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June 4, 2013
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Critique is a Dialogue

Tue Jun 4, 2013, 12:00 AM
Communication is a collaborative effort.

Students and teachers, doctors and patients, the UN and member states—no matter how different the backgrounds are, no matter the gap in experience or who's leading the conversation, it's important for communication to succeed. And the only way to do that is by making sure there's always room for a dialogue.

Dialogue: two sides having a conversation together.



Based on the literature community chat we had not too long ago, critique seems to be desirable. This blog is a response to the fact that a number of people mentioned dissatisfaction with a) how much critique they're getting, and/or b) responses to critiques they're providing.

This is about critiquing people you don't know, and who didn't request a Serious Business Full-Length Critique. :slow:


welcoming critique: For Authors

  • Give critiquers a starting point. Do you know you're weak at dialogue? Are you looking for ways to make X more sympathetic? These are all things you can mention in the Artists' Comments.
  • If you don't like asking questions, consider statements. 'I want this piece to make you feel like your soul got used as an ashtray.' (Okay, not that vague. You're not going for Mysterious Artiste With A Fridge of Corpses here.)
  • I sometimes see authors go 'yeah I know that's a problem already.' Critiquers cannot read your mind. If you know there's an issue, say so. If you want help fixing it, say so. If it's already on your to-do list, say so.
  • REMEMBER TO ASK FOR CRITIQUE. How else will we know you want it?


starting Critique: For Critiquers

  • Poke the author's profile. It's good to learn if the author a) knows their subject and b) is experienced, intermediate, or newbtastic. I wouldn't tell someone writing their first story ever to explore the dichotomy of thematic shindigs, for instance. (Yes, 'shindigs' is a valid technical term. Shh.)
  • KISS. Keep it simple, stupid! During the chat, a bunch of people said they find really long critique overwhelming.
  • Leave out details. Why? Because we don't know what the author wants. Especially for unedited stuff, general impressions suffice. Also, that above thing.
  • Make it welcoming/subjective. Consider 'I found the ending lacking' versus 'That ending is terrible.' It's up to the author to ask why. But in the first case, the author has to ask you why you found it lacking. Also, the latter causes sadness.
  • NOTE: the author has the right to not go further. I made this poll expecting people to be like 'what the fuck does this mean, neuro?' but even when they didn't, I'd lost 30 seconds max, so...like, whatever?
  • Ask questions! Don't get something? It can be about the piece, it can be 'do you want a proofread/critique.' Ask, unlike assume, doesn't have an ass in it. So ASK.
  • Don't suggest changes...yet. Especially if you're new to critiquing or you've never edited someone else's work, this leads into imposing your style on them.

responding to critique: for authors

  • Be gracious. Assume good intentions. Can we stop wasting time on the 1% of commenters who are trolling and focus on people who've taken the time to leave you feedback? Seriously. Smile, nod, and thank them.
  • Reason over emotionality! If you're genuinely hurt, you need to take a deep breath and remember that you are not your artwork and needing to practice more doesn't make you a failure as a human being.
  • Yes, you can come back to it later. (I suck at responding to critiques in a timely fashion. No one has eaten my face yet.)
  • Ask questions! Don't get something? It can be about their impressions of the piece, it can even be 'what would you replace that line/setting/character with.' Ask, unlike assume, doesn't have an ass in it. So ASK.
  • Don't be defensive. This hopefully follows from that first point. If you don't agree with the direction they've suggested, you can either close with 'I'll think about it' (which you should—think about it) or explain why you didn't go that way and see if that clarifies your decision.


what's next? for everyone

  • The cool thing about that 'Reply' button is you don't have to hit it right away. If you know you just wrote an emotional response, take fifteen, look at something hot, and then come back and revise your comment.
  • Keeping in mind that the other person isn't you, do your words make sense without Extra Special Context Cues? Are you using a special friendly definition of 'utter tripe' that only you are familiar with?
  • PAY IT FORWARD. PAY IT FORWARD. PAY IT FORWARD. Authors, I'm looking at you. Critique doesn't grow on fucking trees (or the normal kind). I get that you might have nothing to say to the person who critiqued you, but dig through your inbox and make someone's day a little better.

  • By the third or fourth reply y'all should be having a conversation. If you're not...back to the drawing board for me. Also, brush up your people skills.
  • Ideally, critique will start off somewhat professional and transition into something more casual. Don't be afraid to make friends.




Skin by Nobody
Realistically, this could all be one line, which is you have to want to have a conversation.

Do you know how many shirtless pictures of Brad Pitt I had to wade through to find these GIFs on Tumblr? And don't get me started on all the random Fight Club scenes....

Oh, that puddle on the floor? That's tears. Yeeeees. So sad.

:star: This is all based on my personal experience. You aren't me, so it may not be 100% for you. :star:

Anyway, feel free to chip in with what works for you. I've never had to deal with people losing their shit on a critique, so there's definitely gaps in my experience. (The worst I've had, if you can even call it that, is someone politely disagreeing with what I wanted from their piece. Okay, the end. Critiquers have to walk away from things, too.)

And don't forget to :+fav: and share!
Add a Comment:
 
:icondanielleivanova:
DanielleIvanova Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Fight Club references! :love: 
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
:giggle:
Reply
:iconevil0verlady:
evil0verlady Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Could you do something about the flashing pictures? It makes it very hard to read. :(
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry about that! I've dropped in a still instead, is that better, or did you also mean the other images?
Reply
:iconsnowjoe72:
snowjoe72 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
I like how you were being funny in some part to better explain things. I've always thought that jokes make otherwise boring things you still need to know easier to understand and pay attention to. That is why most of what I know about politics is based on what I hear while watching The Colbert Report! XD (seriously though... I don't know much about all the political stuff, I'm just in it for the jokes he makes.)
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:nod: It's a good way to get educated!
Reply
:iconsnowjoe72:
snowjoe72 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2013
I agree! :)
Reply
:iconstarija:
Starija Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Student Writer
in this part 
  • NOTE: the author has the right to not go further. I made this poll expecting people to be like 'what the fuck does this mean, neuro?' but even when they didn't, I'd lost 30 seconds max, so...like, whatever?
does the 30 seconds mean you lost 30 seconds making the poll?? /was a little confused
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Sorry ^^; yeah, I mean it only took about 30 seconds to make the poll. No big deal. :B
Reply
:iconstarija:
Starija Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Student Writer
lol oh okay! by the way, this was interesting to read~ i enjoy the stuff you write. 8D
Reply
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