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Critique Guidelines

PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 7:40 am
by Administrator1
Critique Guidelines

1. We ask Forum members to use discretion when posting and keep posts to a PG-13 level.
2. Keep all posts to 2,500 words or fewer; poetry, 32 lines. If you're posting a longer work, please mention so in the subject line as a courtesy.
3. Don't post or copy anything for which you don't own the copyright (meaning you wrote the piece).
4. Please be polite. Feedback should focus on the work. Personal attacks won't be tolerated. This is a writing forum, critique the writing. Hot-topic items such as politics and religion, may be discussed in relation to the writing.
5. Writer's Digest has the right to remove or edit posts at any time.
6. All forum guidelines apply to critique posts.
7. Writer's Digest staff members won't read or comment on any manuscripts posted in the Forum.
8. Posts will not be removed by staff, but can be removed by poster by clicking the "edit" button, deleting the text than hitting submit. This will still leave your post, but the post will be blank.
9. Critique Central is a password protected section of the forum. You must be a registered WD forum member to view or post.
10. Our code of honor here is that if you're asking for critiques of your work, you're also taking the time to give critiques. Please be generous with your time and talents.
11. Please make your post as clean and readable as possible before posting. Avoid using colors and unusual fonts. Do run spell check (you can use autocrit.com) before posting. And please use indents.

ALSO PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING ADVICE: (Courtesy of WOW, Writer's Online Workshops)
GROUP CRITIQUING GUIDELINES
Giving and receiving constructive criticism is an important part of the education of any writer. In order to maintain harmony in the group, and to ensure that everyone benefits from their participation, please read and adhere to the following guidelines:

When You Are Reviewing Another Writer's Work
Being a good critic will make you a better writer; being a good citizen will make you a welcome, productive member of the group. So when you are evaluating another's work:

1. Try to always begin with a positive comment. It's as important for writers to know what's working in their writing as to know what's not.

2. Be specific and objective. Offer suggestions, not just criticisms. If something doesn't work for you, or if you think there is a weakness in the writing, try to identify specifically what the problem is and how it could be fixed.

3. Don't get personal. Direct your comments to the writing, not the writer. Subjective comments such as "that's stupid," or "I hate it" don't do anyone any good-the writer certainly doesn't benefit if you don't take the time to figure out what it is you don't like and why. Learning to think critically about someone else's work and articulating your impressions will make you a much better self-editor.

4. Unless you are specifically asked for grammar/composition advice, don't focus on individual mechanical problems. This is not a copy editing exercise. The role of the group critique is to get the overall reactions of other writers on the work as a whole, not to focus on the mechanics.

5. Remember that you will most likely only see a portion of a longer piece, or a work in progress. Please focus your comments as directed, and not on what's "not there."

6. Don't repeat what others have already said. Go beyond the obvious and try to dig deeper into the work. When your writing is being critiqued, you'll appreciate a wide variety of thoughtful comments; be prepared to offer the same.

7. Do unto others. . . . Remember, your work will be in the spotlight, too, and you'll be in the hot seat. Treat the work of others with the courtesy and respect it deserves and that you'd expect in return.

8. When Your Work is Being Reviewed. We know how hard it is to put your work (and by extension, yourself) on the line. Remember that the people who will be reviewing your work here are your peers-they all face the same challenges and difficulties that you do. Their writing isn't perfect; they're still learning; they don't know everything either. Together you can help each other by sharing insights, creative suggestions and support. So when your writing is selected for group critique:


-Stay out of the discussion unless you are asked a direct question. This will be the most difficult rule to follow, but it is perhaps the most important-both to your growth as a writer and to the productivity of the discussion. You will want to defend your work. You will want to explain why you did something a particular way or why others didn't understand what you wrote. The need to respond to a challenge to your writing will be as instinctive as the need to protect your own children. You must resist. Let the work speak for itself and let the group react without your intrusion. Yell at your computer, stomp around your office, go for a walk, but keep your hands off the keyboard unless someone asks you a direct question. And if you do need to clarify something, limit your response only to what is asked.

-Don't take negative comments personally. No one's here to hurt you or to pass judgement on you. It would be nice if all the reactions you ever got to your writing were positive. But if that were the case, you probably wouldn't be here in the first place. You came here to improve your writing and sometimes that means listening to some hard truths. So, accept everyone's comments-good and bad-in the spirit in which they were given-as suggestions from writers just like you who want to help each other get better.

-Give it some time to sink in. Read all of the comments carefully and think about what each person is really saying. Give equal consideration to all comments-even the ones you don't agree with. It's a good idea to copy the discussion window contents at the end of your session so that you can refer back to it later, and take plenty of time to think about what's been said.

-Give your peers a break. They may be looking at your work for the first time, and maybe only a portion of it. They may make comments or speculate about something that you know would be clear if they could read the rest of the piece. As already mentioned, the point is not to defend your work or to prove how smart you are. If someone makes a suggestion that you try a particular method or reveal a specific piece of information and you know you've done exactly that in the very next paragraph, fine. At least you know that your instincts were good, and you can consider the comment a reminder that you're on the right track. Many times you'll be able to say to yourself, "I did that already," or "that question will be answered by the end of the article." But just as often you'll say, "I never thought of that," or "I didn't think the reader would be interested in that information," or "I thought I was clear on that point, but I guess it still needs some work."

-Remember, this is your work and you must ultimately make the creative decisions that feel right to you. Whatever the group's response, you should:

stick with an idea that is deeply interesting to you, even if it needs a lot of work
never compromise your vision for the piece
try everything to see what works and what doesn't
please yourself first