Alias Smith and Jones Writers

A forum devoted to writers of Alias Smith and Jones Fan Fiction
 
HomePortalGalleryFAQSearchRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : 1, 2  Next
AuthorMessage
skykomish

avatar

Posts : 171
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 59
Location : usa

PostSubject: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:42 pm

Hello Everyone!  I was reading through the latest chat archives and came across a few comments which started me thinking.  I am going to copy some of those comments below.

"I think readers can give comments or disagree, but should never be mean or discouraging. Sorry that happened."

"I agree ... I know there are times a story does not hit me right but I try not to say anything discouraging."

"I agree that folks can give positive criticism, but should not be negative criticism. We learn and can improve with positive criticism."


I would love to hear your thoughts about honest, but negative feedback.  The questions below will hopefully start this conversation.

1.    Is it possible that a comment that is discouraging to one person can be constructive criticism to a different person?

2.    If we never say what we don't like in a story, are we being less than honest with one another?

3.    Can we grow as writers if we only hear what is good and not what did not work for some readers?

4.    Do you only want to read and hear positive comments about your work, or do you want to know when your work felt unrealistic, out of character, or less than believable to some readers?

5.    Do you think a comment is mean or discouraging simply because it is not a compliment to your writing or your story?

6.    Do you think that all of the comments we write need to be flattering?

7.    If you think someone has written a story that you find unbelievable, or has written Heyes or Curry in a way that is not consistent with the characters in the series, will you try to gently tell the author this, or will you just find something nice to say and leave the rest unsaid?

Part of the reason I am asking these question is that this is a writers forum.  I expect us to give honest feedback to one another.  I have been taken to task on a story more than once.  I truly appreciate the honesty and hope that my work improved because some of you were candid enough to tell me that a character was off or something didn't seem realistic to you.    

Please let us all know your thoughts.
Back to top Go down
Penski
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 1215
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 56
Location : Northern California

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:08 am

I'm glad you asked, Skykomish!  We are a writing forum and can all benefit from criticism of a story.

1.    Is it possible that a comment that is discouraging to one person can be constructive criticism to a different person?
Absolutely!  Some people are very sensitive and can take little to no criticism.

2.    If we never say what we don't like in a story, are we being less than honest with one another?
Yes.  I think it's the way you say it and where.  Usually, I will email or pm what I don't like or what doesn't ring true in a story.

3.    Can we grow as writers if we only hear what is good and not what did not work for some readers?
Definitely not!  That's why I always encourage writers to have a beta-reader.

4.    Do you only want to read and hear positive comments about your work, or do you want to know when your work felt unrealistic, out of character, or less than believable to some readers?
I have learned so much and my writing has improved from hearing positive and "negative" comments.  I do want to know when something doesn't sound right and especially if Heyes / Curry seem out of character.

5.    Do you think a comment is mean or discouraging simply because it is not a compliment to your writing or your story?
I think it depends on how the comment is made and where it is made.

6.    Do you think that all of the comments we write need to be flattering?
Nope!  We can't grow as writers and no one writes a perfect story.

7.    If you think someone has written a story that you find unbelievable, or has written Heyes or Curry in a way that is not consistent with the characters in the series, will you try to gently tell the author this, or will you just find something nice to say and leave the rest unsaid?
Or option 3 - if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all.  I normally will tell a writer, usually in a pm or email, what doesn't work for me.  If they are not receptive to the comment, I usually stop commenting on that story and most of their stories.

By the way, if you're considering writing for Virtual Season, you have to be willing to take the good and the bad comments from your peers and producers.  All comments are made to make your good story even better.

_________________
h
"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
Back to top Go down
Calico

avatar

Posts : 542
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 52
Location : Birmingham

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Mon Aug 05, 2013 8:18 am

Hello Sky, I'll have a play...

1.    Is it possible that a comment that is discouraging to one person can be constructive criticism to a different person?

