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Author Topic: Critiquing vs. Editing  (Read 627 times)
Sam
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Critiquing vs. Editing
« on: September 19, 2005, 09:38:58 PM »

First of all, I'm so glad to see the Stories & Scripts Forum doing so well. Yay for you. This was made for you story-holics so I'm ecstatic that you're all enjoying it so much.

I haven't addressed critiques in here because for the most part I expect everyone to know what they're doing. And for the most part everyone does. Dmizer went through a pretty thorough Crititque Guidelines in the CW Forum so if you haven't read that yet, please do.

However, I would like to address the growing momentum of "editing suggestions" that seem to be plaguing feeback lately. There is a fine line between helpful and harmful and I fear that some are toeing the line.

With the growing amount of typing-related communication it's no surprise that people's standards have risen. However, if you have nothing more to say about someone's 3+ pages of hard work (or 3 paragraphs, regardless) except "You left out the 'e' in the word 'candle'." Then you are much better off remaining silent. Think on it, come up with a few substantial critiques or suggestions (and by substantial I mean having NOTHING to do with punctuation or spelling--I mean characters and dialogue) and try again. We are human. We make mistakes.

Granted, if someone's story is an abomination of "He rn thru thew oods wit hhis swrd drawnn" then by all means mention it (and authors, remember, spell-check is your friend), but as always please remember that feedback is about the content of a story, not the typing skills of the author.

On the subject of grammar things are a little trickier. I understand that many of our writers are young and have not had the grammatical experience of some of our other members. Help along as you can, but remember that when in doubt take the nicer tone. It takes courage to write, much less share one's work and I'll be damned if I'll let anyone on this forum kill another writer's passion. If grammar affects a stories flow, point it out...but there is no need to list all 27 times someone forgot to start a new paragraph when changing speakers in dialogue. Mention it once and move on. And mention it nicely.

I have loved reading everyone's stories and I am very guilty of not leaving feedback the majority of the time. Still, I'd like to know that everyone is on the same page. Writers, feel free to PM another writer if you feel you're struggling with grammar or spelling, or just make a note of it on your writing (no one minds that you're still learning--learning is a lifelong process for any subject). Critiquers, remember when you read and reply you are a guest on that author's thread. Mind your manners.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2007, 07:25:10 PM by dmizer » Logged

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Nephtys
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Re: Critiquing vs. Editing
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2007, 08:07:31 PM »

I'm adding to this a post from an old topic I found. Creativity first, grammar later. Here are helpful suggestions on how to balance the two out:

Quote from: dmizer on December 19, 2005, 01:37:31 PM
i'm not suggesting that you completely ignore grammar and spelling when you post a piece here.  it's a common courtesy you give to your fellow formites.  however, i am going to >insist
first of all, your first draft is never as good as your writing can possibly be.  it may be sufficient to pass a grade in high school, and even some college courses, but it is not sufficient to pass the grade that will be given to you by the public ... a potential publisher ... real life.

here's a suggested format you can follow (most, but not necessarily all of the following steps should appear somewhere in your own writing process):
1) brainstorm by hand (don't use the computer) ... never ever never never never never skip this step.
2) do some planning.  have some idea of where you'd like to head during your story.
3) focused free write for a preset amount of time (whatever you feel like you can handle) ... write with no caps, no punctuation, no spelling correction ... preferably by hand (if you find yourself making corrections ... start over).
4) using the material you've collected in steps 1-3, write a first draft.  try to refrain from making grammar corrections, just get the story down ... it might help here to turn off the auto correct feature in ms word, or simply perform this step by hand.
5) edit your first draft, check for consistencies in: characterization, plot, relevancy, literary devices.  do this step with a printed/hard copy of your work.  write all over it by hand ... in the margins, on top of what you've written, anywhere there's space available (do not check for grammar or spelling here)
5.5) as a possible intermediate step here, give your work to a trusted friend or a panel of peers (such as scd) for suggestions and input.
6) brainstorm some more to figure out ways to solve problems you've just found.
7) revise what you've written.
8) repeat steps 5-7 until you're so sick of your story/poem that you don't want to look at it anymore.
9) don't look at it anymore.  put your work away for a week or two, forget about it
10) repeat steps 5-7.
11) if you're satisfied with the result, now you check for grammar
12) submit for publication.

notice where scd creative writing falls in the writing process ... scd does not appear in the second to last step just before publication, it appears in the middle of the writing process.  when you submit your work for a review at a forum such as this, primary concerns (your replies) should be with broad story affecting issues such as: characterization, plot, and literary devices.

here's why you don't correct grammar:
for example, say you spend roughly an hour correcting grammar on X number of pages (if you do it while you write or after you're done writing doesn't matter, you still spend time on it).  Now suppose you have a problem with characterization, plot, or other literary involvement and you have to revise.  when you revise, you remove or alter (for example) a paragraph worth of writing.

now think about this: if you haven't corrected any grammar at all while you write your first draft ... how much time have you saved by not correcting the grammar in that paragraph (or more) of your story that you've just changed?

what's more ... you've allowed your creative side free reign.  the creative portion of your brain who runs willy nilly all over the place, but comes up with wicked cool ideas that you would never have given consideration to if you let the editor in you say, "you're kidding right?"

that's why you don't see much of my own work posted here.  i'm an editor.  the editor in me has so much power that my creative side is almost completely stifled.  there are only rare fleeting moments where my creative side can reach through enough to come up with something worth while.

nurture your creative side ... it's easily squashed.  grammar is easily corrected later.

as a side note, i advocate an extreme amount of hands on direct contact with your work.  the computer is cold and lifeless.  i'm not discounting it's worth in the writing process, just that it won't speak to you like the surface of a piece of paper and the tactile response of a pen or pencil in your hand.  these are the inputs that the creative portion of your mind will respond to.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 12:00:59 PM by dmizer » Logged

Quote from: J-Pod by Douglas Coupland
You can't fake creativity, competence or sexual arousal. If you have none of these three attributes, then pack it in right now.
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