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I am a book blogger.

Since not everyone is familiar with the term, I'll go ahead and lay it out for you. I read, analyze, and write about books. I give my opinion on characters, setting, genre, style, and sometimes even covers. I say what works, what doesn't, and what I'd like to see.

In short, I criticize.

Back - back foul demon! Burn the witch! Don't come anywhere near me!

Yeah, I know you're all thinking it. What gives me the right to rifle through someone's hard work and put its flaws on display? Who do I think I am, slandering authors with false interpretations and quotes made out of context?

I'm a writer.

Yeah, of nothing but muck and lies.

No, no, I mean I write my own fiction. Or at least I did.

What, couldn't take some of your own medicine?

Yes and no.

Huh?

Like most writers, I crave exposure. I want my work out there, read by the masses and enjoyed. DeviantArt, my blog, they're both small outlets where my writing can be seen.

But, as most writers have discovered, exposure can be a double-edged sword. With the good results (loved it! you're great!) come the bad (wow, this is horrible! use spell check next time!). These one sentence wonders are usually good for a 2-minute burst of joy/anguish, then are forgotten.

Moving past these frivolous 'reviews', we move into the longer, more thought-out comments that every writer craves. Unfortunately, you can still get long, eloquent descriptions of how you stink. Case in point, here's a comment on one of my pieces I'd written for class, revised for a challenge, and posted on DA:
I don't want to spend more time in a character's head than necessary; pathos is something to be avoided anyhow, not embraced.

Might I also point out that simply re-writing a story to increase the potency of the effect it already has does not qualify as a revision.

And I don't want to know a character that's going to be murdered a page or two away. I mean, yeah, there's some clumsy writing and some of the detail selection is careless and awkward, but to taunt the reader with a character and then to kill them off is some nerve. I mean, a lot of the breadth here could be summed up in a few good, short, strong paragraphs instead of the engrossing play-by-play the reader is treated to. That way we're not bored and ready to quit by the time the male thief is murdered and don't feel irked with the writer for essentially misleading us and thus wasting our time by teasing us with the eccentricities of a thief we never get to fully explore.

Bottom (yet superfluous) line: Tricking the reader is a cardinal sin, and allowing the reader enough rope to hang themselves with is just plain carelessness--its not much better, but it is excusable, and I think that's the case here. If the story is about the female thief, which it appears to be, then for Heaven's sakes -don't- have the male thief be the object of third-person limited! Don't even use third-person limited at all! Such a beginning requires the use of the omniscient narrator, that way a switch between subjects/people occurs without a second thought, and the narrator is allowed to keep distance between characters the reader isn't supposed to bond with.

Yours Sincerely, [name redacted]
Ouch.

Out of all of the critiques I received (10 plus replies), his by far hit me the hardest. It was actually hard enough that I wrote a scathing reply about how nothing said was constructive and he stunk as a reviewer. Not quite in that language, but that was the gist. I was hurt and I didn't care who knew.

That's right, I've been there.

So why the hell would you do that to us/other writers?

I'm not finished.

There are also critiques that are actually helpful, more along the lines of, "I liked this, but I didn't understand that," or, "I think you need to work on your dialog tags it feels choppy when you use he said she said over and over again," or, "I wish there was a bit more buildup to the kiss - I didn't feel it was believable quite yet." These offer that blessed balance of good and bad that gives the writer encouragement, while still pointing out their weak spots.

This is the kind of critique I try to give every time I write. "I really liked ___, it made this a joy to read. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling ____ which was kinda distracting. But on the whole, I think you have a great plot/character/style and I hope to see more from you in the future."

Well, that's not so bad...

Right?

But what about stuff that's already finished and published? They can't go back and fix what you catch! You're attacking defenseless authors & books at that point.

Firstly, I'm flattered that you think best-selling authors are reading or feeling the backlash of my reviews. And even those independent authors are tougher than you think.

Secondly, I treat my reviews just like I do my critiques. I try my hardest to present the good with the bad. And if that fails, I emphasize emphatically that I'm stating an opinion which is solely my own and may in all likeliness differ for other people.

Yeah right.

Okay, here's an example I handled just today. Over the course of two days I read Crushed by K.C. Blake, an independently published book that she sent me for review. I didn't like it.