Yup, absolutely.  Some folk are delicate plants.  Some are hardy old thistles.

2.    If we never say what we don't like in a story, are we being less than honest with one another?

Of course we are being less than honest.  And a good thing too.  In the same way that after making an effort and then asking 'How do I look?' I don't want - not in public anyhow -  to hear haggard / tired / droopy / just plain dang old and plain!  I want my husband to say I'm beautiful and my friends to say 'Hey, great shoes!'  
Of course a discrete - and private - 'You've got spinach on your teeth' is always helpful.


3.    Can we grow as writers if we only hear what is good and not what did not work for some readers?

No - but 1) This is a hobby.  If we were doing it professionally the lack of orders (payments) are the clue we're not pleasing our public.
2) Being honest - I only want to please SOME of the readers MOST of the time.    The bright crowd - with the correct (Calico loving) sense of humour.  (Teasing)   Seriously - I'm not trying to please folk who like hurt / comfort, am I?


4.    Do you only want to read and hear positive comments about your work, or do you want to know when your work felt unrealistic, out of character, or less than believable to some readers?

I don't mind hearing THAT at all.  That's not really the bug bear though is it?  
I wouldn't want to hear 'dull, repetitive, derivative, inarticulate, dreary, over-long, what on earth is the point of this supposed to be...'  not on a public board.
Because - if I wrote it, it's not boring to me, is it?   I must have enjoyed it!  I'll be all chuffed with it!  
Now, if somebody says 'unrealistic' that's okay- if I'm new to world of fanfic, I'll be thinking 'Whoopee - I can change their mind by discussing it until their ears bleed!  I can talk about MY story, which I've only just finished and which fills my mind and which I love to bits, until they give up agree with me'


Now, if I've asked for a private HONEST beta - that's what I want.  Including the 'I had to stop here 'cos I'd lost will to live' comments and the 'just change one tiny detail - the words'.   Seriously - if I ask for an honest beta, I want an honest beta with comments.  If I ask for a grammar and sense beta - I just want corrections / typos / plot holes.

5.    Do you think a comment is mean or discouraging simply because it is not a compliment to your writing or your story?

Nope.  Anyone who makes a comment read the dang thing - that is opposite of mean and discouraging.

6.    Do you think that all of the comments we write need to be flattering?

Nope.  They can be purely - and carefully - non commital.    
(Of course - they may be non commital 'cos you're time strapped too!)
They cannot be truly constructive on a PUBLIC board because a) you'll risk crushing a delicate plant.  b) to be genuinely constructive you have to offer rewritten alternatives and it takes ages.  SO  c) you cannot be constructive to everyone   SO d) you are implicitly risking interpretation that some stories are worth being constructive on, SO e) you risk hurting a tender plant by omission...  



7.    If you think someone has written a story that you find unbelievable, or has written Heyes or Curry in a way that is not consistent with the characters in the series, will you try to gently tell the author this, or will you just find something nice to say and leave the rest unsaid?

I would only tell an author this if they had asked for an honest beta WITH comments.   Besides, as I said before - unbelievable or not consistent is not really the problem, is it?  I'm prepared to hear it's not believable they walk into the Rover's Return.   What would spoil my day would be:  "Yawn, same old, same old - think's she's funny."
Back to top Go down
FrankieASJ

avatar

Posts : 178
Join date : 2012-04-21
Age : 52
Location : Devon

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:50 am

I'll play too!

When I comment on a story it's generally because I've enjoyed it and want to let the writer know. If a story is 'not my cup of tea' I stop reading so don't feel in a position to comment. study 

If I am privately asked to read a story I will give honest but brief synopsis. Not patient enough to nit pick every point. I will be more positive than negative unless something is glaringly wrong. Saying that most writers have a good grasp of the format. It's hard work writing stories so I try to be constructive.

