Does this critiquing format work for you?

For the Critters workshop and writing SF/F/H in general.
  • Ads

Does this critiquing format work for you?

Postby crit34653 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:15 pm

I'm a returning member, was a Critter long ago and now that my kids are almost grown I'd like to do a few crits now and again.

Twenty years ago there were less guidelines on how to crit a story, and I developed a particular style which I am now trying to evaluate. It was a lot of effort (and probably contributed to my crit-burnout eventually) and I'm wondering if it is too much.

First, I read the story and make note of all of my on-the-moment reactions (with in-line support), this paragraph didn't work, that style of phrasing didn't work, this made me laugh so hard I snorted orange soda all over my keyboard, thanks a lot, buddy... :lol:

Then, I go back and re-read the story with a list of bullet points in hand: plot, conflict, characterization, resolution, etc. I try to write a paragraph or two on the story for each subject. Then I append the line-by-line critique at the end of the more general one.

My question is this: do you see value in the line-by-line reactions-as-I'm-reading part of the critique, or would you just want the more subject focused information?
Name: Francine Taylor
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:55 pm

Re: Does this critiquing format work for you?

Postby crit19292 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:56 am

Honestly, if the writing has you coming out to take notes, then it has failed. If I find that I am jotting notes through the reading, I probably will not give a good review (or not give a review in the recent attitude at Critters). If I however come to the end with a blank page, I will usually do my best to encourage the author even if I did not like the tale or I go back and discover problems.

A story should have a narrative that is consistent within itself. A reader should be able to enter the setting and feel comfortable. Yes, there will be moments of humor, of fright, of embarrassment, but the emotions should fit the story with the feeling to stay in the moment and not come out. Too many stories really have a setting that do not work in the real world. When I step out, I see flaws that are not there when within the setting. It is thus best if an author can develop a style of narrative that keeps a reader in his world.

Let me agree that a passive opening is an unsold book. While I usually do not have the major problem reveal itself at the beginning, I have something happen that lets the reader know about a main character and setting. With the reader comfortable with a person and their world, I should have someone that will stay and see how the story develops.
I will not deny myself having my opinions.
User avatar
Name: Roby Ward
Posts: 193
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 1:53 pm
Location: North Louisiana

Re: Does this critiquing format work for you?

Postby crit34722 » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:13 pm

Hi Francine,
Like you I was a member many years ago. Now that my son has grown I have free time again so here I am writing and critiquing stories. I feel that your approach (both methods) is the VIP treatment that any writer would love to have. I like taking notes as I read because I will always forget where a great (or not so great) moment in the narrative occurred. But I am also trying to give a better "bird's eye", general view of the story. I guess you could call it a Macro-Micro Approach to critiquing. It's a lot of work and saps energy that I could have used to write my own stuff - but that is the sacrifice and commitment one must make when you join a group like this. Everyone gets a turn.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Name: Robert Cleary
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:01 pm

  • Ads

Return to Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Writing