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Critique for Critique

Discussion in 'Ask the Staff' started by Philip Overby, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    Update-We now have 8 people so I'm locking the group now. Sorry for anyone else who wanted to join! I really don't want this group to get too big!

    Phil the Drill
    San Cidolfus
    Benjamin Clayborne

    What does everyone think of the idea of trading stories or chapters and discussing them privately? I know the Showcase is already used for that, but I'm hoping to get some more intensive feedback on several chapters I have written. Also, I understand some people don't like sharing their incomplete material, which is why I don't use the Showcase often. I really love it and I think it works for a lot of people, but I guess I prefer my critiques a bit more private.

    So my idea is offering critique for critique. You critique something of mine, I critique something of yours.

    I want honest feedback, but that doesn't necessarily mean brutal. Meaning, yes, I want you to tell me what didn't work or what needs fixing, but no need to just completely bury me. :)

    I like to follow the philosophy of tell me what didn't work first, then tell me what you liked next. I like the bad news first!

    I'll do the same for you.

    If anyone is interested, I'll develop a sort of "Critique Form" which you can fill out that way I can get a clear idea of what is working and what isn't. It will also make it easier to critique that way (when I was a small press editor I enjoyed those because it helped structure things so much easier).

    However, I don't want to read whole WIP novels. I personally don't have time for that, but I would be open to read in-progress stories, or several chapters. It's all negotiable (up to 30-35 pages?). Pretend I'm a busy, yet conscientious editor if you'd like!

    Also if several people are interested, we could form a small critique group, for those that prefer private critiquing.

    Anyone interested? Send me a private message. And please, no one too thin-skinned. :p
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  2. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

    I'm in. I'll PM you with my contact info. I honestly don't know why I haven't yet...
  3. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

    Oh what the hell, I'm in. I don't have too much ready for critique... or maybe I do and this little feedback group will help me realise that ;)

    I'm also going to echo only submitting a couple of chapters to the group at a time. I'd be happy to help and be helped in return but with the best will in the world I'm not going to have time to be reading entire manuscripts.
  4. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    Cool! Let's see if anyone else wants to join in and then we can pair off and go from there. If not, we can swap manuscripts amongst each other. (ex. Phil to Reaver, Reaver to JC, JC to Phil)

    But maybe someone else will be interested. Most of my stuff are aborted novels, so I mostly want to know if they're worth continuing or maybe need to be revamped. PM contact info to Reaver and I and we can correspond easier.
  5. Muqtada

    Muqtada Scribe

    I'm in. At the moment I don't have anything ready for critique but I am more than willing to critique for others until I've gotten a little bit farther in my projects
  6. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    Cool! For the purposes of sending attachments and stuff, it's better to correspond via email. So any other people who are interested, send a PM to me with emails and then we can pair off with each other soon. Please only give emails that you're comfortable sharing with other people.
  7. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    So here's what I want to do:

    1. Wait about a week

    2. Get everyone's emails who is interested in trading critiques via PM

    3. If you don't have anything you want to share, maybe find something old? If you don't have anything old, critiquing only is fine, but I really want this to be more of a trade-off.

    4. Once we get everyone involved, I'll pair us off and share the emails you PMed with for the whole group

    5. I'll send everyone the "Critique Forms" that I'm writing up. It makes the critiquing easier, more focused, and straightforward. Of course I'll have a spot on the bottom for you to just write whatever you want. I'll send the forms in RTF format, since everyone seems to be able to use that, right?

    6. Critiquing should take 2-3 weeks or less. In order to get a good critique, you have to put a little work into it, but I don't want this to be a "pressured" type of group. Meaning I hope people don't hound each other about their manuscripts. Just send them off and give a chance to leisurely and accurately critique said piece.

    7. Remember to give fair critiques. No bashing or burying. If something doesn't work, explain it in a way that won't be looked at as overly negative. Also, if something is good, feel free to express that. I think glowing positivity can be helpful for writer confidence, but also be honest. Don't oversell something just for the sake of the writer's feelings.

    Sound good?

    Good. Hope more people join up here.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  8. sashamerideth

    sashamerideth Maester

    I am in as well.
  9. San Cidolfus

    San Cidolfus Troubadour

    You know what? I'd like to join in on this endeavor. I'm always willing to lend an eye, and I'm about to start a new project which may benefit from being seasoned with opinions.
  10. I'm up for it. I've already critiqued a few things for people here, and I'm happy to continue.
  11. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

    Ok, so I'm going to pair off people as such. Hopefully everyone will be happy with their pairing:

    1. Phil the Drill and Reaver
    2. JCFarnham and Muqtada
    3. Steerpike and sashameredith
    4. San Cidolfus and Benjamin Clayborne

    Remember that the point of this is to trade more in-depth, private critiques. Also if you don't have anything to critique at the moment, that's fine, but try to get something so when it's your turn to be critiqued, you'll have something.

    Pairs are free to exchange whatever method of email or messaging they like, but make it something that you can send attachments with.

    I'll be sending the Critique Forms to everyone once I get all the emails. The Critique Forms are a variation of a form I used when I was fielding manuscripts for a small press, so I think they will be helpful for getting more detailed responses. However, the questions listed are only suggestions. Feel free to use whatever method you are most comfortable with in addressing each listed topic.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012

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