For all you writers - whose critiques count?

@suspenseful (40316)
Canada
March 9, 2007 8:45am CST
I was having a discussion the other day with my friends about critiquing. I said I haven't put my novel out for critiquing because the ones who usually do are beginners and those whom I would rather critique, the published authors and those who have been writing for sometime, are usually too busy to critique anyone else's work let alone my own. They said that the reader who determines what the author is to write, so if readers don't like you writing about someone hitting someone over the head with a blunt object and describing all the blood or the cracked skull, you should only write about pink bunnies and little girls with brown curls. Get the picture? Now whose critique would you consider more valuable, that of a reader only, that of a beginning writer, or that of an expert?
3 people like this
13 responses
• Canada
10 Mar 07
All I care about is the target audience. I never care about movie reviews for the same reasons. Most professional critics have lost touch with what movies intend. They are always looking for a certain level of depth, and convincing acting, etc. Sometimes those things just plain don't matter as much in a specific movie. Books are much the same way. I think on a lesser scale though, but still, I don't care if every critic in the world hates it as long as their is a strong enough pocket of people who genuinely loved it. I ask people I have stuff in common with if a certain book or movie or whatever was good, I can read what somebody else said on the book jacket, I don't care. When I write stuff, it's the same thing, I read it to my friends and see what they think, because they are who I write for.
4 people like this
@nameerf (99)
• United States
9 Mar 07
I found a critique group over the Internet. We are all writers but we are also readers and we are all working in the same genre. I find that the few of us who are published and the ones who are not yet published look at the works differently and that all critiques are useful individually. Personally, I would get as many critiques as possible, but remember that you don't have to take everyone's advice only the advice that makes sense to your story.
3 people like this
@Kalachia (230)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I'd have to say that I love getting the critique of a reader more than anyone else, even an expert, cause even though just a plain reader can't spot things I need to change, they're the ones who are going to buy the book and keep it for their own, not make money off of something I want them to read for business purposes.
3 people like this
@laowai (137)
• United States
10 Mar 07
It doesn't matter whose critique you get, they're all helpful as long as they're constructive. I've had plenty of teachers who were practicing writers that gave terrible criticism. But sometimes it's the people who just enjoy reading a lot who can give some great advice. I say take it all and sort through it for the useful bits.
3 people like this
@xParanoiax (6999)
• United States
9 Mar 07
EVERYONE'S opinion on your work counts, from people who hate it from those who love it. Experienced, inexperienced, etc. Critique is NOT meant to make you change your style of writing or even the subject..it helps you improve what you're already working on, no more, no less. Say..someone hated what I write, and they tell me it's because . . my action scenes are too slow, then I speed them up -- not changing the content but merely the length of pages -- and the people who like the work notice and they say "Cool!" That;s just an example. Not an actual happening..that's basically how critique should work. Critique can also be something like advertizement..I've seen loads of authors post what others think on their websites, which sometimes urges people to buy and read their stuff.
3 people like this
@AnythngArt (3304)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I guess you have to start with the question, "why do you want your work critiqued?" If there is a part of the story that doesn't work right or some question about the way a character develops and you are looking for feedback, then I think you are onto something. When you are just putting it out there for generalized comments, and it's a work-in-progress, then you are going to get a hodge-podge of remarks that may or may not be helpful, and it doesn't even necessarily depend on who's making them. Critiques work best when you are trying to answer something specific; for example, I know that this scene doesn't work, but why? The value of critiques also depends on your own personality. If you are sensitive, and a hurtful remark will set you back days in your work, is it truly helpful? You need to figure out the best way to get the information that will help you most in your writing.
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
9 Apr 07
Usually it has to do with something scientific or something I limited knowledge on and that is the best critique I got. I also wonder why I should get my work critique if it was from those who just wanted a quick read and wanted their own ideas written in your story. I first wanted to learn if a sentence structure worked, if the character sounded his age, etc. but what I mainly get was stuff from readers who wanted the novel to be an easy read, and a few good critiques from the experts in their field.
