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Much as I’m looking forward to Saturday’s GSHW meeting with John Joseph Adams, I’m a little nervous about the get together with my critique group, which takes place on the same day, after the after-meeting nosh at the local diner.
I’ll be receiving feedback on Waking up Jack Thunder from my beta readers. I’ve seen enough critiques over the last couple of years to be able to spot some of the warning signs which can tell you if you're about to receive a less than stellar review.
Since I know many of my LJ friends get feedback on their own work, I thought I’d share some of those tell-tale signals here. 

You know you're in for a rough critique when...
1.   In the run-up to your next session, you read several group emails, asking for confirmation of how to spell words like ‘illiterate’; ‘trite’ or ‘cliché’, and yours is the only story to be reviewed.
2.   Before the meeting, the meanie in the group keeps smiling at you.
3.   Before the meeting, other group members point at you and laugh.
4.   Before (and during) the meeting, nobody will look you in the eye.
5.   In the pre-meeting chinwag about books you’ve been reading, someone says, ‘Not the worst thing I’ve ever read’, and everyone turns to look at you.


6.   The group leader places a black cloth on his head when it’s time to critique your story…


7.    … then asks you to give up any concealed weapons.
8.   When it’s your turn, the people on either side of you move away.
9.   When it's your turn, someone hands you a box of tissues.
10. Someone else removes all nearby sharp objects.
Rest assured, no matter how rough Saturday’s critiques get, I shall abide by the code set out in The Critiquee’s Charter, and leave all concealed weapons at home. 
How about you?
How can you tell when you’re in for a rough critique?

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( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
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(Deleted comment)
Feb. 10th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you'll do fine.

Don't forget to have fun :)
Feb. 10th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
LOL, good luck :) Great list ^^
Feb. 10th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:32 pm (UTC)
Good news? I've heard of this in a critique, but never seen it :)
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
Good list.

At Milford the convention was that you got bought a drink by anyone who seriously eviscerated your ms. When the location changed to an excellent but bar-free retreat centre in Wales, the convention changed, so it was sweets instead of booze (not that there wasn't booze later, you understand).

I have a bit of a rep for brutal crits, and have been known to prefix a particular stinker by producing a box of chocolates and apologetically handing it to my victim before I start. That way they know what's about to happen before I open my mouth.
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
British chocolates are always welcome :)
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
LOL! I cannot imagine any of these happening for you. And honestly, I have not received bad feedback. My secret? I find that sacrificing a chicken or sticking a doll with pins reduces the likelihood of pesky negative critiques.

Edited at 2010-02-11 01:24 am (UTC)
Feb. 11th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC)
That sounds a lot like bogwitch64's method - though I hear she sticks the pins in critiquers ;)
(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Feb. 11th, 2010 01:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 11th, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
If they spend a significant amount of time beforehand patronizing you by saying, "It will be fine, everyone goes through this, we all have to start somewhere." (Remind me never to admit to nerves again.)

Or if they start off with "I don't know if English is your first language...." Though when that happened to me, I thought it was hilarious (I was working as a reporter in Ohio at the time).
Feb. 11th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
"I don't know if English is your first language...."

(no subject) - dendrophilous - Feb. 12th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 11th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
From a new person in a crit group... "It took me seven pages to figure out you really could write, and that this wasn't a joke."

(It was a pretty extreme story, in both her and my defense. ;))
Feb. 11th, 2010 10:53 am (UTC)
Lol, even so, talk about your backhanded compliment :(
Feb. 11th, 2010 08:18 am (UTC)
When they start by saying something positive, and the only thing they can come up with is, "I like the paper you printed it on."
Feb. 11th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
Hehehehehehehe :)
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( 52 comments — Leave a comment )

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