Critiques and revisionssss.

So, the other short story I have waiting in the wings–The Miller’s Daughter, the one I threw out to the world (WotF) as soon as I finished my own edits–is getting its critiques via Critters.org this week.  Man, I’d forgotten how confusing critiques from a large group can be. So contradictory!  What one person hates, another person loves. What one person says doesn’t work at all, another person praises. I think it’s the contradictory responses and suggestions that is the most discouraging part. Normally I have a few trusted readers critique and I don’t have to worry about this sort of thing, but for those who have a larger pool of readers/critiquers–how do you do it? How do you sort through the responses and decide what to do to make your work better?

So we go from a high–to a low. Life is funny like that.  *amused*

Any advice?

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9 responses to “Critiques and revisionssss.

  • Joe Vasicek

    Personally, I filter out everything but the criticism where everyone seems to be in agreement. A good story rises above the average, so of course it won’t please everyone; in fact, if everyone was telling me how much they thought it was a good story, that would raise a huge warning flag to me. But when the readers are evenly split, I figure it’s the writer’s call as to the best way to take it.

    • Laura

      So, normally how I try to do revisions is I get everything that’s bugging me about the story fixed so that no one has to tell me what I already know. Only so far everything mentioned has been contradicted. So I’m at a loss as to how to make things better…

      But yeah, I guess I’ll wait till all crits are in and look over the general trend, see what I can see… It’s just frustrating that I’m already at a loss at what the next step should be and no one seems to agree on what that is, either. XD *headdesk*

      • Joe Vasicek

        Of course, it’s possible that it doesn’t need anything, and everyone’s just fishing around for something to say.

      • Laura

        Lol. Then why couldn’t they just say “Good job! Great story!” Or “Not my cup of tea, but it works for what it is.” Mrrrr….

        No, it definitely needs something. hrm.

  • Lindsay Buroker (@GoblinWriter)

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. Yup, bribing people for ideas on what to write about for the next couple of months. 😛 I’ll do my own thing with stories, but I want to write about what people are interested in when it comes to a blog. (Did I just imply that my fiction isn’t interesting? Hmm. That isn’t right… :D.)

    In regards to critiques, I did a couple of stories with Critters, but found that getting too much feedback made my eyes cross and quickly crossed into the diminishing returns category. I ended up not even reading most of the crits that came in later in the week. I much prefer cherry picking a few partners to work with (people whose crits and writing I respect).

    In this situation, I’d probably pick out the crits where I found myself nodding, at least once, because something rang true. If the first two or three things a person says are misses (in your mind), then the rest of the review probably won’t help either. You can’t write by committee, so best to pick a few promising advisers and just listen to them.

    • Joe Vasicek

      I totally agree. Writing by committee is the surest way to produce crap.

      • Laura

        Yeah, no kidding. Or the surest way to want to give up.

        It’s so hard, though, because we can’t write COMPLETELY for ourselves. We -do- believe in editors and having second opinions. So…which second opinions matter? When do you listen to yourself and when do you listen to others?

        I didn’t realize how confusing it was until the committee decided to weigh in about my story, lol. Silly committees. Can never agree! XD

      • Joe Vasicek

        I didn’t realize how confusing it was until I self-published my stuff and started getting wildly different reviews. Now, I have a hard time believing anyone’s judgment of literary merit; ultimately, I think it just comes down to the reader. Since you can’t please every reader, you need to focus on satisfying the most important ones first–including yourself.

    • Laura

      I think the bribe is so clever. It totally worked, too, which completely made my day the moment I saw it. haha. (No, your fiction is interesting–and the posts that we don’t beg for are interesting, as well! Silly :p)

      Yeaaaah. I see what you mean about the eyes crossing. It’s also annoying having to sort through people’s blatant self-contradictions and pet-peeves.

      That makes sense about choosing which crits to listen to. I hadn’t thought about it that way. Hmm. I, too, prefer to have a few partners to work with, but the ones I usually rely on are all insanely overloaded with other things these days, and so it’s had me searching for other not-quite-so-ideal methods for feedback.

      Thanks for the advice!

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