@TinWolf (184)
• United States
9 Mar 07
With all due respect to you, but not strictly to the post you mention, ones best critic is likely themselves, given that they have the skills, and passion for what they want to express. Certainly in large measure being judged isn't what I most enjoy but to have a well known writer critique a piece might be insightful? The real issue however is with how a piece is globally accepted. Some of the worst reviews have sold in the 6 figure range,,, if that was the intent anyway. Perhaps even more importantly, for a writer, is to find a genre they fit into, feel comfort in, have knowledge about, and a passion to relate to and involve others. Pink Bunnies or a tale of the Holocaust are less important. The target market/audience is however. I am curious though, as to why you feel you have to be critiqued? Certainly as a passion, one should write for themselves. If others GET IT that's like icing on an already delicious cake. With no offense to you, I've never written to create, build or sale an ego. If I depended on, or stressed over what others think, I'd probably have taken auto mechanics training. Beyond that it's all just opinions and admiitedly critics do, sadly drive so much of our society and economy, but their opinion is no more or less valid than mine
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Mar 07
I haven't sent my work out for critique for a while, but when I did, I found the suggestions such as put my character in ever greater danger, would have resulted in him, ah, getting killed and the story ending sooner. I also I found that some referred to my story with their emotions, and gave suggestions that would have taken the story to a different path. It's just that I did not go to college or university or taken a writing course (mostly broke) and I always thought critiques were supposed to be interested in your sentence structure, and how you would complete your story, not to change it to fit them.
@patgalca (14395)
• Orangeville, Ontario
9 Mar 07
I am a member of a writing group in my town. We all write different genres. But one of the guidelines of the group is positive feedback only. However, some of us took a workshop on short story writing. The "teacher" was a published author. She made it a hands-on experience where we all contributed ideas to each others stories and found it very helpful. It was interesting to hear other people's ideas of how they think the story should be written - for example, what kind of a twist should be thrown in at the end. I have also submitted the first 15 pages of my current novel in progress to an award winning author for personal one-on-one critique. We met and he gave me his advice. I thought on it long and hard and I only took one piece of his advice, the rest I kept as I wrote it because I did not necessarily agree with his thoughts. I wrote it the way I did for a reason. In the end it is your baby and people can give you feedback, ideas, criticism, and you can take it all into consideration. But it is your story, coming from your heart and you can only write what you feel is right. So take the criticism from anyone who has something to say and weigh the pros and cons of what they have to say - then do it the way you want.
2 people like this
@Transformed (1262)
• United States
9 Mar 07
I'd recommend taking a creative writing course with an instructor with expertise in the field. Also, I'd recommend true experts and close friends(because close friends will always tell you the truth). Don't use too many acquaintances and get some people from your intended market. Ex.) If writing a young adult novel, get a younger cousin going through puberty(if you can get their attention that long) to read.
2 people like this
• Philippines
10 Mar 07
I think each one (reader, newbie writer, and an expert) would have something valuable to say about a certain novel. A reader can tell you which parts of a novel is anti climatic, boring, or unbelievable. An expert writer would be able to tell you if your novel is marketable or not. A newbie writer can critique on your grammar, etc. as they are the ones more sensitive to grammar errors.
1 person likes this
@mjgarcia (725)
• United States
10 Mar 07
I would consider an expert's critique the most valuable. BUT I know that it would be something that wouldn't happen often. I used to belong to a writer's critique group, where there were varying degrees of skill. We would critique each other's work. Even the beginner's saw and mentioned very worthwhile things. Also the more you critique, the more you can see in your own work. But the idea with this sort of group is that we all worked to grow together. We didn't just show our work to anyone and everyone. By working together, we learned each other's styles and had an idea of what we were each trying to accomplish. We learned to give and accept not only what wasn't working, but also we pointed out what was working. I've belonged to two different groups like that and learned a lot. We worked together for over a year in each group. From the first group, I have an autographed novel written by one of the members. Several of the others went into ebooks and have become published. I have one friend that that is a reader only that I use for continuity. She points out any holes that she sees. But she sees my work when I think that I'm almost done and I want to know how a reader will see it.
@agusfebi (813)
• Indonesia
10 Mar 07
Possibly when in considered from myself was personal I was better chose the writer. Because of the writer he drained his thoughts for the sake of something that would he for, whether that poetry or only related the normal story. It was quite fake fake that him appeared more ,because the reader then always made use of time to read and an expert also always helped what must he helped.
@ESKARENA1 (18299)
10 Mar 07
For me, writing is an art and critics have no right to judge it. As long as im happy with it i really dont consider it anyone elses business. Sure i like it isf they want to read it, but i really dont care for their opinions. Im mean, if i wanted their opinion i would give it to them. I always feel that everyone has the right to remain stupid and that anything they say can, and will be ignored. Blessed be