TWM Scratching Post
hi there everyone! I’m Rose (aka InklingsOfOblivion
) and today I bring you TWM’s latest edition of the Scratching Post which focuses on GIVING critiques.
Before we embark on our journey together, I’ve collected up some articles that have been written by others: what I love is that everyone has a slightly different take on critiquing , bringing a new perspective and fresh ideas to the table.
Writing Useful Critiques LiliWrites
This article is written for LitResources. Our goal is to be a collection and creation station for all resources pertaining to literature on deviantART. This article will feature the wonderful world of critique! DeviantART staff recently made it possible for unsubscribed members to leave critiques using the premium feature, so we thought it was an opportune moment to educate the community about the many facets of critique.
If, after reading the article, you have more information or resources to add, please leave your thoughts in a comment! And don't forget to this article to help spread the word.
Critique: What It Is, What It Is Not
Though the distinction might seem obvious to some, people often confuse writing a critique with writing a review.
To make it plain, a critique offers thoughts and advice for improving a piece of literature or art. Cri
– this one also has a whole bunch of other articles at the end, be sure to check it out
So You Want to CritiqueHere is a two-fold guide for deviants wishing to receive critique as well as deviants who want to give constructive critiques:
A Note to Non-subscribers
You're allowed to give and receive critique, too! The system for subscribers that dA has put in place is flashy, sure, but it doesn't alter the content of a quality critique. Comments have worked just fine for many years. I see no reason why you should stop using the tried and trusted system just because something new has come along. Now, onto the article!
Make Sure the Feeling's Mutual
Some people don't give critiques. Some people don't want critiques. That's okay. Being a member of dA does not precondition you to the critique-crowd.
However, if you do want to be a critique-groupie, make sure the artist you're giving critique to actually wants it. If the critique option is not enabled, or there's no request for critique in the comments, chances are critique is unwanted. If there's something you really, really want
Critique: A BreakdowndeviantArt is a website focusing on art. Wherever there is art, there is bound to be critique- no exceptions. While this fact may be aggravating and/or intimidating to younger, more inexperienced artists, they should learn and heed some basic advice on how to respond appropriately to receiving a critique.
This is a little bit of information about critiques- who critiques, what a critique encompasses, the different "styles" or approaches people take when offering critique, and appropriate ways to respond to all kinds of critiques.
What is Critique
Noun: A detailed analysis and assessment of something; a critical review or commentary, especially one dealing with works of art or literature.
Verb: Evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way
In a nutshell, a critique (or to critique) is to approach something and analyze something in a critical manner. The key words here are analyze and criti
Critique is a DialogueCommunication is a collaborative effort.
Students and teachers, doctors and patients, the UN and member states—no matter how different the backgrounds are, no matter the gap in experience or who's leading the conversation, it's important for communication to succeed. And the only way to do that is by making sure there's always room for a dialogue.
Dialogue: two sides having a conversation together.
Based on the literature community chat we had not too long ago, critique seems to be desirable. This blog is a response to the fact that a number of people mentioned dissatisfaction with a) how much critique they're getting, and/or b) responses to critiques they're providing.
This is about critiquing people you don't know, and who didn't request a Serious Business Full-Length Critique.
welcoming critique: For Authors
Give critiquers a starting point
This is going to be a fairly long post, so grab some supplies and let’s get to it!
(I’ve made a little contents page which links to different aspects of the article, so feel free to click any of the links below if you don’t feel like wading through everything!)
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
Imagine the situation: you’ve found a piece you rather like, but there are a few aspects of it whether that be grammar, punctuation, use of literary device, flow, line break, dialogue (
) that could be improved upon in your opinion. A comment just won’t cut it- it’s time to step into critique territory. WHAT IS A CRITIQUE?
"A detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory".
The key part of this is DETAIL
. It’s quality over quantity though – your response doesn’t have to be long, but the time you’ve put in to reading and engaging with the author’s piece will definitely shine through.