As for people criticizing my stories - as long as it's constructive and relevant I have no problem. The only really negative comment I've had was about the language I used in one story - left anonymously. It was upsetting at first but I stuck to my belief that it was in keeping with the character I had created. I tend to keep my stories pretty PG but I do like a bit of gritty reality at times so. if readers don't like it do as I do and stop reading! reading 

If you want to develop as a writer then you have to learn to take criticism. Saying that, this is more relevant for those who have ideas of writing more professionally. My hubby, who works in TV and has to read lots of scripts, many of which he says are terrible, says that they get well aid as they have to deal with having their work ripped apart, with whole scenes and characters removed. Sometimes it's not beneficial to the storyline but writers have to learn to adapt to please. padded 

Most on Fanfic sites write for their own amusement and in the hope they will entertain others but they are making their work public so should be prepared for comment - both positive and negative. Before leaving a comment consider the 'Do unto others ....' philosophy and don't be unnecessarily harsh. Very Happy 

_________________
'If I hadn't seen such riches I could live with being poor.'
Back to top Go down
Penski
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 1215
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 56
Location : Northern California

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Mon Aug 05, 2013 12:27 pm

I think all writers should have a beta-reader, one who reads before it is posted and is honest about the characters of the boys, makes sure there is no plot problems, and watches for grammar. A good beta-reader will discover problems before it's posted and inform the writer in a private manner.

I rarely do not change something that my beta-reader has pointed out to me. She's invaluable and makes my good stories even better!

A good beta-reader can help avoid any negative comments or positive criticism.

_________________
h
"Do you ever get the feeling that nothing right is ever going to happen to us again?" - Kid Curry
Back to top Go down
FrankieASJ

avatar

Posts : 178
Join date : 2012-04-21
Age : 52
Location : Devon

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:16 pm

Remember - BETA readers are your friends! sm

_________________
'If I hadn't seen such riches I could live with being poor.'
Back to top Go down
HelenWest

avatar

Posts : 388
Join date : 2013-01-13
Age : 56
Location : USA

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:36 pm

This is a very interesting string with some great comments.

I think one of the things that makes it even harder to please all of the people all of the time is that while we are writing about characters with the same names and basic attributes, each of us has her or his own versions of them. Each of our "worlds" is a bit different. So one person's Heyes or Kid is not quite like another person's. If a person has a criticism of my character's consistency within my own stories, then well and good. I am always glad to hear it and take it into account. I might disagree, but if things aren't coming off the way I think they are, then I need to know it.

When it comes to being ready to take criticism, the reviewer needs to be held to the same standards as the writer. Reviewers are no more perfect than are writers, so it works better if they are open to some give and take. There may be things going on on the writer's end of which they are unaware - including the setting up of future plot points.

And, of course, in the end, on creative matters, we may need to agree to disagree. We may be coming from different experiences and different creative points of view. We just need to try to be respectful of each other in both directions. I really respect when someone is thoughtful in what they write in reviews and private messages. I really appreciate their reading my stuff in the first place and their taking time to think and to write about it.
HW
Back to top Go down
Ghislaine Emrys
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 666
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 33
Location : Arizona

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:32 pm

This is my third attempt at posting a response to these questions; the first disappeared into cyberspace when it somehow got accidentally deleted, and I didn't have time to finish my second attempt.  Here's hoping #3 will be the charm!

skykomish wrote:

I would love to hear your thoughts about honest, but negative feedback.  The questions below will hopefully start this conversation.

1.    Is it possible that a comment that is discouraging to one person can be constructive criticism to a different person?
Perhaps, but I think it's more likely that the comments would just be interpreted differently by different people.  Especially if the writer and commenter don't know each other especially well.


2.    If we never say what we don't like in a story, are we being less than honest with one another?
I don't think it's really being less than honest.  It's just not giving the complete picture.  It might be a little misleading if the writer thinks that because there was nothing negative mentioned, there was nothing negative to be remarked on, whereas the commenter might just not have wanted to give negative feedback.

