I have a question.
Where did all that need for someone else to critique one's writing come from? I never heard of it until I arrived in the UK in 1999.
Is this the result of wanabes that can't write to save their lives thinking that they can actually learn something by having someone tell them?
Honestly, the bs I read.
"Show and Tell"
"Well, I'd like to see a bit more development of this character."
All cliches taught in critique class by people who have never been paid for their writing, and most certainly, aren't in the best selling list.
I have never spoken to a bestselling author who hasn't said the same thing. It's talent, talent, and talent. One either has it, or one doesn't. The talent is honed through reading thousands of books in one's youth, and one learns the spelling and the grammar in the early years at school.
It's that simple.
Someone commented recently that the need for all this critique is more a desperate cry from people wanting attention for something, and they think that creative writing is something that can be learnt in the same way that literacy is. No, it can't.
Most of the time, critics are nothing more than failed writers. While some technical aspects can be learned, when it comes to creative writing talent is crucial and nothing else will do it. For the ones who think that following a recipe will bring them success, my advice would be to bake a cake instead.
The "cogito ergo sum" does not exactly parallel the "I write therefor I am a writer".
Wow, How did you find this rant? I thought it was dead and buried. But, yes. you agree with my sentiments.
Suddenly, this thread has been brought to my attention. Personally, I'd never offer to critique the writing of another unless I'd had some major success in the field, by which I mean having both loads of readers and making large sums of money- that's how I quantify success in terms of writing. There are so many experts, just take a look around- one day they're writing hubs about SEO and success, the next, they're in the forums declaring that they receive no traffic and have made no money.
Tell me about it.
However it seems we live in a world where some idiot author appealed to the vanity of a whole generation of wannabe writers about 15 years ago and spoke to them about their 'morning pages' and now they all call themselves 'writers.' Now everybody out there is thinking of themselves as a writer and they're barely literate, nevermind have any talent.
A few days ago on Google, a guy joined a political discussion and asked me if I had read the following link. I assumed it was to do with the topic we were discussing. It turned out to be some very bad writing (wannabe) about a French restaurant with bad spelling, grammar, and infamous structure. I then went to his profie and found that he had a 'move that 'I rite for Hollywood. They will just die for picture.'
When I queried him as to what the link was about, he said, "It's the story." At which point I told him I wasn't interested in his writing...
Talk about delusion.
And, yes, I absolutely know that I write well and to a professional standard. I've done so on three continents, won numerous prizes for it, been paid for it, and been asked to write for magazines, movies, and more. So this is not calling the kettle black.
I work for hire, freelance, the majority of my earnings come from off-line writing, a little bit of work at my local University, some online freelance work for which I'm well paid, and then, a bit (tiny) from user generated sites such as HP. I guess that I'm a freelance writer but I still *cringe* when I say that.
I stumbled on this occupation after considering the things I'd been told that I was 'good at' whilst in education. It pays, less than I was earning ten years ago when I engaged in the rat race, but, it pays. I've never, ever, considered myself to be talented. I'm realistic. But I know what you mean- there are some, em, let's just say, not writers out there!
Actually, Hollie, you can write.
The talent part of writing is about having an ear for the natural flow of language - the rhythm. People who have it are talented. My late father could not write fiction because he wasn't a storyteller but he was a wonderful writer as is my sister and my daughter. My daughter is a wonderful storyteller as well - a better writer than I am. Whether one writes fiction or non fiction, it's the rhythm that determines whether one is talented or not.
Writing that lacks it is very, very difficult to read.
What happens with wannabe writers is that most of them aren't readers. So they read very slowly. They think this is the norm. It's not the norm for a reader. I used to be able to read 500 pages in an hour. And I read every word. When writing is good, it flows and one can read it rapidly. When writing doesn't flow, it's impossible to read at speed.
There's a reason for that as well.
We only essentially read when we discover a new word or when we are first taught to read. That's because once we know the words, we're just using memory to determine the meaning of the words we see. When readers (readers are defined as people who read at least a book a week) read flow, they read very quickly because memory tells them that's the right rhythm. When people who aren't readers (maybe one or two books a year), they are accustomed to a very slow reading speed, so they don't realize there is a natural rhythm to well written writing.
You write well.
Thank you, Sophia.
I completely agree with you about the reading. I'm from a very working class family and it wasn' t the norm to read much, but I did. By the time I was 8/9 years old I was reading novels, they weren't classy mind, Judith Krantz and Catherine Cookson! However, during that time I was elevated into a class of peers which were two years my senior because of my reading ability, comprehension and ability to write well. But, I suppose we have to bear in mind here that half of my class were taken out of lesson twice per week for remedial lessons, such was the ability of my peers.(remedial lessons, what a dreadful term!)
