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A Few Guidelines to Constructive Criticism:

1. Look over the piece carefully, make sure you understand the purpose of the writing, and have carefully covered the writer's needs, and ways they can improve.

2. Begin with a positive statement. Each piece of writing has a strong point, be it structure, characters, wording, or simply a good idea.

3. Be honest and open about your criticism. Remember that you cannot give useful criticism if you are holding back in concern for the writer's feelings.

4. When giving constructive criticism, try not to direct your statements at the writer. Instead of saying "Your characters were pretty pathetic. You didn't make them seem real to me at all." say "The character's seemed weak, they didn't seem believable enough." -then elaborate on why.

5. Make sure to inform the writer that these views are merely your opinion and not the views of everyone who reads it-nor do you believe them to be.

5a. Try to be as objective as possible. Do not let bias judgement get the better of what you are trying to do which is ultimately to help the writer.

For example, if you're one of those people who can't stand religion in writing, do not tell the person that their story sucks simply based on the fact that it talks about religion, or magic, or politics, or mint chocolate chip flavored ice-cream, or any of those other controversial themes. Understand? Good.

6. Make sure to cover all of your primary concerns, accordingly. Some things, as you (hopefully) know, are more important (to you) in writing than others. For me, the main points of concern would be spelling, grammar, capitalization and punctuation, wording, and of course, whether or not the point of the piece was accurately expressed.

7. Do not make generalizations about a piece of writing. When giving a writer advice on how they can improve, make sure to be as specific as possible. Do not say “The sentence structure is weak.” This is of little help to the writer, and does not tell them how they may improve their writing.

8. Be diplomatic when giving criticism. Say things like “Possibly” and “perhaps” rather than “should be” and “needs to be”. Do not tell the writer that things have to be a certain way-it is not your job to tell them how they should write, especially not simply to fit your tastes. Instead, tell them it might come off better that way, or it could make it seem more interesting. Not it WILL make it seem more interesting.

9. Try not to be overgenerous with your praise. For every nice thing you say, make sure you tell them something-if not more than one something- that is wrong and may be improved. Avoid lavishing the author with senseless praise.
This will undoubtedly over-inflate their heads, and they will most likely get the idea that their writing is perfect. This is a hard truth but nobody’s writing is perfect. And there is ALWAYS something to be improved. Saying “OMG! ThiS IZ TEH BESTEST THING I EV4 READ! I LUV IT!” is in no way helpful. In fact, it’s rather idiotic. Especially if you type like that...

10. Plan things out before you type them. Do not jump in headfirst just to hit the enter button and realize you forgot something vital. THINK BEFORE YOU POST! First impressions are important. If you say something about a person’s piece in a complete “I’m an *@@($@” sort of way, the odds of anything you say actually being considered AFTERWARDS are pretty slim.

11. Also, remember organization. Everything is organized. You room, your writing, your desk where you do your writing...everything. And like everything, your comments should be just as organized and well thought out.

Not like this whole post...because I am open about my inability to organize things.

And honestly, that’s all I can think of at the moment. If you think of more feel free to add them.




Now just for the heck of it: A Few Guidelines on Receiving Constructive Criticism:

1. Maintain an open mind. Do not automatically take offense of the first thing they tell you. Especially if they ignored the organizing rules and decided to shove a negative part of your writing in your face. Maintain a calm and open demeanor. LISTEN to what they are telling you. They are trying to help.

2. Do not ask for Criticism if you cannot handle it. While it does not hurt the Critic to be nice, a lot of people can be downright open and mean about everything. Don’t run off crying to your mommy about it. instead, expect that it will happen. Be patient and understanding.

3. Do not take everything a critic says to heart. Especially not the view of one person. Not everyone knows what they’re talking about, even if they have an over-inflated ego and think they do.

3a. Be able to recognize the different between constructive criticism, and destructive criticism. Constructive is intended to help you improve your writing, and give you a little more confidence-though hopefully not too much-while destructive criticism is written usually with the sole purpose of berating you to the point you think you’re a worthless piece of garbage, and want to curl up in a hole and die-after you burn all of your notebooks...

4. We all know criticism is hard to take. Sometimes it makes us want to cry, because you know, we all thought our piece of writing was the best thing ever created because we made it and we worked really, really hard on it-well not all of us...I happen to think everything I write is less than good right from the get-go but still...-but, you must step back, and look at your writing again. Take the time to digest all that was said to you.

Look over it. Read through it. Make sure you understand to the fullest extent the critic’s view, and if you feel it necessary, do your best to improve upon what they have said.