3.    Can we grow as writers if we only hear what is good and not what did not work for some readers?
No, I don't believe we can.  If we only hear the good, I think there would be the tendency to just repeat what works over and over, and not stretch as a writer or try new things.  If something didn't work for a reader, I think it's useful to know what that was; perhaps only one reader felt that way and if so, then s/he is an outlier but if many people had the same reaction, then analyzing why could be useful for the writer.  But, if something didn't work for a reader only because s/he didn't like it, and doesn't provide any specific reason why or says it's just not the style that reader likes, then that kind of comment won't help a writer develop her/his skills and, I think, need not be taken in the same way as other comments that are more useful.

4.    Do you only want to read and hear positive comments about your work, or do you want to know when your work felt unrealistic, out of character, or less than believable to some readers?
No, I want to hear what readers both liked and what they didn't like.  Obviously, I prefer comments that say how wonderful a story is but it's the comments that address plot holes, mis-characterizations, and unrealistic events that are more helpful in the long term.  And although I have to let the constructive criticism-type comments percolate in my brain for a few days before I can rationally deal with them, when my brain is ready to think about them, they almost all make a good deal of sense and I can/do accept their validity.

5.    Do you think a comment is mean or discouraging simply because it is not a compliment to your writing or your story?
Conceivably, it could be but, again, I think that's a question of interpretation.  If a writer and beta reader do not know each other very well--because they haven't had much interaction with each other--then it could happen that a comment that the beta reader thinks is okay is not taken that way by the writer.  And, if there are more comments trending to the negative than the positive, then I would say that would definitely be discouraging.  I think if a person commenting on a story is a beta reader, there needs to be a balance between the positive and negative comments.

6.    Do you think that all of the comments we write need to be flattering?
No, but if they are not flattering, they need to be constructive in their criticism.  But offering constructive criticism is an art.  Here are three websites with information on how to do that:

http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/comm440-540/criticism.htm

http://writeanything.wordpress.com/2009/07/29/giving-constructive-criticism/

http://www.creativewritersdesk.com/Creative_Writers_Ezine-give-and-recieve-constructive-criticism.html

7.    If you think someone has written a story that you find unbelievable, or has written Heyes or Curry in a way that is not consistent with the characters in the series, will you try to gently tell the author this, or will you just find something nice to say and leave the rest unsaid?
Most likely, I will send a private message to the writer.  I don't want to embarrass them on a public forum but if it's something I feel strongly about and want to let the writer know, that's how I do it.  Most stories I read, I can find something complimentary to say; if I don't, then I won't comment at all.  


I expect us to give honest feedback to one another.  I have been taken to task on a story more than once.  
I appreciate honest, well-meaning feedback.  All my stories that are beta read have garnered lots of comments on how to improve them.  I appreciate the time and trouble my beta reader took to help me improve my work.

I truly appreciate the honesty and hope that my work improved because some of you were candid enough to tell me that a character was off or something didn't seem realistic to you.
Well, I know that my writing has improved because of comments I've received.

_________________
This is one of my schemes... ~ Hannibal Heyes

http://commentaryasaj.blogspot.com/
http://asjmoviewesternsetc.blogspot.com/
Back to top Go down
http://asjmoviewesternsetc.blogspot.com/
BeeJay
Admin
avatar

Posts : 580
Join date : 2012-04-21
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:42 pm

I agree almost entirely with Ghislaine's response. I know I could not express a response as well as she did, and it would be mostly. I do differ from her view slightly on questions 1 and 2.

1) Yes. One writer can perceive constructive criticism as negative and another perceive it as helpful advice.

2) Again, yes. It may be a 'little white lie', or be less than honest by omission, but we aren't being entirely honest. But it isn't always necessary or helpful to be entirely honest.(Why do I think of Heyes and the Kid here?) Some people are here entirely for the fun of writing, some want the criticism.

Thank you for the links, Ghislaine. I 'perused' them. The one on word press needs to be beta read!

