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Author Topic: Imogen's take on writing critiques  (Read 1555 times)

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Offline ImogenTopic starter

Imogen's take on writing critiques
« on: August 18, 2012, 02:58:26 AM »
Imogen's take on writing critiques

1. The stories I will and won't critique
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 04:04:22 AM by Imogen »

Offline ImogenTopic starter

Re: Imogen's take on writing critiques
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2012, 04:02:46 AM »
1. The stories I will and won't critique


Hi everyone!

I am Imogen and I have been a member of Elliquiy since 2008. As some of you may know I enjoy writing critiques for the Coffee Corner and Elliquiys Writers Group. In this little series of blogs I would like to share my techniques for reviewing and provide some hints and tips.

In the past four years I have had the privilege of co-writing with authors whose level of perfection challenged me to become a better writer. Determined not to be outdone I studied their posts and tried to figure out what made their writing so incredible. I learned a lot from picking their posts apart. One co-writer had a knack for adding tiny details at just the right time to make an entire scene come to life, another excelled in the words he did not use. Every redundancy had been expelled and his post quality resembled a gorgeous bonsai tree; pruned to perfection. All the things I have learned from these writers I keep in mind when composing my critiques.

Of course, to critique you will need a piece to work on. This is the first topic I would like to discuss: how to select a story for reviewing.

First of all I believe a review should be constructive. That means that whatever comments I will make later their goal will be to help the author improve their work. That sounds like common sense, but it implies a series of consequences that help to determine which stories I can and cannot review.

The first hurdle is the amount of effort the writer has taken before she put up her work for review. If it looks as if its never been edited and never felt the chastising caress of a spell checker, I will not review it. If the writer doesnt want to spend time on her work, neither do I.

Another deal breaker is post length. I am more likely to select one scene/story of manageable proportions than a bulk post of epic proportions. I might take on chapters of a novel but when that happens the opening paragraphs must have appealed to me, and given me confidence that my time will be well spent.

The next step is to find the gem that makes the story worth reading. Sometimes there are so many wonderful things its hard to choose, but thats for later. At this stage I am just looking for one thing I can compliment the writer on.

It doesnt happen often but in those rare occasions I cant find anything positive or inspiring, I will not review the story. I want my reviews to be constructive, encouraging and honest. Paragraphs filled with criticism are not likely to bring the desired effect. If I am lucky my reader may get to the end, but its more likely that shell reach the conclusion that either I hate her work, or that she is a hopelessly case, long before the final dot.

Funnily enough, the opposite is also true. If I cannot find any point of criticism I will rarely review the story. If it is particularly outstanding I may write a quick comment but thats pretty much it.

This is how I make my selections. How do you choose which work youll review?

Next time Ill discuss how I choose the points of criticism Ill work into my review and which ones I will save for another time or skip entirely.

Offline vampirehunterd16

Re: Imogen's take on writing critiques
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 03:21:53 PM »
hi, my names Cyril and i love to roleplay, i was hoping you had a yahoo messanger i could get ahold of you on and we can rp ^_^ have a wonderful day and joyness to your life!

Offline jouzinka

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Re: Imogen's take on writing critiques
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 04:57:19 PM »
Hello, Cyril, welcome to Elliquiy. I am jouzinka (people call me jouzi for short too), I'm very pleased to meet you.

I see that you didn't stumble upon our Questionnaire yet. Please make yourself familiar with the Rules of the site, then pick up the Questionnaire and post answers into the Intro forums, so that we may get to know you better.

Also, please be advised that sharing contact information in this part of the site is not allowed as is covered in the Rules. ;)

Looking forward to reading your interesting answers.

Offline jouzinka

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Re: Imogen's take on writing critiques
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 05:09:56 PM »
Imogen, I think that you've given a great structure for constructive criticism! I especially liked the point of "in those rare occasions I cant find anything positive or inspiring, I will not review the story." I think that's a great and enlightening way to say: If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all.

As for me, I rarely critique or review others' work (and not just writing, art or makeup also) as I don't believe I'm up to par. I may when directly flogged asked, but that's usually carried out in person. ;D

I don't usually visit the Blogs, but I'll definitely bookmark this one. Thanks for your thoughts.

By the way, happy Elliversary. :-)

Offline DumbLondoner

Re: Imogen's take on writing critiques
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2012, 02:55:54 PM »
Imogen

I am new to Elliquiy and I found your article most interesting - it is refreshing to find someone who thinks about ow to critique rather than simply voicing an opinion!


Offline Ciosa

Re: Imogen's take on writing critiques
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2012, 04:25:49 PM »
quick question:  Do you write critiques of games in progress, or only short stories and stand alone works of fiction?