Later on, when I worked for the Probation Service, I worked with lots of offenders who weren't necessarily illiterate, but their literacy was very, very poor- I learnt a bit more about reading ( I obtained a City and Guilds 9281, I think it was, teaching basic skills to adults) Not exactly a massive qualification, but I did learn so much about reading and just recognising words, and learning that the tabloids in the UK are aimed at those with a reading age of around 10 years, how sad? Because these papers are the most influential amongst the majority of voters.
The quote is "show, don't tell", and it's from the mouth of Mark Twain. It is also obtuse nonsense; and if that is all the advice someone gives in their critique of your work, they are idiotic parrots.
Developmental editors, copy editors, and proofreaders DO get paid to critique writing because, just like talented authors, they have spent their lives reading and analyzing other people's writing. There are also technical considerations that editors are much better at than even the most talented storytellers -- the level of grammatical knowledge learned in grammar school is absolutely nothing compared to the level of expertise talented editors exhibit. They pore over style guides and grammar manuals and dissect everything they read. I'd wager that 99 out of 100 ninth graders couldn't identify a dangling modifier or know whether "after" is being used as an adverb or a preposition in a sentence (it's tricky).
Peer-editing should be taken with a grain of salt. Its purpose is merely to discuss a work and to offer simple advice concerning plot holes or inconsistencies in description. If someone actually thinks a classmate's advice will turn drivel into "War and Peace," they are sadly delusional, but I've never met anyone who believed that.
Most bestsellers pander to pop culture and a write formulaic garbage, anyway. Guess who makes it sound good? The editors.
A writer's voice takes time to develop. Stephen King, for example, probably has a lot a junk writing the public will never see. Yes, talent is mostly everything, but it takes time to draw it out. Having a flair for words is not enough to command a reader's interest for 100k words. Like all growth, it helps to share the experience with other like-minded people.
Thank you jambo87. You're exactly right. I couldn't have said it better. The critiquing I was talking about was the 99% of wannabe writers who go on writing communities and critique other writers. In fact, when they meet other writers, they immediately assume that's what one is supposed to.
You're absolutely right about the readers as well. I have an article here on hubpages about feedback for writers and I explain that it's readers - not wannabe writers - who can tell whether one can write or not.
I'm not sure about editors. One of my closest friends is a very highly placed editor for one of the best known international publishers. And she says she can't write (I take her word for it), but boy, can she set me straight when I garble something! I value her input deeply!
I respectfully disagree. Without the help of critique partners and beta readers I feel quite sure I would never have become a published author. Writing for a commercial audience was a craft I needed to learn, not some kind of purely innate gift.
Really? What book was published by whom?
Academic? Or fiction. And who published the book? From the quality of writing on your hub, you don't have an ounce of talent or rhythm.
Wow. I have no idea what I did to deserve that. FWIW I have published a textbook with Wiley and several novels with Samhain.
I guessed that. I erased my sentence several times to say that I bet it was academic. Academic writers can't write. That's why academic books are so difficult to read. Their phraseology and sentence structure is unwieldly. However, it doesn't matter because academic has a ready market. One doesn't buy the books because one enjoys reading them but because they are prescibed for students. You should read Jamie Whyte's book 'Crimes Against Logic,' where he mocks the sentences and pretentious language of academia. He was professor at Cambridge in the UK which is about as high up the ladder you can get. I'll take back what I say when you win a recognized prize for fiction or get published in a mainline magazine for fiction writing.
Samhain publishes romance novels. Which I write in a different mode from my texts or content pages. I leave it up to my readers to judge their worth. IMHO, I make my living from writing, and that is the only "quality" standard that matters to me.
IMHO, you can't write. Please give me the name of a fiction story that I can read. There is no flow in your hubs, and academic titles don't have flow either.
LOL. You think no one should get critiques from anyone except you, apparently. No thank you. I have my critique partners. They are also published novelists.
Sidestepping a request for evidence is evidence itself that you have never been published in terms of fiction. I don't critique other people's writing. I am making a statement that writing is a talent. One can learn the basics of literacy, i.e. grammar, punctuation, etc. However, it is honed through early reading and talent - which is an ear for language. There is a vast difference between literacy (which enables one to write academic books, letters, etc.) and creative fiction. It's the difference in art between someone who can draw a stick figure and someone who can paint a portrait.