I like the advice of putting your story aside after it comes back from being beta read. I've done that, and I think it works well. Also, keeping in mind how hard both the writer and beta reader have worked; trying to see the story/the editing from the other's perspective. Excellent links.

_________________
I read part of it all the way through. Samuel Goldwyn
Back to top Go down
http://asjbuckshot.forumotion.com/
WichitaRed
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 471
Join date : 2012-12-07
Location : Wichita

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:25 am

First off I am going to comment (finally) on this topic before I read everyone else’s posts. I am going to attempt to be honest and hope I don’t stick my boot in my mouth or jump off the deep end at any point.

1. Is it possible that a comment that is discouraging to one person can be constructive criticism to a different person?
Oh most definitely, however it would all be in how the comment is written and how the person read it. Where one of us might read a comment and go “Well put…great idea…I should look into that.” Another person might read the same comment and go “I already checked that…I know I am right…who are they to say that”


2. If we never say what we don't like in a story, are we being less than honest with one another?
The blatant truth is YES. However, stories almost like artwork.
For example: Some people love abstract art and some people think it is nothing but trash. The same thing goes for stories. Some people love romance stories and some think they are trash. Some people love hurt stories and some think they are trash. Therefore, if I don’t like a tale where one of the boys are killed…I mean just plain don’t like it at all because I can’t get into it anymore than I can an abstract piece of art…who am I to critique the writing skills of that story? On the other hand, there have been spots here and there I have thought of saying something and yet I do not for fear of making a pariah of myself. So it is a difficult question overall.


3. Can we grow as writers if we only hear what is good and not what did not work for some readers?
I believe we cannot grow as writers if we do not hear both sides. Moreover, believing this makes my fear of becoming a pariah seem almost hypocritical. However, where does that put you as far as saying how a story could improve/change when once again it is only your opinion and ten others might have said it was all just perfect.

4. Do you only want to read and hear positive comments about your work, or do you want to know when your work felt unrealistic, out of character, or less than believable to some readers?
I want to hear positive comments, I can say that because I am being honest. However, if there is more I should hear I would like to. I was once told, the vernacular was incorrect on the dialogue in one of my tales. I re-read and saw I had overlaid the character from another stories vernacular on Heyes and had not even realized it. By, this insight I was able to go in and change the dialect and improved the story.

5. Do you think a comment is mean or discouraging simply because it is not a compliment to your writing or your story?
A comment can be forseen as mean/discouraging easily. My Mother always said beware of those who wear their hearts on their sleeves because they are the ones who will stab you in the back. Since, it is hard to know when you comment might be seen by a sleeve wearer it makes a person leery of making negative comments. There is also the fear once you have made a negative comment others will frown at you too. So how are these comments made without hurting an ‘artists’ feelings. I mean, critics are loathed round the world and they do not care because they are paid to be honest. But, what do you do within a group of friends. Myself, I would like to believe I can be open-minded and see the comment as it was intended. But, who knows we say I can take it…then it comes at you and you go ooooohhhh they hated it. Which we all know is false.

6. Do you think that all of the comments we write need to be flattering?
Flattery is wonderful but at the same time not always helpful. I enjoy reading my own feedback and I look for anything that gives me insight on what the reader really thought while delving for anything they might say which points toward improvements I might make.

7. If you think someone has written a story that you find unbelievable, or has written Heyes or Curry in a way that is not consistent with the characters in the series, will you try to gently tell the author this, or will you just find something nice to say and leave the rest unsaid?
I will say in this direct example, I am guilty of if you cannot say nothing nice do not say nothing at all. However, I can see too, after going through these questions how that can be even more damaging to the author. Who wants to be the author who is known as writing unbelievable gibberish.

Here is my question:
Should the negatives, be phrased correctly for all to see or sent in a private post?
I feel since it is a writer’s forum then we should post openly so we can discuss it. Maybe, Perhaps, Perchance we need another blog area.. We have “Awestruck Comments” however should there be another one which is “Might Consider” and by having this section it would be like the critique circle in a writers group.