I never connected with the main characters, I noticed a couple continuity errors, and I thought there needed to be a lot more polishing overall. I also had a personal issue with the way the main character handled one situation. And I wrote as much in my review.

At the end of my reviews, I always have an Overall & Recommendation section in which I summarize my feelings and generalize who I think would enjoy that book. Here was my final summary for Crushed:
Overall, I was disappointed with Crushed. I thought the story concept was interesting, the mystery surrounding the villain was engaging, but the main characters and writing left me wanting to get it over with. I'd recommend it to those who like YA Paranormal-Romance, but are tired of the vampires and werewolves ruling the scene. Sex, language, and violence are negligible, so I'd say it's appropriate for the middle-school crowd as well as high-schoolers.

Though not my favorite book, Crushed was an engaging introduction into a world of powerful witches, a world I would like to visit again. The second installment, Witch Hunt, features a brand new cast coming into their own trials and triumphs. And while I wasn't too enthused about this particular game, it gave me enough that I may just try my hand at the next one.

Approximate Reading Time: 5.5 hours
I posted the full review on my blog, GoodReads, and DA, plus the final paragraph alone on Smashwords (where she'd originally uploaded it). My GoodReads and Smashwords reviews also received 2-star ratings.

Ouch.

Yeah, I know.

I don't know what made me dislike Crushed so much, but I did. Maybe it was having just read an amazing professionally-published book just before it. Maybe I wanted to read the next book on my list too much. Maybe it was never connecting with the main character. Or maybe I was just in a pissy mood.

To make me feel even worse, it seemed like absolutely everyone else who'd read it (and reviewed) rated it at 4 or 5 stars. What was my problem?

What was your problem?

I don't know. But I wasn't going to lie about it. I wasn't going to suddenly say, "Wait guys, just kidding, I loved it!" Cause I really didn't. But I felt like I needed to fix my review...so I did:
Overall, I was disappointed with Crushed. I thought the story concept was interesting, the mystery surrounding the villain was engaging, but the main characters and writing left me wanting to get it over with. Sex, language, and violence are negligible, so I'd say it's appropriate for the middle-school crowd as well as high-schoolers. While Crushed and I had our differences, I think it could make an enjoyable read for those who like YA Paranormal-Romance, but are tired of the vampires and werewolves ruling the scene.

Approximate Reading Time: 5.5 hours

P.S.
Though not my favorite book, Crushed was an engaging introduction into a world of powerful witches, a world I'd like to visit again. The second installment, Witch Hunt, features a brand new cast coming into their own trials and triumphs. And from the sample I've downloaded from Amazon, I'm already looking forward to reading more.
So you see, I do try to promote the book I read, even if I wasn't too thrilled myself.

But why do it in the first place? What makes you so great?

Honestly? Nothing. I just enjoy reading and writing about what I read.

And why I do it? Well, in theory, I'd love my reviews to spark conversations. I kinda miss the book-fueled conversations we'd have in school, even if they were assigned reads. And even outside of school, I met some great friends while bonding over Harry Potter. By sharing what I read, I'd love if my work somehow facilitated a bond like what I have with my friends.

I'd also love if my reviews prompted someone to read and enjoy a book they'd otherwise not have read. When I was in school, we were forced to read so many depressing books. One year we even had the theme "Man's Inhumanity Towards Man", for which we read A Farewell to Arms, Of Mice and Men, Night, and The Crucible one right after the other. I remember thinking to myself, "No wonder some people hate reading! If this is all they're ever made to read, I'd hate reading, too."

So I'd like to think I'm doing my small part in promoting good literature. I may not reach thousands, or even hundreds of people, but I'm doing what I love.

And if, in the process, I step on some toes or ruffle some feathers, I'm sorry. I always try to be as polite and tactful as I can be, but in the end I'm not going to stifle my opinion. If someone has a problem with what or how I write, please critique me!

And that's why I critique and review. We good?
Written for :iconfighttowrite: #FightToWrite's prompt, Criticism. I know most people interpreted it as unnecessary judging, but I decided to take it another direction.

I'd really appreciate any and all comments. Love, hate, agree or disagree - I'd like to know!