Things to keep in mind when going through with a fine toothed comb are that this piece is someone’s pride and joy; it’s right up in their grill (it in fact came FROM their grill, as it were), and it’s their baby, of course they may not be able to see any potential flaws with it. If your piece is being critiqued, remember other people may interpret what you’ve written in a different way; a fresh pair of eyes may unlock aspects of your piece that you never even considered before (now that sounds like a big ol’ ball of cheese)
A quick breakdown of:WHY PEOPLE DON’T CRITIQUE
the unknown factor: I’ve never critiqued before! What if I do it wrong?!
not knowing the person
not having any experience in critiquing
not wanting to say anything that may cause offense… WHY PEOPLE DO CRITIQUE
enjoyment of helping someone
genuine love of critiquing
to strike up a conversation and better understand a piece
But I don’t have time to critique!
If you don’t have time for a full blown critique, a simple comment goes a long way – a quick comment lets the author know there’s someone out there reading and engaging with their work (even if you don’t favourite it. A comment doesn’t mean a favourite, but in my opinion a favourite should equal a comment.)
Now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of critiquing. If you like, why not find a piece you’d like to critique and copy it into a word processing document, then we can do through it together
1. GENERAL POINTS FOR STARTERS
My advice for first time critiquers is to start with a piece by a deviant you know quite well. That way firstly you’ll feel more comfortable commenting on their work, and perhaps you’ll understand their work a little better.
To start with, read the piece. Read it in your head first, then out loud. The more times you read a piece, the more chance you have of engaging with it, and understanding it better.
Re-read again, but this time start jotting down ideas. I find copying it over to a word processing document invaluable as most have an “add comment” button.
What sort of things should I be noting down?
2. MAKING NOTES: POETRY VS PROSE
what do you like about the piece? Don’t be afraid to highlight phrases/sentences/stanzas/sections you like! When you hear “critique” I think a lot of people assume it means pointing out what’s wrong or what you would change about a piece. As we learnt from the definition this is NOT SO.
is there anything confusing about the piece? Again, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
on reading it aloud: (prose) how well would the dialogue fit in the real world? (poetry) how do the line breaks impact the flow of the poem?
have any specific literary devices been used? (this is especially applicable to poetry, as simile, metaphor, fixed forms and rhyme can often be found) how effective are these?
(prose mainly) are there any characters? How has the character development progressed? Is this important? Does this impact the story?
is the grammar and punctuation correct?
3. HAS THE AUTHOR LEFT ANY SPECIFIC QUS IN THEIR ARTIST’S COMMENT?
Answer them! This is particularly good for first-time critiquers as it gives you a structure to work with
4. TIPS AND POINTERS
If you’re really getting into critiques, here are some tidbits I’ve picked up from around dA:
some authors request critiques on their work, which means you’re able to leave an “official” critique separate from the comment system. Don’t be put off by the starring system on it – if you like you can just score the same (say 2.5 stars) for each bit – just explain in your comment it’s difficult to give a star rating
Looking for more things to critique? Use the critiqueable function on dA, and look at the groups you’re in – most have a critique me folder
Be honest about your interpretations: make sure you make a good point and back it up, picking out the part of the piece you’re referencing
Don’t be afraid to suggest an alternative or a rephrasing (I’d suggest doing this once you’ve been critiquing for a while, though)
be sure to use “could” “perhaps” “might work better if” and “I think” “in my opinion” (make sure it’s clear that what you’re writing is an opinion)
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – authors love discussing their work – strike up a conversation!
5. IN SUMMARY…
a useful, detailed critique of any piece should both encourage the author and also help them improve their work: it might be really obvious to you why something isn’t working or how the piece could improved, but to the author it may not be. Make sure you leave enough detail for the author to understand what you’re saying
try and give structure to your critique. This can either mean sections (ie grammar, structure, etc) or (as I do) going through the piece in chronological order
you will get better at critiquing over time.
Keep reading, keep writing and keep trying!