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Critiquing Without Interest

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Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:12 pm
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Emerson says...

This is something that I used to do, and am still fighting with. This is something that I've seen people do, and it can ruin anyone as a good critiquer. Have you ever been reading a story, in hopes of giving it a good critique, only to click the back button because you're bored? Well stop it! I know what its like to only critique stories that interest you. That was all I used to do.

If I didn't like the genre, or the way it was written, I would go find something else to critique. But now that I have gotten over this horrible habit, I find myself critiquing a wider rang of things. Just because you aren't interested in the story, that doesn't mean you can't give good advice on it. I'll give an example. I have this horrible distaste for Medieval Fantasy, but I force myself to read the stories I find because I know in the end I'll give good advice, and they will appreciate it.

Another bad habit, is stopping critiques half way through because it’s just so bad. How would you like to know that your writing was SO bad people can't even get through it enough to tell you why it is so bad? Always keep in mind before you click the back button, the critique you are trying to write will mean a lot to the author. Hold back your boredom if you have to, but don't stop critiquing!

Another tip I have, somewhat unrelated to the aforementioned, is that you should not read the previously given critiques until you have written your own and sent it in. Reading other peoples opinions could make you biased, rather than being completely honest. You should go into a critique with a clean idea of the writing. Afterwards, you can read others critiques. But don't let others opinions change the way you may or may not feel about someone else's writing, even before you have looked at it for yourself. Make your own judgments.
“It's necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live.”
― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

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Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:29 pm
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Sureal says...

I too have this problem (well... to a degree). But, once I've started reading a story, I will always read it through to the end (and give a crit).
I wrote the above just for you.

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Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:46 pm
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Nate says...

Back when TYWC was awesome, I used to critique a lot no matter if I actually liked it or not. Used to do 50 to 60 critiques a week back then.

But then when I was active on (and back when that site was only mildly bad), I got into the habit of only reading the first few paragraphs. If I liked it, I read more and wrote a critique afterwards. But if I didn't, I just clicked the back button. It wasn't really ever that the piece was bad, it just didn't interest me. Kind of like how David Copperfield isn't a bad novel, I just had to force myself to turn every page because it didn't interest me (in the slightest).

But, my thinking is that if doesn't interest you, don't force yourself. Your critique will end up the worse for it. Rather, just write something up about why it didn't interest you. Was it the dialogue? The descriptions? The genre? The characters? Let the author know, but also make sure to point out the difference between non-interest and a terribly written story.

Also, I'm pretty sure this will come up, so I just want to point out before it does that when you have something like 67 page views, but only three reviews, it's mostly the fault of google. The google bot goes absolutely nuts on this site.
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Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:02 am
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Myth says...

I did this a lot before. Now I just start my critique and if/when I get bored I leave it for later so that when I do go back to it I can actually give tips/suggestions.

I have a problem critiquing Romantic Fiction but I'm trying to read a few pieces on the site.
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Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:06 am
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Cassandra says...

Mostly, if I start to read something, I'm going to finish it and crit it. Because for me, I don't waste my time reading something that I don't want to waste my time reading however many paragraphs, then leave the story in the dust. I finish it through and also make sure to tell the author where I thought it dragged. *shrug*
"All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring."
-Chuck Palahniuk

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Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:36 am
Firestarter says...

This is totally my worst problem. I have a short attention span, and when I don't like something I read, I often go and do something else. Hopefully this will inspire me to change and actually critique instead of running for that "back" button as you say.
Nate wrote:And if YWS ever does become a company, Jack will be the President of European Operations. In fact, I'm just going to call him that anyways.

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Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:15 pm
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Poor Imp says...

I'm afraid I run, dash to the back if the first paragraph hits me like a ton of figurative bricks. -_-'' I'm a bloody fiction coward then.

With things that don't make me run, I often still don't critique...for a while. I'll read it two or three times, whenever I happen to be around, until I find a thread to catch. It helps critiquing.
ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem

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Thu May 05, 2011 2:01 pm
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silentpages says...

I'll confess to having clicked the back button now and again. But usually I'll keep reading a piece to the end once I start critiquing, giving the best review that I can.

Another thing is, don't get intimidated by a long piece.

There have been some stories where I went to the story, started reviewing, and then realized how long it was and kind of groaned to myself (ironic, because I myself tend to write LONG stories). But I kept going, because once I'd started the review I didn't want to quit half way through. Who knows how a story will change from the beginning to the end? And then you can tell the author about the parts that dragged, or the parts that made you want to stop reading.

I'm sure they'll really appreciate the help. :)
"Pay Attention. Pay Close Attention to everything, everything you see. Notice what no one else notices, and you'll know what no one else knows. What you get is what you get. What you do with what you get is more the point. -- Loris Harrow, City of Ember (Movie)

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