If you're interested in reading any of my book reviews, check out my Book Review Gallery or my blog, The Wolf's Den.

Update 10/17/12
THANK YOU for the DD and all the wonderful responses! It really means a lot.

Also, since I posted this on my blog I've received a comment from the author of Crushed, the work I mentioned my review:
I agree with the above post. You are entitled to your opinion and should be able to say what you want about a book. I'm sorry you didn't like Crushed. Since reading your review (and a few others) I have edited the book again. The good thing about publishing ebooks is that an author can make changes. I actually had an agent for this book. Stephanie was with Trident Media Group. She never once said there were any problems with the book and never asked me to edit it. But that's just an excuse. I should have done a better job on it.

It is hard sometimes to hear bad things about my books, but some of the reviews are very helpful. They help me to know what I need to work on in my writing. I used to write for Harlequin and had a team of editors. Funny thing is that if you go back and read my first book with them, there were a few typos. It's hard to catch everything even for a professional. But I will try harder. Readers are important to me. I want them to enjoy the book, not to be annoyed by all the typos. As for the lesbian thing, I was afraid I would offend some people, but my agent couldn't think of another way for Kristen to get so mad that she would grab onto Zach. Anyway, you've got a great blog. :)
I haven't yet read the re-write, but am humbled to know my (and others') thoughts made a difference - even in a published work!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-10-13
Critic vs Writer: A Conversation of Reconciliation by ~StormyWolf opens up a dialogue both critics and writers have an interest in, and does so in an easily readable voice. ( Featured by neurotype )
:iconwilson-writings:
Wilson-Writings Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
As a writer myself, I see what you're saying. Criticism can be a difficult thing to deal with, but if written right, it can also be a hint on what can be improved on. After all, the goal of every writer is to improve so that we can create more enjoyable stories. I myself am constantly practicing, as I believe all writers should. You seem like a hardened critic who isn't one to sugar-coat anything, which is good. You make very good points, and I might like to have you critique some of my writing someday. When I get a bit of a thicker skin, that is XD
Reply
:iconnononolittlejimmy:
nononoLittleJimmy Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I was a little hesitant to read something this long (I have a REALLY short attention span), but it ended up being a pretty fun read.
Good job :thumbsup:
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I know what you mean. Even while writing reviews, which I'm very engaged in, I often have to take breaks to check e-mail, dA, read a comic, watch a video, or engage in some other distraction. Heck, seeing that I had 27 comments on this one piece nearly made my head explode. But thanks for reading and responding ;)
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:iconnononolittlejimmy:
nononoLittleJimmy Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, np :)
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:iconwhipping-b0y:
WhIppIng-b0y Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2012
I command that you read and review all that I have that I have written and put on my account...................which is nothing, so you failed before you even started...or did you succeed without beginning? O.o

Very nice read, very thought provoking.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I think I've succeeded ;) Thanks for taking the time to read it.
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:iconwhipping-b0y:
WhIppIng-b0y Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2012
welcome
XD
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:iconmusicalslave:
MusicalSlave Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012
I think that if you build up a character and really get your audience to like him/her, then kill him/her off, it'll make the reader really happy to see the villain defeated.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Hmm...I hadn't thought of it that way. Pretty obvious now, though at the time I was actually writing mainly in the thoughts of the villain. Still, I can definitely see how one would feel cheated to invest their sympathies into a character only to have that character done away with as soon as a new one came into scene. Sort of a - ooh, shiny! kind of tease. Killing off a character is probably better for the secondary, rather than the narrator ;)
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:iconhealing-touch:
Healing-Touch Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This sounds quite a bit like a journal I wrote months past on artistic critique. XD Overall, well done. This quite deserved the DD.
Reply
:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Just finished reading your journal - very insightful! I definitely agree with all of the points, even if I still struggle to execute some (darn you sandwich!). Thank you for the read and support :)
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:iconhealing-touch:
Healing-Touch Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for reading it.
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:iconladyplf:
ladyplf Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012
I am of the opinion that reviews don't matter at all. I used to love leaving reviews of books I'd read on Amazon and sometimes I'd be really negative about them. In fact it was more fun leaving the negative reviews than positive ones. I would always read the negative reviews first too, I figure if the worst somebody could say about a book was something minor or something that I actually like to read about, then it must be an ok book.
The point is, one day I decided to read all my old reviews and I discovered that some of the books that I hated, I remember more fondly now. And I also realized that I've changed as a reader; the themes and genres that I liked 10 or 15 years ago are things that I'd never read or enjoy today. So those reviews mean absolutely nothing now. They are just an opinion of someone who was at a certain state of mind at a certain time who didn't relate to the story they were reading. I'm a different person and my tastes have changed.
So take reviews and critiques with a grain of salt and realize that perhaps your story wasn't written for the person who reads it and hates it.
After all plenty of people hate books that are considered classics. Because they were written for a different audience with different expectations. I hate all things Charles Dickens for example, and would not hesitate to write a bad review for all his stories; in fact have done so. Yet people love his writing. So I will ignore reviews as the self entertainment that they ultimately are.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ultimately, you're right; reviews are only as powerful as the reader (or writer) allows them to be. Everyone's different, even from their past selves, and times change.

