WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING GRUMPVILLE, WILD RANTING AHEAD!
Sorry, I wrote this while I was still pretty grumbly, I promise to write something more cheerful next week.
Well, I finally got a reply back.
Four people critiqued my work and had a wide variety of opinions about the piece. Some said that I didn’t put enough detail into it, some said I put too much detail into it. Some thought my word choice was poor, others thought my word choice was good but my sentence structure was poor. Some didn’t like my main character, others didn’t like my side characters. In fact, the only thing these critiquers agreed on was that no one liked my writing.
In the words of one critic, “As for the story itself, it does not hit me as a great opening chapter.”
And she was the nice one.
Once upon a time, long, long ago, I used to submit my work for critique at another (now defunked) website. And then I stopped. Why? Because the feedback I received inspired me to stop writing.
It’s not that I can’t take criticism. Usually I love feedback and tips on how I can do better. What I can’t take is getting conflicting messages. For example, one person says I have too much detail, the next says I have too little, the next says I have the right amount of detail but the wrong kind, the next doesn’t mention detail at all. So, which one is right?
What I hear is DETAIL= BAD!
How is it bad and what can I do to fix it? That information isn’t even hinted at.
At this point you’re probably wondering why I even bothered to have my writing critiqued in the first place (I wonder about that some times too). I honestly wanted fellow writers to look at what I wrote and give me some tips to help me polish it up. Too bad that’s not what I got.
So, in light of some less than helpful critiques, I thought I would post some helpful tips that critics should keep in mind when they are reviewing other’s work.
- Please, please, please, read what other critics have written before you write your own critique! If you write a critique that says the exact opposite of a previous critic, it just makes both critiques worthless to the writer of the work.
- If you stink at grammar, do not try to fix someone else’s.
- Do not try to make someone else’s writing sound like yours. Every writer has their own voice, and that’s okay. Just because you would have worded something differently does not make it wrong.
- Read the entire piece through and then go back and critique it. That way you wont ask questions about a line of writing that are answered in the very next sentence of the piece.
- Do not make broad statements about an entire novel based off of 2,000 words! Seriously! The maximum size document that can be submitted for critique is tiny, there’s no way you could make an informed opinion about a whole novel based off of that little document you’re seeing.
Okay, I think I’ve ranted enough. I’m going to go binge watch Glee and eat some chocolate. Writing can wait for tomorrow.