong.

Also, don't expect them to follow your advice immediately. Nine times out of ten they will wait to see if anyone else says the same thing -- or offers an easier solution. If your analysis is supported by others the next stage is to try out your advice and see if it actually works for them. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won't. All you can do is offer. It's up to them to decide if they want to take your advice or not, so don't freak out if they say, "Thanks, but I wanna try something else."

One more thing...

Members of the Peanut Gallery? Stay the hell OUT!
Don't get in the way of someone trying to help someone else. If you don't like the advice offered, it's fine to offer your own take on the situation -- that's actually Helpful. However, don't attack the other people offering advice. That's not just Rude, it's extremely Unhelpful to the person who posted. So what if it doesn't agree with what you believe to be true? It's up to the person who Asked for said advice to decide if they want to take the advice offered, or not -- not You, so Butt-Out!

I have spoken.

[/rant]

You may commence with the bitching. ♥
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#2 Post by Godline » Mon Jan 26, 2015 7:53 pm

Haha. :)
This should almost be a stickied post. People don't normally know what they're asking for. And I know that usually when people ask for critiques they don't want the honest truth, so I normally don't bother commenting at all. I try to put a positive spin on critques, but you're always going to have to state the negative.

What's even worse though is when you OFFER to make someone's writing better to help them out and they want none of it. They just want to do it their own way, even if it sucks.

But meh, each to their own. ;)

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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#3 Post by OokamiKasumi » Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:08 pm

Godline wrote:Haha. :) This should almost be a stickied post.
LOL! It'll never happen.
-- People generally don't like reminders that makes them feel bad -- especially when it's True.
Godline wrote:People don't normally know what they're asking for.
I have no idea why it's so damned hard to just point-blank Ask for what you want --and what you don't want-- but a lot of people have a hard time doing it. Dancing around the subject just wastes everyone's time and generates frustration.
Godline wrote:I know that usually when people ask for critiques they don't want the honest truth, so I normally don't bother commenting at all. I try to put a positive spin on critiques, but you're always going to have to state the negative.
Jeeze...! If they Don't want people to point out where they screwed up, they shouldn't ASK people to critique their work!

*Sigh...* I still offer advice despite all the flack I get because even though there are those who will scream their heads off about it, ("There are no rules to writing!") there are those that pay attention and actually Use my advice too. I have the 'thank you' PMs to prove it.
Godline wrote:What's even worse though is when you OFFER to make someone's writing better to help them out and they want none of it. They just want to do it their own way, even if it sucks.
That's EGO. Theirs, specifically. Those are the type that think good grades in high school English are enough to write a story. *rolls eyes*

Here's a tip: A quick check of the writer's Age will tell you ahead of time whether they're serious about wanting advice or not. Namely, if they're under 25, they're probably going to fight you every step of the way because they have yet to realize there are people out there that know more than they do about anything, never mind something as easy as writing a story. God help you if they're college students! (Those bastards think they're frikken authorities!)

Fan-Fiction writers, on the other hand, are a whole different bowl of kim-chee. They tend to get very serious about wanting real writing advice between 16 and 18. This is because most of them were posting their work publicly from the age of 13. These kids have already gotten a good hard kick in the teeth on what their readers will accept, ("I like your characterization!") and what they won't. ("Use your damned spell-check!") Fan-fiction readers can be Brutal, so they're an excellent way to clean out the attention seeking idiots from the actual writers.
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#4 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:46 pm

I agree that this ought to be stickied, though perhaps the ranting should be slightly toned down for archival purposes. (I'm guilty of being too abrasive sometimes, so I know it when I see it. People are often less likely to accept advice when it's presented at a volume beyond a certain decibel level.)
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#5 Post by trooper6 » Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:46 pm

OokamiKasumi wrote: I have no idea why it's so damned hard to just point-blank Ask for what you want --and what you don't want-- but a lot of people have a hard time doing it. Dancing around the subject just wastes everyone's time and generates frustration.
My suspicion is that they know that asking for what they really want is...a bit tacky and by asking outright they are unlikely to get responses. I mean, how many people will respond well to, "Hello, I'm posting my 18 pages of non spell-checked work. I'm wondering if you all could read it and tell me how awesome it is. Just say I'm the best ever! Thanks!"