One of my favorite authors, Tamora Pierce, linked to a reviewer who is in the process of reading her first series. She writes that she loves reading his (and his readers') responses to her books and is especially intrigued by their finding the romance between the main character and one of the boys to be stalkerish rather than romantic. The book was written some 30 years ago, and more has become known about the mindset of stalkers, such that she can totally see where they're coming from. The characters also have a fairly large age difference (him older than her), which was very normal in the historical period, but has become more taboo in YA lit these days.

I wouldn't say that reviews are completely irrelevant (though, I am obviously biased). There are reviews that only touch on the likes and dislikes of the reader, and there are more objective reviews that highlight themes, styles, and comparisons. Many young adult reviewers (myself included) include warnings about language, violence or sex which might suggest a book is targeted for an older audience.

So while any piece of writing (reviews included) are written primarily in the now, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with them. Readers should be wary in general, but I don't see how a written review is any different than a friend's recommendation or warning. The reviewer is simply sharing an opinion, much like an author is sharing a story. Whether one matters or not is entirely up to the reader.
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:iconhyperchaotix:
Hyperchaotix Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Student General Artist
Critics like you are why we have good work. :) I'm an aspiring writer, but I know that if all critics just agree with the popular opinion, nothing will change; nothing will get better. Varied opinions make things more interesting and inform the writer that they aren't perfect and can continue to improve. There's no such thing as "best", only "better". ^_^

Keep doing what you're doing. Even if writers and artists find critics to be the bane of their existence, I like to think of them as sharp blades; even if you get cut, you acquire a new tool for your arsenal.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
All these metaphors you guys are coming up with are amazing! Definitely the marks of writers ;)

But if I'm allowed to steal borrow a bit of critique wisdom that goes along with your point:
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. ~ Anton Ego in Ratatouille
I simply love that quote - and what's more, we watched the movie in a lit class primarily for that quote. It keeps my critiques in perspective, but also fuels me to keep doing the best I can.
Reply
:iconindustrialized-hippy:
industrialized-hippy Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Where would we be without constructive criticism?

The author may not be able to fix their already published work, but they'll learn so they can avoid making the same mistake again.

And I agree- regardless of whether you're talking in person or emailing or blogging... It's called being polite.

Great job- very insightful.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, sometimes the anonymity of the internet is more of a hindrance than a help, especially when it comes to opinions. Yes, you can say what you want with *almost* no fear of repercussions, but instigating an argument just for the thrill of it simply isn't productive. Choose your battles. I'd rather work with the writing industry rather than against it.
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:iconelementsheep:
elementsheep Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012   General Artist
Well, well-read people like you are why I deathly fear my writing being read, but if possible, I mean that in the best possible way. It's a tall order living up to good taste.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I don't know that I'm that well-read. Really all I have going for me is the stuff I was forced to read in middle & high school, and the few books I managed to wade through in college. Besides that, I mainly stick to what I like - Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy/Paranormal - or books that were recommended to me. And in that respect, I mainly stick to reviewing books/pieces that are in my niche, or site that in why a book didn't work for me.