_________________
Wichita Red, "I'm not really a rebel, but I take chances. I have a good time, and I live life the way I want to live it."  
Back to top Go down
http://www.redrockphotography.com
WichitaRed
Moderator
avatar

Posts : 471
Join date : 2012-12-07
Location : Wichita

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:52 am

Penski: I do want to know when something doesn't sound right and especially if Heyes / Curry seem out of character.
WR: I agree with Penski here, I want to know if I have the boys sounding…well not like the boys

Calico: 1) This is a hobby. 2) Being honest - I only want to please SOME of the readers MOST of the time.
WR: These are valuable points so how do you know when you are commenting…is this a writer who does it solely for fun and is out to please some of the readers or is this a writer really trying to improve and wants feedback which is helpful. Should there be a spot on our profile we fill out to answer this age old question?
Calico: Anyone who makes a comment read the dang thing - that is opposite of mean and discouraging.
WR: another well placed point, any comment at all does mean a person made it all the way through and hey that feels great in itself because it means you must be doing something worthwhile

FrankieASJ: If a story is 'not my cup of tea' I stop reading so don't feel in a position to comment.
WR: I agree here although I have to admit I have a pile of stories I need to comment on. Reading them on my phone and not where I can write out feedback.
FrankieASJ: The only really negative comment I've had was about the language I used in one story - left anonymously.
WR: I can say this…I have had an anonymous left on me too. If you are going to take the time to tell us what you feel is wrong and by doing so you believe you are helping us then PLEASE have the guts to sign your name to your comment or how helpful is it really? Because, we may have a question regarding your comment and speaking with you may open a whole new door of thought and fix a problem which could have been on-going for a writer.

Helen West: while we are writing about characters with the same names and basic attributes, each of us has her or his own versions of them. Each of our "worlds" is a bit different.
WR: exactly what I was saying…in many ways like Art so if you don’t get into that type of Art it makes it hard to comment.

Ghislaine Emrys: I think if a person commenting on a story is a beta reader, there needs to be a balance between the positive and negative comments.
WR: interesting idea all the way around…to put in one of each would make for very interesting feedbacks

BeeJay: Some people are here entirely for the fun of writing, some want the criticism.
WR: I have seen comments of this sort throughout this blog…so should there be a spot on our profiles that discern which ones we are??? I know it sounds odd but I write to improve and I would like feedback. I also understand those who write for fun that is all they are in for it...and that is awesome too.

_________________
Wichita Red, "I'm not really a rebel, but I take chances. I have a good time, and I live life the way I want to live it."  
Back to top Go down
http://www.redrockphotography.com
Tashmina

avatar

Posts : 22
Join date : 2013-08-03
Location : Toronto

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Tue Aug 13, 2013 3:58 pm

Okay, I'm going to swallow hard and speak up. There seems to be a great deal of sensitivity in this thread and also in things I picked up in chat which make me wonder if this is the place for me. I hope I'm not out of order as a new member pointing out that there seems to be a great, big elephant in the corner which people are dancing around.

I do think that a beta (or proof reader) is a contract which works both ways. Both parties need to discuss what they want from the process and agree how they will work together. Each relationship will be unique to the skills of the beta and dependent upon what the writers wants from the process and what a beta can offer. I do think that good, honest, two-way communication is the best way forward and can really help a writer to develop their skills if that is what they are looking for. The beta also needs to be open to listening to the writer and what works for them until they can come to a working agreement which will, hopefully, be a lot of fun for both of them. Let's face it -we are all here for fun.

It is also clear that there can be misunderstandings. When that happens surely it is best to communicate honestly; find out what was really meant and to understand and forgive. Just after I joined here I saw the comments on Wetpaint, which I did not know was connected to this site. I do hope that those hurt can forgive and forget to the point that they can hold out a hand to one another in friendship - otherwise that elephant is going to stink this place out.
Back to top Go down
skykomish

avatar

Posts : 171
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 59
Location : usa

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:46 pm

First I want to thank all of you who took the time to answer the questions on this thread.  It has been interesting and enlightening to read what everyone wrote.  