Anyway, I appreciate your being here.
A Close Shave:
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*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#6 Post by OokamiKasumi » Tue Jan 27, 2015 12:02 am

Mad Harlequin wrote:I agree that this ought to be stickied, though perhaps the ranting should be slightly toned down for archival purposes. (I'm guilty of being too abrasive sometimes, so I know it when I see it. People are often less likely to accept advice when it's presented at a volume beyond a certain decibel level.)
LOL!
-- I like you. Really.

You're right, this is rather 'loud' but I look at it this way, the people that actually want this advice will ignore the delivery or laugh at it, and take what they can use from it. Those that don't want to accept this advice 'as delivered'...? Not my problem. In fact, good! I want them to ignore what I have to say. It's not my loss. I will happily let them bash their heads against the wall and learn it the hard way.
trooper6 wrote:
OokamiKasumi wrote: I have no idea why it's so damned hard to just point-blank Ask for what you want --and what you don't want-- but a lot of people have a hard time doing it. Dancing around the subject just wastes everyone's time and generates frustration.
My suspicion is that they know that asking for what they really want is...a bit tacky and by asking outright they are unlikely to get responses. I mean, how many people will respond well to, "Hello, I'm posting my 18 pages of non spell-checked work. I'm wondering if you all could read it and tell me how awesome it is. Just say I'm the best ever! Thanks!"
Being 'tacky' never stopped anyone on the fan-fiction sites. In fact, that's exactly what you see in the Author's Notes right at the head of each and every chapter. "Please read my work and tell me how much you like it!"
trooper6 wrote:Anyway, I appreciate your being here.
I strongly appreciate you too!
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#7 Post by Mad Harlequin » Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:21 am

OokamiKasumi wrote: -- I like you. Really.
Back at'cha! I feel like we inhabit some of the same mind-space. :)
You're right, this is rather 'loud' but I look at it this way, the people that actually want this advice will ignore the delivery or laugh at it, and take what they can use from it.

True.
Those that don't want to accept this advice 'as delivered'...? Not my problem. In fact, good! I want them to ignore what I have to say.
Isn't that counterproductive, then? It's true that sometimes people only learn when they bash their heads against a wall, as you put it, but I've found that doing the bashing for them doesn't really help. That's all I'm trying to point out. (As I mentioned, I still do this myself sometimes . . . and then I feel bad later for not framing my points in a more accessible way.)
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#8 Post by OokamiKasumi » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:05 am

Mad Harlequin wrote:
OokamiKasumi wrote:Those that don't want to accept this advice 'as delivered'...? Not my problem. In fact, good! I want them to ignore what I have to say.
Isn't that counterproductive, then?
Let me put this into proper perspective:
-- On this forum I am a game creator. So are they.

Those that listen to the advice of those with advanced skills no matter how that advice is delivered?
= Increase in game creation skills. --> More competition for players' attention.

Those that won't, or want their advice sweetened for their delicate palates?
= No Increase in game creation skills. --> Less competition for players' attention.

More competition or Less competition?
-- Hmmm... Let me think. Sorry. Not seeing the counter-productivity.

In short...
-- Why should I bother offering my advice to those who do not wish my assistance? Or worse; will only take assistance offered in shiny cellophane wrappers tied with pretty red bows -- advice they will ignore anyway?
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#9 Post by trooper6 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:20 am

Or...I translate OokamiKasumi like so: "You can down a horse and what, but you still can't make them drink."
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#10 Post by OokamiKasumi » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:29 am

trooper6 wrote:Or...I translate OokamiKasumi like so: "You can down a horse and what, but you still can't make them drink."
Ohhh! NICE~!
-- Though it's more like, "If someone says they're thirsty, offer them a glass of water. If they sneer and say, 'I will only drink Earl Grey tea with cream and sugar,' leave the glass on the table and walk away because beyond that point, it's their decision whether to drink or not. However, if they're thirsty enough sooner or later they will drink the water."
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#11 Post by Mad Harlequin » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:33 am

OokamiKasumi wrote:Why should I bother offering my advice to those who do not wish my assistance? Or worse; will only take assistance offered in shiny cellophane wrappers tied with pretty red bows -- advice they will ignore anyway?
Oh, no, I understand you! But if one wants certain people to ignore advice, then that's a counter to the act of offering advice, especially when those who receive it may be most in need.