I also find I'm very much more of a character reader than a plot reader. If a plot goes a little wonky, I find I'm much more forgiving than if a character acts erratically - especially if it only seems to serve the plot. Obviously, a good balance of plot and character makes a great book, but I'd have to say I prefer a character-driven plot over a plot-reactive character. And that opinion/preference greatly influences my reviews and critiques. If an author doesn't match that style, then my advice doesn't hold any importance.
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:iconelementsheep:
elementsheep Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012   General Artist
Hmm, well maybe you would like my writing, but still, fear. -promptly shot at-

I suppose in this case you're just good at utilizing what you've got, in terms of wisdom as a reader/critic. Even sticking to what you like is better than someone like me, who can barely get through half a book without getting derailed and having to go write instead.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well, we probably have different goals when starting a book. These days I primarily read in order to review, such that completion is usually a large goal of it. When you read, you might have more of an eye for inspiration, such that once you've got something in your head, you've lost the need to continue.

I also find that one of the greatest techniques I can employ when reading is to use multiple senses. I retain a better memory of what I've read, and I can keep my attention in the book for longer by listening to the audiobook while reading along in a physical (or electronic) copy. I use Windows Media Player to speed up the copy to match my reading speed (which does make it somewhat chipmunky), then breeze along the page. It also helps me finish the books in a fraction of the time it would normally take.
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:iconvyctorian:
Vyctorian Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012   General Artist
Bravo!

This is a great piece and it certainly made me think about my own brand of criticism.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for reading and commenting! I'm happy to oblige.
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:iconvyctorian:
Vyctorian Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012   General Artist
It was my pleasure, hun!~
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:iconyoureadmyusername:
YouReadMyUserName Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012
I think your insight is invaluable. Although it's much of the same I've read before, I really like your take on this. By the way, I read your Crushed review. Like your Critic vs Writer: A Conversation of Reconciliation, it was also insightful. Good work on this.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks so much. It's nice to know others can connect with what I'm writing, whether insightful or inane rambling ;)
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:iconmisteroconbrio:
MisteroConBrio Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012
This was wonderful! Thank you so much. On the internet it is so easy to say how you feel in the moment, and then wish there was no record of how you reacted. Social Graces are just as important here as anywhere else.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Tact and composure are certainly powerful tools. I've since received a comment from the author of Crushed (from my copy of this post on my blog) who thanked me for my honesty, as well as letting me know she has made edits to her work because of readers' feedback. I haven't read the latest revision, but I was humbled by her support and encouragement for reviewers.
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:iconmasilverwolf:
MASilverwolf Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I agree. Criticism should be a source of growth for us writers. The one-line reviews are all well and good, but I truly crave someone who points out where I can grow.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I feel the same way, even in my reviews. I know I still have to work on highlighting positives as much as negatives (even if I struggle to find some), and I probably need to find a discussion forum or book club to out some of my book rants. It's a process.
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:iconmasilverwolf:
MASilverwolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I was part of the creative writing club in high school, but everyone--including the teacher sponsor--were one-line reviewers. It was very frustrating for me. I post stuff online now, but so far haven't gotten much feedback.

If I could get someone to trade reviews with, that would be great, but so far no dice.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, I still got some 1-liners from people in college too. It's a little harder to be honest face to face without feeling like you're stepping on toes. One of my classes offered posting assignments online and had us reading and critiquing that way - probably the best idea, even if our names were attached.

Have you tried joining some of the groups that pair up writers here? I got paired up with a couple people, but between not writing fiction of my own and them not sharing their stuff with me it hasn't worked out thus far. Plus I've kinda moved to doing my book reviews, so I don't have as much time on DA lately. But if you can get a critic buddy on one of those groups, it might help you out.
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:iconmasilverwolf:
MASilverwolf Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I didn't even know that was possible. I'm actually not on dA very often either between life and my site. If you could give me some names to check out, that would be awesome.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
#Adopt-A-Writer has the pairing system I was talking about. Send in an application about the type of writing you do and what you're looking for in a friend, mentor or mentee and they try to pair it up with someone else who can give you what you're looking for.

#Writers-Workshop offers monthly(ish) prompts which usually receive a bit of critique each time. Not the best for already-written pieces, but you could always include links in your description to other things you'd like feedback on.