If you had a fiction book pubished, you wouldn't have sidestepped the question by an ad hominem attack.
Psyche, you have elucidated the point exactly. YOU emphasized PUBLISHED WRITERS/NOVELISTS, not those who live in their own mind's universe and in fantasyland so to speak. There are some people out there are believe that they are THE COMPLETE ULTIMATE ARBITER so to speak.
The OP is one of them, she believes that she is THE ONE while the rest of us are TOTAL PEONS in her eyes. Hmmmmm..............read some of the hubs she published..............Well, Psyche, at least your hubs are MORE INTERESTING and WRITTEN FROM THE HEART. While the OP's are well......................can be aptly described as pedantic and robotic to say the least.
A good writer is one who writes from the heart and draws his/her audience into his/her world. He/she actual speaks TO the audience, not AT the audience. A good writer has command of the language, is accessible, and personable. A pedantic person who talks down to and speaks at the audience will NEVER be a good writer. Psyche, you are clearly in the first category whereas the OP is unfortunately in the second category.
The glossed over generalization about academic writing is absolutely absurd. Yes, literary criticism, one vein of academic writing, can be stilted and pedantic, but to say all of it is crap?
Fiction and academic writing are very different modes of writing. In fiction, sentence fragments, etc. , if used deftly, actually add to the rhythm and effect of the writing. Academic writers don't have that luxury, but their versatile use of denotations and connotations is worthy of awe, and deserve respect.
Sorry Sophia, but I just hear elitism in your voice.
Really, in all my academic writing, I scored well into the 90s. I also edited Ph.Ds and Masters degrees in London. That was my job. I think I understand academic writing. The only people who write it well are the one's that have a talent for writing.
Please don't confuse elitism with standards. I think a lot of people who want to believe that everybody is equal and capable of the same thing will down anyone who says that is not true.
Either I write to make a living, or (more rarely) I write for my own personal satisfaction, mostly to try and clarify my own thoughts/feelings on certain complex topics. In the second case, the quality standard is "have I succeeded in the clarification process?" And if it generates discussion, or other people come along and say "thanks for this, it's really helpful" or even "I thought I was the only person who felt this way", then that's a bonus.
Psycheskinner, what Sophia stated was totally inappropriate and unprofessional. You are an excellent writer and your topics are unique and intelligent unlike a "certain hubber" who ruthlessly critiqued you. At least your hubs are pleasant and enjoyable. It is so sad that the OP is so .........bitter.
WOW! Curiosity from your “farewell” thread brought me here. Having started reading this thread from the beginning, this post seems like an unprovoked attack. It’s disconcerting, and difficult to reconcile. Did you have some previous history with psycheskinner that contributed to you going off on him/her?
I don't expect to see an answer here from Sophia.
I, and this this strange because I don't usually bother to get to know folk, got to know Tessa as a unique and wonderful person.
At the same time, I (like all of us here) make snap judgements on our fellow peers, and I think psycheskinner is one of our fellow hubbers worth listening to.
It was therefore surprising to me to see a friend attack a friend.
Putting it all into perspective, I think we have witnessed something quite different.
I think Sophia wanted to see what would get her banned, and chose someone least likely to take offence. Am I right? Psycheskinner seems like a woman well able to take care of herself.
In the last few days, Sophia's hub views have gone through the roof, much to Sophia's surprise. She has something like 5 hubs left out of 200 odds.
Yet they are garnering views in their thousands?
Damn but I am doing something wrong!
You can have a go at me if you like Izzy. Willing to make the sacrifice if you want to experiment with getting banned as being a good traffic spinner. Promise not to get upset
Right, let's go for it!
You are em...English... and for what your nation did to my nation 200 years ago, you should be...emmm...shot.
Is that good enough to get banned?
Actually I have never to my knowledge been banned from anything here, but I do know black marks were made against my account because I dared to suggest unwanted puppies should be drowned.
I was half-joking, but only half.
See, I can't keep chickens because keeping them would mean killing them off at some stage.
My granny kept chickens. I remember her upset when the she killed a non-layer, to find a whole host of eggs inside.
I can't do the neck-turning thing.
Nor can I drown puppies or kittens. Doesn't mean I can;t joke about it.
I don't care what is said.
Puppies, gatitos, whatever, take second place to human babies. The day this site decides that animals take precedence, is the day I leave.