Not everything people say is a personal attack on you. Believe me, most people have better things to do than take time out of their day, to read your writing (or god-forbid pretend to) just so that they can flame you. And if they don’t...well they seriously need to get a life. All those who critic you, are trying to HELP.

Help. Help. Help. Help. He-lp! H e l p. HELP!

And one last thing, approach other’s criticism with a positive attitude. If you receive a critic, know that the person did not intend to hurt your feelings. ...Even if that’s what they did.

Now just for the hell of it, I am going to share with you the thing that set off this little rant of mine:



Quote:
One-Hundred Word HP Drabble: Pairing HarryxDraco

It was raining.
Drip. Drip.
Raining.
Draco stood half-frozen in a T-shirt and jeans, on the doorstep of Harry’s apartment.
Waiting. Waiting with a white candle in his hands.
Numb, numb, hands.
And sometimes the flame would flicker in the wind.
Whoosh! Flicker. Flicker. And Draco held it closer. Safe. Protected.
And he waited. Waited until he couldn’t feel the cold, or the rain.
Or the wax from the candle slowly draining down his arms. Burning them.
And then the door opened slowly, warming him.
But it was nothing compared to Harry’s smile, when he finally blew out the candle.

Author Notes: In the wiccan tradition (or at least the one I'm from) it is tradition for a person to light a white candle for the one they love and are meant to be with. It is also tradition for that person to be the one to blow it out, no matter what the consequences.



Quote:
Review: god says people arent meant to be gay. it's gross. freak. and there were too many
periods/full stops and it was short and kind of meaningless. sorry. Nice idea
about the white candles though.


What the hell was that? Not criticism that's what. People like this, piss me off beyond all belief because they...are morons-in my opinion.
.
And yes, I wrote this piece of junk. And no, I don't care if you thinks it is wrong for people to be gay, or that I totally mutilated the characters (I probably did), but being a complete jerk about it and calling someone a freak, is not the way to deal with your issues.

Also, people who say "It's nice!" piss me off even more. What the frakk is "It's nice"? What does that even MEAN? What's nice?

And before you start griping at me that I'm whining about the fact that someone degraded my story (which I am just a little) it isn't just MY story. It's a lot of people's. I've seen this happen to countless friends, and complete strangers. And I. Hate. It.

So I wrote this with the interest of helping people out (because I at least can cop to my mistakes and know that people have their own opinions and that those are not my opinions) in their giving and recieving constructive criticism.

Now feel free to post more. Or complain. Or whatever... *storms off in a semi-rage*
I like it. Sadly, more people on here rather talk about how everyone needs to accept their criticism or how bad critiques are. Most posts, like yours, that make very good points are overlooked. stare I wished one of these posts will be sticked. xd
3nodding Same here, this kind of thing shoudl be stickied.

My only request for your post is you place a bigger gap between Giving and Recieving. I almost didn't realize I'd moved onto recieving until I saw the numbe rone again. sweatdrop

But this is a great descriptions of both aspects and I really think more peopel should read it before they even try to post anything.
sometimes,one has to critique based on the stories influence,conflicts between characters,realism(unless it's a fantasy or something)and ofcource interestism. rofl
I don't quite understand what you mean Larisaa. The thread is about Constructive criticism, plus rant. What you mentioned can all be included under constructive criticism one way or the other.

Clarify for me maybe?
Larisaa
sometimes,one has to critique based on the stories influence,conflicts between characters,realism(unless it's a fantasy or something)and ofcource interestism. rofl


Yes yes, that's true as well. And i've just realized another thing.

Number 12 on the Giving Constructive Criticism List: In order to be a good critic you must recognize and be open about your own flaws in writing. How are you supposed to recognize everyone elses flaws, if you are in denial about your own?
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Hikari_Riku
...
4. When giving constructive criticism, try not to direct your statements at the writer. Instead of saying "Your characters were pretty pathetic. You didn't make them seem real to me at all." say "The character's seemed weak, they didn't seem believable enough." -then elaborate on why.


I feel this is important to stress. I've seen authors storm out of workshops because a character in a horror they'd written had mercilessly killed someone and two people kept starting statements, "when you killed that toddler in a fit of rage..." or something similar. Please remember not all of characters actions are an extension of their creator.
Gabe-Blaze
Hikari_Riku
...
4. When giving constructive criticism, try not to direct your statements at the writer. Instead of saying "Your characters were pretty pathetic. You didn't make them seem real to me at all." say "The character's seemed weak, they didn't seem believable enough." -then elaborate on why.


