The Newbie Critic

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The Newbie Critic

Postby crit30575 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 3:15 am

Hi all, only been here a few weeks and haven't had much of a chance to use these boards. Now I'm dying to because I fear being the horrible thing that has to be a bad reviewer. Not the kind finding tons of flaws you know but the reviewer that just is a positive but useless commenter.

I already read all the articles about critiquing. Diplomacy I think is not my issue which I have years on a LARP plot team to thank for that. I'm more worried about not being able to really offer any useful feedback. First review I did the author thankfully had a list of things he specifically wanted checked so that was relatively simple but most authors don't leave those I'm noticing. Do you veterans have any further pointers on things to watch for that might help someone new critique works better? After all I might have your work in front of me next!
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Name: Rebecca Sager
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Re: The Newbie Critic

Postby crit19292 » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:56 am

My crits basically follow this outline -

1) Did I like it. Just some general commentary, but I do try to keep something positive in this paragraph.

2) Mechanics. Were there spelling and grammar errors. I will then follow with those I bothered to flag.

3) My suggestions. These are not supposed to be cruel, but helpful (how the person takes it is up to them).

Now, pet peeves (mostly these fall under #2) -

PAST TENSE - The tenses should be consistent. Present tense just does not make sense. I once read a book in present tense, and it cured me of even considering present tense as viable. Now there are authors writing in present tense for the youth market, and my poor son has had to listen to me gripe and explain why present tense is wrong.

TOWARD - Toward is a preposition. There are no singular/plural forms of prepositions. You do not say -
He went intos the store.
She ran throughs the trees.
You thus do not say 'It was thrown towards the window.'

Those are the two major ones at the moment. I am sure that you will have your own.
I will not deny myself having my opinions.
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Name: Roby Ward
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Re: The Newbie Critic

Postby crit30338 » Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:35 pm

In my opinion, you should start with things you liked and then note things you didn't like--purely as a _reader_. Only then, start looking at it with writer-colored glasses and offer suggestions and advice. Most of us are not really in a position to authoritatively correct others' works, but hopefully we can all give, at least, the perspective of one set of eyes. Anything else is just a bonus.

A pet peeve of mine is critters who want to pick apart the prose and ignore everything else. Often, their "corrections" are questionable. If you aren't absolutely sure what a comma splice is, don't try to point them out. What about the story, the characters, the verisimiltude, the logic--the things that are, after all, far more important? Perhaps it takes more work to constructively comment on those aspects than to cut and paste random sentences.
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Name: Michael Cho
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