I guess the name I chose for the topic gives away my position on this subject.  

I truly enjoy honest and spirited debate about stories.  I enjoy hearing what people think about my stories, their own stories, and stories written by other people.  I like it best when several commentators disagree and are able to clearly support their differing positions.  It is when two or more opposing opinions are expressed well and thoughtfully, that I learn the most.  Often people notice something I missed, be it positive or negative, forcing me to re-evaluate my opinion or position.  This is how I learn.  I realize that not everyone feels this way.

I am not a masochist, but I truly appreciate the honesty of negative criticism, particularly when someone can tell me the specifics of what it is that bothers them in one of my stories or what doesn't ring true.  In some cases I have acted on the advice of others, though not always.  Below are some examples:

1. Chat on June 30 was my Christmas 2011 story, Midnight Light.  Hunkey Dorey had some very nice things to say about my writing in this story, but found the ending jarring and unbelievable. It ruined the story for her.  She was so apologetic when she relayed these thoughts, but in truth, I was very grateful for her candor.  In fact it made me think about the story, reminding me that I had intended the ending to be far more ambiguous and subtle than the version I posted.  I had meant to rework it, but was lazy and never got around to making the changes I intended.  I don't know if I will fix the story, but I certainly am grateful for HunkeyDorey's honesty.

2. Back in September of 2011 I wrote two stories and caught some flack on both of them.   Calico, quite accurately criticized the way I wrote a conversation with Kid Curry, Heyes, and Annabelle from The Girl in Boxcar Number 3.  She accused me of writing the Kid in a way that made him unlikable (at least during that conversation) and being self pitying.   SHE WAS RIGHT!!  I was so grateful for her comment.  I even made her pay for it, by requesting her help in fixing the story. She agreed, and a much stronger story was the result.  I received another negative comment that month on a different story which I agreed was accurate, but chose to not fix.  


Clearly we all have different standards for what is constructive criticism.  We also have different standards regarding character accuracy and story believability.  I don't agree with every comment I receive.  I don't agree with every comment I read about the stories written by others.  But I read and listen to all of these comments and evaluate them against my own standards.  Each time I do this is an opportunity to reassess how I am seeing the characters and what I wish to produce in my own stories.  This process helps me define what I think, what I like to read, and what I hope to communicate in my own writing.  I don't need to like the style of a story to profit from reading it and reading the comments about it.  I have often learned from stories that are not my particular cup of tea.  There is so much which I have yet to learn about writing, character development, how to draw in a reader and keep them wanting to turn the virtual page, and each of you have at one time or another taught me something about these things, even when you were writing a comment to another  author.   Thank you all.

One question for Tashmina- Tashmina wrote:  “There seems to be a great deal of sensitivity in this thread and also in things I picked up in chat which make me wonder if this is the place for me.”

Tash, I just want to make sure I understand what you meant with this sentence.  Do you mean that some of us seem overly sensitive, as in taking things too personally, or do you mean that people are being sensitive (as in careful and kind) in their remarks on this subject?  I hate to put you on  the spot, but I want to understand what you are “saying.”  Regardless of your intent with the above sentence, please give us a chance and don't leave.  Perhaps together we can-- to quote you again--”...forgive and forget to the point that they [or we] can hold out a hand to one another in friendship.”
Back to top Go down
InsideOutlaw

avatar

Posts : 803
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 61
Location : Colorado

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:44 am

I'm a little late responding to this, but real life has been crazy.  Here are my thoughts:

1.    Is it possible that a comment that is discouraging to one person can be constructive criticism to a different person? Yes, I think it can.  Everyone perceives things differently based on their own backgrounds and criticism that might be well-received by one person might be hurtful to another.  I remember how terrifying it was to post my first story and how sensitive I was to the commenting.  Now that I've been writing for awhile, I am more assured of what I write, and I am better able to appreciate honest feedback whether it is positive or negative.

