Let's reward constructive critiques

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Let's reward constructive critiques

What about having a prize for the most constructive critique of the day / week / month? Well that's what we're all looking for isn't it. Honest, constructive critiscism (I could never spell that damned word).

I ask for more constructive criticism. Since I only have found one person reply to anything I wrote.
That would be nice, leander. Unfortunately, most people want to receive constructive critiques rather than give. Others don't have the confidence. I'm sure there's an answer out there somewhere, and if we put our collective heads together we might come up with an answer before Christmas. In the meantime here's a link I found a few weeks ago that some may find helpful- http://www.crayne.com/howcrit.html
I try and give a little critique if I see I need for it, but it is very difficult to go beyond the basics. I think something to encourage braver critiques would be good, however I don't know if that would change the positive community spirit on the site (as we all know people don't always react well to honesty). Touching on an earlier thread posted about newbies not commenting as they don't feel able, maybe it's something similar here? Newbies don't want to ruffle feathers in case their work doesn't get read as a result? Perhaps a site rule of no snide replies to honest feedback and sanctions for harsh/inappropriate feedback?
Having re-read my last post I realise it wasn't totally clear what I was trying to say. Basically, I really like Leander's idea.
Perhaps writers wanting a more constructive critique could ask for one in the forum? Nah, only kidding, blighters. I try to be constructive, especially to new writers, but as I'm still relatively new to this writing game my knowledge is somewhat limited, and my attempts at helping may be leading others down the wrong path. However, I have found that by putting in the hours reading and attempting to critique other works my writing has improved *greatly* over the eight months I've been here. I've also found seeking out critiques has helped me understand some of the basic errors beginners like myself make. Here's another link some may find interesting if they wish to improve their writing and understanding - http://curvynovels.tripod.com/Writing/SampleStory.htm *bloody adverbs
Leander I have commented on your work and hope you find my comments helpful. Very happy to do so again


I like this idea - but I'm not sure how it would be possible to see all of the comments and select one. It would be up to members to email me and flag them up and I'm not sure how long that would continue! Ralfalko - you will get more comments on your work if you comment on the work of others. Like most things in a community you tend to get back what you put in! I know that you have made a couple of comments but more are probably needed. I'll cogitate on this one but do continue this discussion if you can think of a good way that it can be practically put into place.
Well, couldn't you set up a new 'critique forum' where members post the title of their critiqued piece, then the original piece itself and, underneath, the crit received, followed by how they incorporated/used the crit to improve the piece, with an explanation as to why? It could get a good discussion going. Crit is a marvellous thing and, provided it's constructive, what every writer worth his/her salt needs. http://www.ukauthors.com
One sure fire way of improving ones own writing is to read and review the writing of others. Coincidentally this is one of the activities that underpins the constuctivist education approach to learning theories. Basically, that involves making personal meaning (of the subject at hand) by self directed efforts and then revising future efforts based on the outcomes. This happens every time we review others work. I was in a thread recently on some of the work by a newcomer (-Haley-) and offered this advice to her as a way for her to improve her own writing performance. I notice that he/she has started her/his first reviews and I feel confident that improvements will follow. For the record, I am in favour of strategies that encourage more comments and even more so for strategies that are intended to improve the quality of feedback. I must mention something though. When you see an "updated" prompt I assume that alterations to work have been made? This seems to happen very infrequently, is this because members don't revise work regardless of the reviews, or is it because of the dearth of the percieved quality of the reviews?



maisie angel Guess what?  I'm still alive!

sometimes if I really enjoy something I have to say so, but my comments are not at all constructive or helpful. I say things like, 'really enjoyed this, thanks for the read.' Is this sort of comment seen as pointless? I'm not one for waxing lyrical, and as there's a lot of room for improvement in my own writing I'd feel a bit pretentious to start 'critiquing' (is that a word?!) other peoples' work. Is it ok to just say I like something and leave it at that? And also, is my use of smiley faces (usually when on the receiving end of a compliment), frowned upon in a community designed to encourage eloquence?!


