WRITING The Value of Criticism

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY HELP' started by Bone2pick, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Nearly everyone appreciates praise; I certainly do. And fortunately for many of us compliments aren't overly difficult to come by. Members generously like, love, and bucket of rainbows our content. And rightfully so, we work hard and invest great amounts of passion into our entries. But I also treasure criticism - assuming it comes from a place of good intentions - and I'm far from alone in that respect. Unfortunately criticism, from my experience, is not as readily handed out.

    I understand many of the reasons why. It typically requires more effort - that's a big one. It can be awkward, one doesn't wish to come off as callous or cruel. Combine the two and it's easy to understand why criticism is in short supply. Which is a shame imo, because of how incredibly valuable it can be.

    Many of my most profound steps forward as a writer/storyteller were brought on through criticism. I was told my sentences were too wordy. I agreed and made adjustments. I was told to trust that my audience could follow a plot without drowning them in exposition. I agreed and made adjustments. I could go on but I don't suspect I need to. The takeaway is, I seek out criticism. I imagine I always will, because I'm always working to sharpen my blade.

    How about you? What are your thoughts on the importance/value of criticism? Has it played a role in your development?
    #1 Bone2pick, Mar 6, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  2. I'd say that I hold a large value for criticism. Most of the events I join on Iwaku (like MISC, FFS) are for the reviews and constructive criticism so that my writing can improve. It's nice when people enjoy what I write, but if I can have someone tell me what I can do better, or what I should have done instead, what mistakes I made and where my work may have fallen flat... that sort of criticism is always welcome, whether it sours the mood or not. Because at the end of the day, how else am I suppose to improve?

    Now as for giving criticism, this is something I'm not very talented at (and yes, I do believe it's a talent to critique someone's work in such a way that they won't end up hating you XD). Furthermore, I honestly don't think I qualify as such a person. I normally will give my thoughts, or if I see blatant typos and punctuation I may tell the person, but aside from that, I desist.
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  3. Criticism is really important, I think, and I don't think you would find many people who would disagree on that point, but I pretty firmly believe there's a time and place for it.

    For instance, I'm a very critical reader (and I mean this in the literal sense), so I do not offer my opinions on someone else's writing very easily, because I understand it can actually offend them, especially if all they wanted to do was write without limitations and not have to think about "did I put too many commas," or "is my sentence structure clumsy here." Because sometimes you just wanna write to hang loose, not to improve yourself. And when you are not looking for it, it can be extremely hurtful and more difficult to accept. So unless someone asks for it, unsolicited criticism, I think, is mostly unhelpful and unkind.

    Even when someone is ready to take it, I think it's good to understand that it should be taken with a grain of salt, as personal bias can be involved. There is really no right and wrong way to write, just conventional, unconventional, and grammatically incorrect. Of course you generally want to avoid grammatically incorrect, but there are times where the well-placed Fragment can be used for dramatic effect, or the lack of a comma can make it easier for people to read a sentence as you meant it to be read. There's a reason each person has a "writing style" and criticism should be taken as an opinion as much as advice.

    Personally, I've had very meaningful and very damaging experiences with criticism. Once, a friend challenged me to use more descriptors, instead of a long string of she's and he's, and my writing has been a little more colorful for it ever since. Same said friend told me people didn't talk in paragraphs and my dialogue sucked. Which is hilarious as shit, because I can talk in paragraphs IRL if I'm upset, telling a story, or excited, and you don't interrupt me. And after both he and my sister lavished criticism I had not asked for on how my writing was over dramatic, militarily inaccurate, and at points perhaps altogether illogical, I spent a long time thinking that it was crap altogether, I was incapable of improving, and I should give up the venture altogether except as a medium to explore my own inner world. It took a long time for me to break out of that way of thinking, though it also taught me that there was value in looking at my own writing critically. So again, criticism can be good, it can be meaningful and can help you grow immensely as a writer, but it can also be damaging and discouraging when given too liberally, and with too little thought as to the biases involved.
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  4. Of course. For this thread I'd like to focus on the value solicited criticism; I should have specified that in my original post.
  5. You don't improve if you don't know your faults. It's tough pill to swallow for any writer, yet if you don't, how will you get better? You'll just stagnate and lag behind because you couldn't see the problems on your own, and never improved.

    That's just it, isn't it? Everybody wants to improve. Problem is, not everybody wants to face the obstacles that lead to improvement-- in this case, the criticism. Provided it's not malicious in intent, I think every bit of my writing should be subject to concrit so that I can get better and, in the end, feel exponentially better about both my writing and myself.

    Concrit = good.
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