I'm just advocating for a more moderate tone instead of sugarcoating or shouting. Advice reaches the most people when it's delivered that way. That's all I was trying to say.
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#12 Post by OokamiKasumi » Tue Jan 27, 2015 2:43 am

Mad Harlequin wrote:Oh, no, I understand you! But if one wants certain people to ignore advice, then that's a counter to the act of offering advice, especially when those who receive it may be most in need.

I'm just advocating for a more moderate tone instead of sugarcoating or shouting. Advice reaches the most people when it's delivered that way. That's all I was trying to say.
I know, sweety!
-- In case you haven't noticed, normally my advice is very temperate. (I've posted well over a dozen tutorials on this site alone.) However, this time someone royally pissed me off. Hence: Rant.
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#13 Post by Godline » Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:26 am

OokamiKasumi wrote: Here's a tip: A quick check of the writer's Age will tell you ahead of time whether they're serious about wanting advice or not. Namely, if they're under 25, they're probably going to fight you every step of the way because they have yet to realize there are people out there that know more than they do about anything, never mind something as easy as writing a story. God help you if they're college students! (Those bastards think they're frikken authorities!)
LMAO. :) Too true. Though I'm technically a college student this year...
OokamiKasumi wrote: Fan-Fiction writers, on the other hand, are a whole different bowl of kim-chee. They tend to get very serious about wanting real writing advice between 16 and 18. This is because most of them were posting their work publicly from the age of 13. These kids have already gotten a good hard kick in the teeth on what their readers will accept, ("I like your characterization!") and what they won't. ("Use your damned spell-check!") Fan-fiction readers can be Brutal, so they're an excellent way to clean out the attention seeking idiots from the actual writers.
Hmmm... that's true. Fan fiction is a good way for writers to hone their skills and get used to being critiqued. But I've still seen people gush about the most awful drivel of fan-fiction and that doesn't help the writers at all. And a lot of people who write fan fiction don't care about writing better either. Some post up crap after crap after crap, and I can't really understand why. Haha.

I think basically with age comes talent. I have seen some 16-18 year olds with talent for writing, but they're few and far between. Back when I was 16-18 I used to think I had talent. But now when I look back at what I used to write, I cringe. It's true, you get to be a good writer by WRITING but the young peeps need to realize that they'll get better in time. Unless they are that 0.1% that are truly gifted.

If you're a teenager, it's likely your writing won't be appreciated by anyone older than you, because people who've been around longer in life will realize sooner that it sucks. That's just the way it works.
But if you're just passing it around your high school, that's all good, but when you are expecting industry professionals to take you seriously... errr... no. Just don't.

And (taking my false teeth out and pointing menacingly at the youth of today), you people should respect your elders more and take good advice when it's given to you! :)

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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#14 Post by OokamiKasumi » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:06 am