She shot me, she shot me!!!!! Trouble is Izzy, I'm 1/3 Scottish so make sure the bullet goes in the English part lol
Drowning is not a nice way to go. I almost drown so I should know. It's pathetic when people say cruel things and then weasle out by claming that they were 'half-joking'. What are you doing to help the human babies besides suggesting that other suffering things be drowned?
correction: I almost drowned.
So you can't be petty and correct me on that one.
correction: suffering creatures.
A lot of people make these cruel suggestions and then say that they couldn't do the killing themselves so they phrase the suggestion in passive voice, "unwanted puppies should be drowned". Who's going to actually do the drowning? Not them; they don't want to get their hands dirty. People who make these suggestions make good armchair executioners.
You are correct; that nasty comment was designed solely to collect data and experience to write an "expose" of HubPages. Just as the "goodbye" thread was designed primarily to collect followers to read new articles.
Psycheskinner need take no offense or harbor suspicions the comment was true - I suspect that it was coincidental that she was on the receiving end, that it didn't matter who it was as long as the goal of being banned was accomplished.
I am confused, where is my ad hom, I don't think I have said anything about you personally at all (and I know nothing about you)?
So far our discussion has been me saying I find critique partners valuable, you declaring I suck as a writer and asking who published me, my reply that it was Wiley and Samhain, your demand that I should submit a writing sample to you to prove my worth, and me saying I feel no need to do so because I already have all the critique partners I need.
IMHO I seem to have annoyed you and it was not my intent. I was just sharing my perspective. It is what it is. I have nothing more to say on this topic.
To quote what you said, "I respectfully disagree. Without the help of critique partners and beta readers I feel quite sure I would never have become a published author. Writing for a commercial audience was a craft I needed to learn, not some kind of purely innate gift."
I don't consider academic writing to be creative writing which is what one needs talent for. It's requires ordinary literacy that everybody can be taught. That is what is used for academia.
Everybody can be taught basic literacy.
Can writing be taught?
http://grammar.about.com/u/ua/writerson … ghtuga.htm
Okay, I have to smile. I thought that this topic had fallen flat. I appears not.
I'm with you on this one...good grief! Or is that one word?
I like to hear the positively voiced opinions of anyone willing to give it. I may not agree with it or change anything based on the information but the fact is that critics, whether professional or not are needed. We need to know what the opinions of professionals are to judge our work. I don't mind all the others because what they like they buy whether it is good or not. Perfect example would be the claims made against 50 shades... many professionals said that it could have been written better but the people dove into the topic just the same and it is still a best seller.
In essence I don't completely disagree with you. One line, vague comments and negatively toned comments is not a critique to me. It doesn't offer any information that can be used for improvement. It falls under the category of judgement to me which is useless.
agreed,... read through this entire thread,... seems to be a self indulgent diatribe
I think creative writing is more difficult to critique. Being as I'm not a creative writer though, that could be why!
On the other hand, having a fresh set of eyes does help when you write something that isn't necessarily clear, or, like the example you used, isn't developed the way it could be. I work in a writing lab, so I see people improve on a regular basis after bringing in their papers throughout the semester.
I think the really good writers are following some rules that are not necessarily EXPLICIT to them, so it seems like it is just talent. This is just speculation though.
Everyone has the right to write and nobody should be silenced (unless they are writing hate literature-then they can keep it to themselves or they can share it with fellow haters).
A lot of people have been injured by the school system. They've been told that they could not write. At University, when most writing involves academic papers and nothing creative, people can become disheartened and they begin to doubt their ability to write. In my opinion, the University often punishes you for being creative. I had a professor who glared at me when I wanted to read one of my poems in class (an English class). Another professor was supportive. I gave her a short story to read and she could have ripped me to pieces but she didn't; she was honest but encouraging.
I read this thread with great interest. Based on your posts, I feel that you all would enjoy this book:
The Beauty of the Beastly
by Natalie Angier
I read it recently and passed it on to a friend. Ms. Angier is a science writer and this book is fascinating non-fiction.
I know the secret of getting an account permanently banned from posting in the forums and it does not need to involve anyone else.
Sneak into HP, pull the plug and cut the end off of it.
You will find it difficult to believe but it happened to me and I hope this is not seen as diverting the OPs posting topic.
This came about when if I recall this right, I was sick of seeing trolls having conversations with two ids to stir up trouble. So, I posted an example of it openly using this and my other account. I even stated openly what I was doing, cannot remember if I explained the reason why. Now if ever I am logged into the second account and forget which one it is, I am reminded that I am banned from posting. Useful really as it saves confusion for myself and others, when I forget who I am at that moment
BTW The second account is only used for posting hubs on a different topic.
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