General, open discussion regarding writing, getting published, markets, pointers, and other related topics. All are welcome! No advertising, please!
Wow! This has been a very helpful thread. I know it will be appreciated to have some healthy feedback on the Challenge. I'm not there yet, but will let you know when I can be a part. Just getting my health back, and trying to play catch up!
Again - thanks! Trudy
Forgive me for jumping in here as a fairly newish newbie who has not yet introduced myself. I believe I may have joined CW at the beginning of this year but only started becoming active (as in posting work) from July. My name is Carol.
Thank you so much lish1936 for this excellent guide on critiquing and thank you also for broaching this subject. I have not read all the replies but I’ve read enough to know that there are a few who feel much as I do about the lack of critiques, or comments on work submitted.
As a writer joining a xtian writers’ site, I did hope to get honest feedback about my work from committed Christians, people who are on the same wavelength as myself. Sharing work that contains xtian content with writers who are opposed to the gospel message can expose you to attack simply because they hate the message, not because your work is bad. Whilst I appreciate and enjoy the praise and accolades, I also want to know how my writing is coming across to others, since sometimes we can become too close to our work, or we are not sure whether we have successfully communicated what we want to say. Furthermore, as writers we can be hard on ourselves (well I am) and encouragement from someone who is not your spouse, friend or family member can be helpful and affirming. I also, want to grow and improve as a writer.
I have entered one challenge to date and was extremely encouraged by the few critiques received, which came my way as a result of asking for it. I have endeavoured to do my bit by commenting on those posts I enjoyed, or where I felt led to encourage someone because of a remark made about their contribution (usually apologetic). I wanted to encourage and support individuals but I also hoped that by sowing seeds, I would reap in return (not necessarily from the same individual). As hinted above, I’ve been very disappointed in this area. In one instance, I rushed to my profile having been advised that I’d received a review, only to discover that the individual had merely used the comment feature to thank me for commenting on one of their posts!
My experience to date has led me to wonder whether it is a waste of my time and my articles to post on this site. People read but do not comment, so how are we expected to know how our work is being received? I get it that perhaps fear of causing offence, or that writing something meaningful takes precious time and so may hinder some from commenting. Also, maybe some feel they are not “qualified” to do so. That’s why these guidelines are a huge help. Perhaps they could be posted somewhere on the main site – in case not everyone visits the forums, or in case they encounter difficulties when they do. On more than one occasion, I have had to abandon attempts to join in with forum discussions because my sign-in somehow did not work and I ended up feeling too annoyed and frustrated to try again.
I don’t think anyone should feel pressured to respond to every request for a critique but perhaps we can bear in mind the number of comments we feel able to contribute and select a few posts to comment on, concentrating on a different person, or set of people each time. And perhaps on occasions when time is limited, instead of giving a full and thorough critique, a simple comment could suffice focusing on one positive element and one area of improvement where appropriate.
There is a new feature where you can opt for anonymous feedback/comments. When I have posted a few articles I agreed to this option because I hoped that this would free people to give their honest opinion. Alas, so far no one has taken advantage of this feature in respect of my postings. I am not sure whether this option is only for non-members – if it is, then perhaps it can be made available to members as well. Hopefully that would deal with the fear issue. As for time issues, maybe if critiques/comments were seen as an opportunity to practice/hone writing skills, whilst simultaneously supporting and encouraging someone, it won’t feel like a sacrifice of time one can ill afford. After all, as I read somewhere, no piece of writing is wasted.
I was just about to suggest maybe forming a special forum for those who want feedback on their work and are committed to both receiving and giving critiques but I’ve just remembered that there is a critique circle. Am I to take it that this is not fulfilling people’s expectations?
Sorry for the long post but it is an area I felt strongly about.
PS: In order to use the board and send this response I’ve just had to re-register! ☹
Are you familiar with the throwing a brick thread? It is for the weekly challenge and you leave a link to your piece and ask for feedback.
If you want detailed feedback, you should check out the Critique Circle.
I try to comment on as many pieces as possible and have found in return, people leave me critiques. Often, I'll click on someone's name who has left me feedback and will leave something for them.
Another thing I do is have my signature included on every post, so people, e can click on Shane's profile and it will take them right to my page with all my work on it.
Unfortunately, some people have been skittish about leaving constructive critiques because some people get quite upset. Though I always make a point to say more positive things than negative, I've inadvertently hurt people's feelings. I've had people say I'm the reason FW has gone downhill, they will never write again because I ruin their passion, and that they are leaving FW because I obviously don't think they are talented. This crushed me each time. I'm not the only one who has had hurtful remarks and it's not easy to take when I'm truly coming from a place of love and a genuine desire to help people become the best writer possible.
Also the suggestions on how to leave and receive a critique can be found in several places on the main site. There is a spot both in the Critique Circle and in the weekly challenge as well as some other spots too.
So before you give up, try the brick throwing if you have a challenge piece, or the Critique Circle or the Open Forum and ask for feedback for a general submission piece (leave a link) also if you need help with adding a signature, check out the FAQ
I definitely want to encourage you to throw a brick. Over the last several months the number of constructive comments on Challenge entries has dramatically increased, and it looks to me as though brick throwers are reaping that reward more than those who don't throw a brick.
Go here (viewforum.php?f=56) each week and join in.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.
My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
It has been a loooong while since I stop by, but I'm ready to get my feet wet and throw some bricks! So you all duck!!!
Carol, just hang in there and explore Shann's options; they are really valuable.
Graham, I'm happy that constructive critiques have improved over the past couple of months. I'll be adding to that increase in just a moment since I'm going to be checking out some entries.
It's great to be back!
My writing is a passion, not a hobby!
I'm glad to see you back I've missed you and your wonderful stories and delightful comments. We did quite well on doing more constructive critiques for about a quarter. Lately, I've noticed they dropped off again. See Graham, we do need your organizational skills.
Oh and Carol, I've searched the past two weeks of challenge entries looking for a Carol (one whose last name I didn't recognize) and can't find your pieces. I'd be delighted to leave feedback, but without knowing your last name or having a link to your story, it's almost impossible to find it. If you'd like to leave a link, I'd be happy to give you feedback.
Always a pleasure to make someone blush! Now maybe I can talk you into entrying the testimony contest. I think you have many awesome testimonies to share with others that can impact many. Hugs
Absolutely, Amelia!. I second Shann on that suggestion. I know from your writing that you would be good at writing an entry for the testimony contest.
Hi Graham, Shann and Amelia,
Thank you for your responses and encouragement and please accept my apologies for the delay in replying. Since sending my post, I managed to read all the entries preceding it. I’ve now realised that it was quite an old post. I thought it was recent because it was at the top of the board.
Shann thank you for your private message and kind offer of a critique. I had not realised there was a separate PM feature with these boards and had been looking for it on the main account. You have actually already commented on my challenge entry, which was on the theme Pen and Paper. I believe I mentioned that I’d received comments on this, which I found encouraging. I hear all your suggestions and will try some of these.
At present, I do not have the time to enter the challenges every week since it takes me ages to get something together and for the time being I need to focus on other projects.
Shann, I tried to respond to your PM but messed it up and had to abandon. Thank you for caring. I will persevere with FW.
Best wishes to everyone else – may God bless you in your writing endeavours ☺
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