The Literature Section is easily the most important one on the site, because it's where everyone gets advice and support specifically for the piece(s) of writing they post. Everything applies directly to the author and his/her work.
These guidelines are to maintain the quality of critiques, to ensure that for every good critique you give, you can expect at least one good one in return.
- Critiques are supposed to help the author. Simply telling someone that you liked their work, or didn't like it, doesn't help them at all. The author won't know what they need to work on.
When you finish a critique, you should be able to step back and say, "When the author does the next draft, it will be much better, because of my suggestions."
- Tell the author why. Critiques are all about the why's. If you don't like a character, try to tell the author why. If you think he/she should rewrite an entire paragraph, tell the author why. If an author knows why you feel a certain way about something, he/she has a much better idea of how to fix it. It's better to know why a car is broken than to just know it's broken.
- Compliments are good, too! It's usually a good idea to mix compliments in your critiques. If something really captivated you, say so. Complimenting the author tells them what they should not change, but don't overdo it.
- Be polite. Nobody likes getting a critique that's rude or offensive. Even if you really think that someone wrote something really badly, be nice about it. Remember, that person may critique you next. And the staff generally (almost always) takes action against rudeness.
The Point System
Every member has a certain number of Points. When you give a critique, you earn points - longer critiques earn more. To submit your work, you must pay points. This simply helps to prevent abuse, and a good critique will always earn enough points to post something in the same section.
Policy on Poor Critiques
If someone repeatedly gives other members poor-quality critiques (ones which offer almost no tips for improvement), the staff will intervene, always with a warning at first.
- First critique deleted: member receives a friendly warning, one that basically says, "Critique better, please."
- Second critique deleted: if the person is really new to the concept of critiques and simply did not understand, we explain them in more detail and show them some quality critiques on the site. But if that's not the case, an official warning is given.
- Third critique deleted: a temporary ban from the Literature forums for a period of 30 days.
If the member is new and has flooded the forum with his/her writing at any point, we go straight to a temporary ban - unless the person is new to critiques. If they have been giving poor critiques just so they could post lots of their work, their work and critiques will all be deleted. We really don't like it when people try to abuse the critique system here.
- If the member persists in giving poor-quality critiques, that person will be permanently banned.