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Old 09-28-2007, 04:54 AM View Post #1 (Link) The Benefits of GIVING Critiques
Andy (Offline)
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Letís Start with a story!

Little Joey is a new writer. Heís been working on his book for six weeks, and heís interested in getting useful comments about his work. Comments by writers who know really know what theyíre talking about. So he joins a website, posts his work. People comment on it. He posts some more, and gets some more comments. But after three weeks, people start to notice that he hasnít been giving critiques to any other people. Member A tells him this. Then Member B, who brings it to the attention of Super Mod A. He is told to start giving his fair share, or get out. Little Joey thinks that heíd be better off writing and editing his story on his own. After all, critiques take a long time. Wouldnít that time be better spent on his own writing than other peoplesí? Who cares what they write, anyway? Little Joey quits, and retreats to his room, with no intention to go to a writing forum again.

Unfortunately, Little Joey made a bad decision. He could have benefited in numerous ways from giving critiques, but he never realized that, and his writing will suffer.

So, how in the world can you get better as a writer by critiquing other peoplesí work? How does that make any sense? Well, it does.

When you critique something, you read it. You automatically get the benefits gained from reading unfamiliar work:

Reading can inspire you.

Maybe you end up reading a short story with a really unique character, and you decide to create your own similar character. Or maybe itís the way that poem is told. Perhaps the storyís sense of mystery appeals to you, or the way the author is able to put you on the edge of your seat. Your poem may be lacking things that youíd never realize until you find those things in another piece.

Sort of like having a camera and finding a brilliant accessory later on, youíll never know unless you go searching. Critiquing is an excellent way to read more. Best of all, YWO is full of all types of work, so you can find things in many genres that could really spice up your own work.

Increase your vocabulary.

What better way to find out what a word means than to see it used in literature? Finding new works in other stories and learning how to use them properly will make you a better writer.

There are many benefits gained from giving critiques that you wonít get from simply reading.

Find errors that can be used to help your own work.

Itís a proven fact that people find errors a lot more easily with unfamiliar writing than with their own writing. You might critique a story and think, This person didnít give me enough time to bond with their main character. Then you realize, Whoa! My story didnít do that, either. And you fix it.

People will like you more.

Generally, people will be happy when you critique their stuff, because you put a lot of effort into improving something that wasnít your own. Itíll help you bond with other writers, and who knows what other ways theyíll be able to help you? They probably have resources that they can share, other tips and experiences you can benefit fromÖitís much more than youíll ever get if you donít critique. And sometimes, only a writer can help a writer, so itís good to have friends in writing. Did I mention the YWO staff and other members will also like you more, because youíre contributing to the siteís helpful atmosphere?

Those people tend to critique your stuff in return.

Itís only fair, right? You helped a writer with their story. They get to know and like you, and they want to help you with yours. Itís not uncommon for two people to become critique buddies who read each othersí work all the time and offer support when youíre having trouble.

Having critique buddies can motivate you.

If youíre one of those people who has a hard time sitting down and writing, having a partner in critiques can help get you on your butt and working. If itís your turn to give the other person something to read/critique, and you donít have anything ready to give, youíll probably finish it sooner than if nobody was eagerly waiting to read it.

It's good for your self-esteem..

Other people are waiting to see your work. And you've been helping others, too. That makes you feel good about your writing, doesn't it?

You contribute to a workís success.

Imelda pointed this out in her critique guide. How would you feel if you had gotten the chance to critique J.K. Rowlingís work and help her make it better? Wouldnít that be awesome? The same could happen here, because thereís nothing stopping any of the other members on YWO from getting published. Remember, every published writer started out somewhere.

Now you see everything that Little Joey missed out on. Heís all alone in his room, depressed, correcting all his own mistakes (if he can find them). Meanwhile, thereís loads of resources and people he never got the chance to see because he didnít see the benefits of giving critiques. You know better. So go out there and critique!

EDIT: If you have any benefits to add to this post, post them and you'll be given credit.
						Last edited by Andy; 11-09-2007 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 05-28-2009, 02:26 AM View Post #2 (Link)
Fiction (Offline)
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A friend in need is a friend indeed.

If you crit a story for someone, that person whose story you critted will probably crit yours via PM at the drop of a hat. Thus, by this complex give-take-give-take system, you will have something more valuable than a finished manuscript: a friend who is behind you on it.

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.
Victor Hugo
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