Godline wrote:
OokamiKasumi wrote:... God help you if they're college students! (Those bastards think they're frikken authorities!)
LMAO. :) Too true. Though I'm technically a college student this year...
Clearly, you are an Exception.
Godline wrote:
OokamiKasumi wrote: Fan-Fiction writers, on the other hand, are a whole different bowl of kim-chee . . . Fan-fiction readers can be Brutal, so they're an excellent way to clean out the attention seeking idiots from the actual writers.
Hmmm... that's true. Fan fiction is a good way for writers to hone their skills and get used to being critiqued. But I've still seen people gush about the most awful drivel of fan-fiction and that doesn't help the writers at all. And a lot of people who write fan fiction don't care about writing better either. Some post up crap after crap after crap, and I can't really understand why. Haha.
Check the ages of those people gushing about drivel. I guarantee that they're under 18, as are the writers posting said drivel. In other words, neither the writers nor their readers know any better. I hang out with a far older group of fan-fic writers, mainly because I write strictly Mature (R18) stories. They are far more exacting about what they consider acceptable.
Godline wrote:I think basically with age comes talent. I have seen some 16-18 year olds with talent for writing, but they're few and far between. Back when I was 16-18 I used to think I had talent. But now when I look back at what I used to write, I cringe. It's true, you get to be a good writer by WRITING but the young peeps need to realize that they'll get better in time. Unless they are that 0.1% that are truly gifted.
Actually, with age and practice comes Skill.
-- Talent is when you get it right By Accident. Skill is when you get it right On Purpose.

I got it right the first time By Accident when I was 17. My first story was published in my junior year of high school. I wasn't published again for another 18 years because it took that long to learn though Books and Magazines alone the skills it took to stop needing Accidents to get it right. (I didn't have the advantage of the Internet.)
Godline wrote:If you're a teenager, it's likely your writing won't be appreciated by anyone older than you, because people who've been around longer in life will realize sooner that it sucks. That's just the way it works.
Actually, it's just that it's crystal clear to those with real-life experience when someone writes about something they're completely ignorant about.
Godline wrote:...if you're just passing it around your high school, that's all good, but when you are expecting industry professionals to take you seriously... errr... no. Just don't.
Well, if you don't mind being laughed at...?
-- The truly scary part is that the industry professionals Remember You -- especially when you send in garbage, and they will hold it against you no matter how many years go by. Just so you know, the average publishing editor's career lasts well over 10 years. Two of my book editors have been in the industry for over 20 and yes, they still remember the more spectacular garbage they were sent, and the names of the authors who sent it.
Godline wrote:And (taking my false teeth out and pointing menacingly at the youth of today), you people should respect your elders more and take good advice when it's given to you! :)
LOL!
-- I like you so much!
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Re: So, you want a Critique? [Rant]

#15 Post by Godline » Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:01 am

OokamiKasumi wrote: Clearly, you are an Exception.
Eh, I'll be going in as a mature age, since the 'career path' I was in isn't really viable anymore. :)
OokamiKasumi wrote: Check the ages of those people gushing about drivel. I guarantee that they're under 18, as are the writers posting said drivel. In other words, neither the writers nor their readers know any better. I hang out with a far older group of fan-fic writers, mainly because I write strictly Mature (R18) stories. They are far more exacting about what they consider acceptable.
That's true, actually. Most of the more serious story-crafters in the fan fiction market do write mature stories. Some blow me away actually. I think if they're devoting that energy and passion to something fan-based how well they could do in the market with their own stuff.
But some write huge 100k plus stories immaculately crafted and I just think 'wow'. Jealous. :)
I got it right the first time By Accident when I was 17. My first story was published in my junior year of high school. I wasn't published again for another 18 years because it took that long to learn though Books and Magazines alone the skills it took to stop needing Accidents to get it right. (I didn't have the advantage of the Internet.)
Seriously? How did you fluke that? Haha. I've got to hear this story. :)
Actually, it's just that it's crystal clear to those with real-life experience when someone writes about something they're completely ignorant about.
It could be partially ignorance, but could be immaturity as well. Nobody wants to believe they're immature when they're younger, but when they get older they look back and realize what they were like back then. That's my experience. :)
Here I am acting like an old person when I just entered my thirties - lol!
-- The truly scary part is that the industry professionals Remember You -- especially when you send in garbage, and they will hold it against you no matter how many years go by. Just so you know, the average publishing editor's career lasts well over 10 years. Two of my book editors have been in the industry for over 20 and yes, they still remember the more spectacular garbage they were sent, and the names of the authors who sent it.
In publishing, yes. With stuff that goes up on the internet if it's released under a username that can just be changed down the track... so not so much. :)
LOL!
-- I like you so much!

;)

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