#The-Writers-Review encourages reading and critiquing others' work. They even have a folder to submit pieces you'd like feedback on.

Here are a few other groups I've found you might try out: #Expose-Lit, #Writers-and-Editors, #SuperWritersHelp, #Writers-Guild-DA
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:iconmasilverwolf:
MASilverwolf Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks! :)
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:iconbloodrosesforall:
BloodRosesForAll Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You certainly do make a lot of sense, here.
I myself am aspiring as a writer, although I know there are still plenty of obstacles I have yet to overcome.
And though I normally cringe at simply thinking of the word "criticism," it is a relief to at least hear from a critic's perspective how they are simply trying to help writers—especially when they are writers themselves.
Everyone has their own styles and preferences, of course, but it's good to know that genuine critiques come from people who actually care enough to offer their opinions in an attempt to guide their peers.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
In a way, I think every critic has to be a writer. A writer looks to present their story in a way that appeals to themselves and (ideally) an audience. A critic looks to present their opinion/advice in a way that is coherent and appealing to their reader(s). If the critique doesn't convey their point in a way that will make the reader(s) listen, then there really was no point in writing it in the first place.

Of course, there are flamers out there; critics that have built an audience only to see them tear down works. Some are very successful - Mystery Science Theater 3000, Nostalgia Critic, to name a couple - but those are done less to influence the creators and more for the comedy. Just about the only reviewer I've seen who can rip apart pieces while still giving advice for improvement is the Evil Editor [link] who critiques query letters people send in. He can be pretty harsh, but still manages to highlight what works, and you can tell he's not only experienced but encouraging for these hopeful writers.

Ultimately, a critic only has as much power as the creator allows.
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:iconeuxiom:
Euxiom Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012
Honestly, I don't think I'll ever understand people who think critique is someone banging on their door with a shotgun, ready to blow their brains out.

Any critic worth their salt knows that's not how you do it.

Critique is a necessary element to getting better and improving.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Shotgun rain!

But yeah, critiquing is all about forming your opinion (or advice) in a way that is both coherent and appealing to your audience. If the author can't understand you or is turned off by your approach, then the point of writing the critique in the first place was lost. Gee...sounds like writing in general, huh?
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:iconeuxiom:
Euxiom Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012
Hahaha, indeed it does. (Nice avatar)
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
...probably because that is the best mental image ever :P
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:iconeuxiom:
Euxiom Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012
lulz.
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:icontornadoweirdo:
TornadoWeirdo Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This was a really great read! I like your approach to critique; there's that ideal balance which doesn't make the review come off as a "subjectively-fueled rant," which seems to be what many critics do, unfortunately. As a wannabe writer, I myself am extremely picky about what I read, since I have a set standard for what I think works best in a story.
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I tend to be much more of a character reader than a story reader. If a character can pique my interest, I usually go along with the ride. But if the character falls flat, or constantly changes just for the sake of the story, then I'm often more disappointed than if the plot suddenly goes awry. Not that I won't notice it at all, but I'm often more forgiving so long as I can glom onto a character for the whole story.

It's something I have to try and work through in my reviews, and sometimes I'm more successful than others. Also, leaving things be without going all 5-point essay on them. College writing is good for some things, but making sure not to come off as pompous isn't necessarily one of them. It's a struggle sometimes to state an opinion without showing all 72 examples that support your opinion. In critiques or reviews, it's not about being right, it's about getting your point across in a way that appeals to your audience. Hey...that sounds like regular writing... Go figure ;)
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:iconsecret-ninja-super-m:
SECRET-NINJA-SUPER-M Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012   General Artist
Hmm, maybe critics aren't so scary after all..
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:iconstormywolf:
StormyWolf Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
We're only as scary as the writer lets us be:
In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. [Anton Ego ~ Ratatouille]
;)
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:iconsparia:
Sparia Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012  Student General Artist
Reading this..I was nodding more than half of the time. You have done to draw the line between being a write and a critic, most people do not realize that we do not enjoy tearing their work apart to make it the best it can be. So, being a writer and being a critic I can honestly say that I agree with you. And thank you for putting it out there for every body else who think people like you can and me are their worst enemies! :D :hug:
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