Critique exchange for a 3600 word half completed story

For confidential exchange of story critiques
OnyxHelix
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Critique exchange for a 3600 word half completed story

Postby OnyxHelix » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:26 pm

I've never entered the contest before so I'd thought I'd try to get feedback on a story I'm planning on submitting. It's halfway finished because I'd thought I'd get feedback before I complete it to know that I'm going in the right direction.

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disgruntledpeony
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Re: Critique exchange for a 3600 word half completed story

Postby disgruntledpeony » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:04 am

My personal recommendation would be to finish the first draft before getting a full-fledged critique. I'm suggesting this for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it will mean that the critiquer has a better idea of what direction you want to take the story in rather than potentially leaving them to guess at details. Secondly, it will ensure that your prose isn't influenced by others at such a delicate and fragile stage (I very zealously guard my first drafts until they're complete, just so I can make sure it's my own ideas on the page and not somebody else's).

That said, if you're not sure you're headed in the right direction with the story in general, it might be good to get a critique on an outline of the story rather than the individual pieces. If you'd like to PM me a summary of your plot and let me know which elements you aren't sure about, I'm willing to give you a critique on that. wotf007

You are, of course, free to take or leave these suggestions as you will. My personal belief is that it's better for a writer to get their first draft out and then get critiques from there. You might feel very differently, though, and in the end this is about being true to yourself as a writer. I just want you to walk away from this quarter feeling like the story you ended up with is yours.

(Also, some general tips I've picked up regarding critiques over the years: Critiques are important, but they should always be taken with a grain of salt. What one person believes to be the best way to write your story might not be the same thing you believe to be the best way to write your story. In general, I've found that the best way I handle critiques is to both give and receive them--I learn at least as much by critiquing others' stories as by getting my own stories critiqued. It's also important to get critiques from a wide range of people--three to five at minimum. If only one person mentions something is a problem, it might not be a big deal. If, on the other hand, three or more people bring up the same issue, chances are it's definitely a problem and needs to be corrected in some way--but not necessarily in the ways recommended by the critiquers. I usually take a few days, if not a week or two, to think on what's been said. I consider the offered solutions, if any, but I also try to see if I can come up with something that feels more personally true to the story I'm trying to tell.)
If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. ~ Mark Twain
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michaeljwyantjr
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Re: Critique exchange for a 3600 word half completed story

Postby michaeljwyantjr » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:46 am

disgruntledpeony wrote:(Also, some general tips I've picked up regarding critiques over the years: Critiques are important, but they should always be taken with a grain of salt. What one person believes to be the best way to write your story might not be the same thing you believe to be the best way to write your story.


I'll second this. I just finished a draft of a novel and have had the beginning critiqued by ten people. Seven loved it, one thought it was a little hard to follow, and two despised it. I'm erring on the side that the opening is just fine at this point.

Critiques are opinions from people you respect or know have the wherewithal to give you proper feedback.
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morganb
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Re: Critique exchange for a 3600 word half completed story

Postby morganb » Thu Nov 01, 2018 7:34 am

Solid advice from everyone above, and I wholeheartedly agree. A couple more points I'll throw in:

1) Make sure YOU are happy with the story before you send it out to others for a review. There's no point in making other people point out something you already know is an issue. I never send a first draft out for review. I'll do at least one, usually two, rewrites before I turn it over to others.

2) A reviewer's job is to tell you what's not working for them in the story. Their job is NOT to tell you how to fix it -- that's your job. I once got a critique back on one of my stories, and the reviewer basically told me I needed to just rewrite the entire story from beginning to ending, and also change the ending. I thanked him for the review, then took him off my list of alpha-readers. Good critiques can be worth their weight in gold. Bad critiques from people who don't know what they're doing can just be demoralizing and make you feel like giving up before you even really get started.

~Morgan
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RSchibler
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Re: Critique exchange for a 3600 word half completed story

Postby RSchibler » Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:24 pm

morganb wrote:
2) A reviewer's job is to tell you what's not working for them in the story. Their job is NOT to tell you how to fix it -- that's your job. I once got a critique back on one of my stories, and the reviewer basically told me I needed to just rewrite the entire story from beginning to ending, and also change the ending. I thanked him for the review, then took him off my list of alpha-readers. Good critiques can be worth their weight in gold. Bad critiques from people who don't know what they're doing can just be demoralizing and make you feel like giving up before you even really get started.

~Morgan


Something I remember often during critiques is this advice: When someone tells you something is wrong with your story, they're probably right. But when they tell you how to fix it, they're probably wrong.

Part of what I've learned from doing numerous critique swaps is when to trust my own instincts and when to listen to my readers. I'm sure I don't always get it right.

That being said, I would encourage you to finish your story before sending it for critique. It's difficult to know how to interpret a story without knowing the author's full intent. Half the feedback might end up being useless to you if the readers go off on an incorrect tangent. Worse, you might get discouraged by the partial feedback for whatever reason and be tempted to discard the story entirely. I deeply understand that need for validation, but I'd finish the story. Good luck!
Trying to refute entropy with words.

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