Lots of comments here about how reading and commenting on other folk's work helps to improve our own writing. And that's exactly the point. Reading and analysing the work of others really does make our own writing better - more so than a million positive comments. But so many are afraid of commenting honestly. But there's an easy fix here. If you want to make a negative (yet constructive comment) all you have to do is balance it with an honest positive comment. For example: "I love the imagery but I did find the last line of the poem a bit awkward. It didn't quite fit with the rest of the poem'. You don't have to mention everything you don't like. One thing is enough - just make sure there's a good positive comment in there. So it's a simple equation: POSITIVE OBSERVATION+ NEGATIVE OBSERVATION = CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENT. Simples.
I agree with Blighters Rock, you do have to be in the zone. If I've had a sh*t day at work I ain't in a positive mood for commenting on other peoples work - and being positive is key to giving a good critique.
Not everyone wants their work critiqued, and even fewer want to critique the work of others. So how about encouraging members who do want to participate, old and new, to form small critiquing groups based on genre or experience or anything else that tickles their fancy? If anyone interested adds their name to the list we could work out groups from there, give it a go for a week or two and then get feedback from those involved to see how it went. Of course, those who would like to pay to get work professionally critiqued can now do so by following this link - http://www.abctales.com/node/618190 As you can see, it's not cheap, so wouldn't it be good to learn how to do it properly?
gosh,, i often go no, no comment and go on to read another... it's got to mean something to me for me to work on a note thats more than .. lovely! i love this! etc got no money for that node....

maisie angel Guess what?  I'm still alive!

Flagged up by Neil Gaiman on twtr http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/projects/rissetto/offense.html Mark Twain offers a blistering, but reasonably accurate critique of Fenimore-Cooper. A few hints and tips for us all on writing technique. ...but...I hope we might be kinder to each other when offering our thoughts in response to others work!


len, that is a mighty fine link. Mark Twain would be great fun around these parts. He might upset a few with his honesty but I'm sure most would take it in good spirit in their willingness to learn.
Most likely they would say who the **** do you think you are Twain?
Not everyone wants their work critiqued, and even fewer want to critique the work of others. So how about encouraging members who do want to participate, old and new, to form small critiquing groups based on genre or experience or anything else that tickles their fancy? I was processing exactly this idea as I read the thread and then I came to oldpesky's comment. Great minds and all that but I do think this is a very good idea. A group of five or six with similar inclinations discussing one piece of writing a week could work quite well, especially as the writers become more familiar with one another.
Also, I have beeen wondering, if your work is not commented on what is the point of posting it?
Blighters is right. Persist and make your presence felt (in a nice way of course). It's a reciprocal thing. The more you comment on other people's work the more likely they are to comment on yours.
Good points Blighters & Chuck, contributors feel more relaxed if mirroring positive encouragement. It might be useful to consider a Workshop option among the category listings, which I note has recently included 'Rant'. This might give clear indication of a poster's submission status and need for helpful critique or editing? *Burbles off into the night....*


I think the problem with critiquing is that one person's constructive criticism can be another person's overbearing arrogance. I guess if everybody in the group understands the guidelines it could work. Otherwise it's a minefield, people arguing about semi-colons etc.....
I agree with sid, if I'm not comfortable with my own writing, then whet right do I have critiquing others. Many people would disregard my comment because of my young age anyway.
On the other hand 12yearoldwriter, you are in a unique position among us. Some of the writing here is aimed specifically at people of your age. So whilst we can critique the author's writing you can honestly comment on if you think your peers would read/enjoy it. Everyone can contribute to this site.
I agree with the person who wrote what is the point of posting work on the site if it gets no feedback. For my part I put my efforts up to get constructive criticism because I cannot get it from anywhere else. The other point I agree with is how the constructive criticism is given and this is where Leander 42 suggests a method which I think is very much like that which Open University tutors use. Positive observation + Negative Observation = Constructive comment. In other words, start on a positive and end on a positive. I do hope more people are willing to comment as I get very disappointed when I post something and see that it is being read but not commented on. For someone who is very unsure of the worth of their work this is very demoralizing and yes I do try to comment on as much as I can.
Been there Archie. had my wrist slapped by the OU for being 'unkind'. Since then I have a look at the person before I comment: check their profile, check their responses to previous comments and, on ABC, I check their track. If their track only has their own work listed the I give them a miss. I also give them a miss if I can't find out anything about them on the site. Profiles are useful - but empty profiles speak volumes.
Leander, what do you mean when you say 'can't find out anything about them on the site.'? Am I missing something that could help? Or is this the profile information bit? Thanks
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