I feel this is important to stress. I've seen authors storm out of workshops because a character in a horror they'd written had mercilessly killed someone and two people kept starting statements, "when you killed that toddler in a fit of rage..." or something similar. Please remember not all of characters actions are an extension of their creator.


Yup. ^^ I totally agree with you there.
Thanks for posting this. Everything you said makes perfect sense, and it needs to be addressed.

Honestly, I get so annoyed with people who ask for help on their stories, then yell at everyone who tries to help them. And I HATE people who read things they know they don't, or won't like--or maybe they don't even read them--just so they can yell at the author. That always pisses me off.

Nice criticism is important. There are many writers here on Gaia with a talent for writing, and, even though they're all good, they all need criticism every once and a while. I just wish people could critique nicely, instead of writing two word responses or mean flames.

And, I would really like to tell you that even though I don't read/watch HP, I totally liked your drabble. And being gay has nothing to do with your writing. So why someone would critique about something they probably knew before they even read it, I don't understand.

I really liked the "Safe. Protected." part, and how you ended it, but the reviewer was partially right in the fact that there were a lot of one word sentences. To be totally honest, I use one word sentences all the time, and they're perfectly acceptable. It's just...you have to do it in such a way that it adds to the writing, not takes away from it.

"It was raining. Drip. Drip." described the rain, so it made sense. But writing "Raining" after it only reiterates the above sentences, and tells the reader nothing.

On an end note to this, I like to say that I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on constructive criticism, and that I hope you understand what I meant when I said what I said.
THANK YOU for making this post. So many people out there have no idea how to give criticism or take it.

I like the sentence structure in your story. It interests me more with the shortened sentences.
The person criticing your story didn't seam to be paying attention to the author's note. Wiccan certainly seams like a different religion from Christian so why would it be following the Bible?


I wrote a beginning of a story and a response was: A 16 year old girl, forced into a marriage she doesn't like, and runs away using knotted bed sheets. Sorry, but that sounds a bit cliche to me. I'm thinking, "Um, okay. Thanks... I think."

Then, right after that, I got: Seconded. I, personally, am a little sick of any "forced marriage" story that is so cliched. The girl is always against it. She's always way too modern and can think for herself and wants to marry for love. Honey, many cultures have arranged marriages (past and modern), and not every single woman is against it. There is an honor in the family that the marriage brings. My thought: I know everything you just told me. And before I posted the story I asked for constructive criticism. How does this help me? None what so fricken ever! Could this be consisder flaming?? People, such as described have a certain tendencey to really piss me off. Does any one else agree with me or am I too, um, i don't know, sensitive?
Wow, was that critique example about god hating gays a true story? That makes me sad. emo
*subscribes* My name is Glaedr, and I support this thread's candidacy for stickydom.
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I don't give positive things unless there's something positive to point out. Sorry. You write 'My big fish cat green' and I'm not giving you a positive.

You write an essay on how women should be slaves and I'm not going 'Good grasp of grammar'
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One issue I find with people giving other constructive(?) criticism, they tell the writer what's wrong with the story but don't tell them how to improve. Such as, one person posted a description for their story. The princess MC had all these powers (I think she had the ability to shapeshift into a bunch of things, talk to animals, control all the elements, fly, read minds, telepathy, stuff with witchcraft, etc. It was a lot, though) and had to get to her castle or something to save the kingdom from her corrupt sister or whatever. Anyway, several people just told her that her character was a "Mary Sue" and didn't give advice on how to change that. Some people did come in and actually gave her helpful advice on how they should change the character and why. (example, they suggested to take away most of her powers, because a character so powerful would be able to finish her mission far too quickly and easily to really be interesting)
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marshmallowcreampie
One issue I find with people giving other constructive(?) criticism, they tell the writer what's wrong with the story but don't tell them how to improve. Such as, one person posted a description for their story. The princess MC had all these powers (I think she had the ability to shapeshift into a bunch of things, talk to animals, control all the elements, fly, read minds, telepathy, stuff with witchcraft, etc. It was a lot, though) and had to get to her castle or something to save the kingdom from her corrupt sister or whatever. Anyway, several people just told her that her character was a "Mary Sue" and didn't give advice on how to change that. Some people did come in and actually gave her helpful advice on how they should change the character and why. (example, they suggested to take away most of her powers, because a character so powerful would be able to finish her mission far too quickly and easily to really be interesting)


I do this intentionally, but only in the first few posts. If the OP goes 'Got suggestions"' or the like, I'll post all I got. But if they can't get past 'too many powers' then I don't feel I can move forward onto helping.

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