Re: RE: Here I go again… What is your opinion of the critique section?

Home Forums Writer’s Digest Forum Writers’ Block Party Here I go again… What is your opinion of the critique section? Re: RE: Here I go again… What is your opinion of the critique section?


Anthony Head

Ah, Jeff me fine lad. You’ve awakened the sleeping giants. Tsk, tsk.

‘Tis me favorite area down there and many a fine day has been spent sitting in my empty room surrouned by all the wonderful people there. Dear Maria has kept my guidelines post tagged at the head of the critique section and I modestly submit it does a fair job of answering your question. Perhaps you’ve not read it yet?

A little history. We’re a community here, one that has evolved from its own crucible. We’ve had stalkers, curmudgeons, grumps, a**holes, rudies, overly eruditeies (there’s a made-up word that’s hard to say), brown-nosed a** kissers and genuine friendly neighbors, eager to lend that missing ingredient to help us all improve our work.

When you sell an essay, a story or a book, to whom are you selling it? What’s that, you’re selling it to a reader? And you expect them to read it? My, my. Well, when you post on the critique forums, you are doing the same thing. Instead of $7.95, we offer only two cents.

The results however, are the same. If we buy your work at B&N or Borders, your editors will ask you to write more. You will be receiving the reader’s opinions of your work in the form of sales.

If we like your work on the critiques, regardless of the opinions, you will see that by the post count. If your entry sits there at one or two readers, that states as clearly as any expert opinion that: your work is not working.

Read the guidelines. It all, is mere opinion. And as with all opinions, they are like butt holes: everyone has one. Use what you want, throw the rest away.

As to toughness, if you want it, ask for it. As in any community, we’ll provide you with what you seek, if we can. But there is no sense in stating on a public forum that “Your writing would be better, in my opinion, if your attitude were less arrogant”.

Think about it. This forum exists to encourage writing, not the opposite. Many young posters arrive here thanking the stars they’ve found a warm welcome. They go on to post their dreams in long, run-on sentences, proudly announcing their achievements and goals. By the time you’ve read their posts, your first thought is, “Yeah, right.”

But we don’t post first thoughts. We shouldn’t anyway. Nor second or third. In this small town we live in, we follow Thumper’s mother’s basic advice: “If you can’t say something nice about somebody, then don’t say anything at all.” The silence itself speaks as loudly as any negative comment.

So, post away but don’t expect any level of professionalism. First: we can’t afford the time to go into that level of detail. Second: that level costs money and the only currency here is cyber cookies – usually warm chocolate chip. Do expect an observant eye however, and comments that when properly received, may be worth more than any price paid for the professional opinion you seek.

You said you teach piano. Do you watch your students leave, waiting and hoping for the front page review in the Times about their debut at Carnegie Hall? Or do you go to their local concert and get satisfaction from the audience’s applause? Both are valid. Both are necessary. Both are opinions.