2.    If we never say what we don't like in a story, are we being less than honest with one another?  Yes, it would be less than honest not to give your true opinion of a story.    

3.    Can we grow as writers if we only hear what is good and not what did not work for some readers?  No, we cannot, and as others have already said, you learn far more from negative criticism than you do from positive.  I always enjoy hearing what others have to say and I've learned a lot over the last year from the feedback, positive or negative, that I've received.

4.    Do you only want to read and hear positive comments about your work, or do you want to know when your work felt unrealistic, out of character, or less than believable to some readers?  Yes, I would definitely want to know, but I also have to acknowledge that every writer interprets the characters according to how they perceive them. Fan fiction writers have a difficult job of using beloved characters and creating their own world for them.  If I read something and I don't agree with the writer's general interpretation, I might not comment.  I try only to comment if I can do it constructively.

5.    Do you think a comment is mean or discouraging simply because it is not a compliment to your writing or your story? Not if it is offered in the spirit of helping to improve a story.  I also think reviewers need to exercise awareness that they are commenting on something very personal and proceed carefully with negative comments.

6.    Do you think that all of the comments we write need to be flattering?  I do not; only positive comments are not very helpful.

7.    If you think someone has written a story that you find unbelievable, or has written Heyes or Curry in a way that is not consistent with the characters in the series, will you try to gently tell the author this, or will you just find something nice to say and leave the rest unsaid?I would try to offer up the parts that kept my interest and comment on those.  I've never found myself in the position of disliking everything about a story.  I have read stories where I've found the concept unbelievable, but I felt it was unfair to comment on it because this is what the writer chose as a direction for the characters.  While I might not enjoy it, if it is well-written and executed, I will either find something good to comment on or I will not comment at all if I could not do so without rejecting the entire story.  As for the characterizations, I would comment on those as we are using already established characters and, if we stray too far from the Huggins characters, we may as well be writing original characters.

WichitaRed wrote:Should the negatives, be phrased correctly for all to see or sent in a private post?
 I have no trouble with negative comments about my stories being posted for others to see, but I usually prefer to respond to these (if I have some 'splainin' to do) in a PM so that I can get some back and forth with the reviewer and learn from it.  The commenter should always be prepared to say why they didn't like about the story and to offer an opinion on how it could be improved.

This was a very interesting discussion and an important one, too!  We are all here to help each other become better writers.  Thanks for bringing this up, Sky!
Back to top Go down
Tashmina

avatar

Posts : 22
Join date : 2013-08-03
Location : Toronto

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:02 pm

Hi Skykomish,

I am happy to clarify, and also to explain what made me swallow hard before posting. If this means I am to leave too, then so be it.

I genuinely believe that the Beta process needs to be a two way street with honest and open feedback with both parties prepared to listen. Communication is as much (if not more) about listening as it is about talking. I know I'll never be any kind of writer if I can't take things on board with an open spirit but I also feel that I can't 'play' with people who don't operate in that way either. I think I have found a lovely person to help me with my writing so there are wonderful positives on here, but I have detected vibes and I just think it would be less than honest of me to ignore that. I am the kind of person who is affected by unhappiness in those around me and I'm not the type to 'pass by on the other side."

In my first chat I was directed to the story on Wetpaint and up flashed some very concerning comments regarding bullying. When I returned to chat somebody mentioned a name and said how much they missed her which was soundly reiterated. People got embarrassed when I asked where she had gone and clearly did not feel able to answer in that forum. The two things combined caused me to wonder what I had wandered into and I pm'd a few people to get some background. What I got back were messages urging me not to leave the board, but also explaining that a very popular writer had just left and that there was disquiet about the way an incident had been handled. All versions told a consistent tale and voiced unhappiness that somebody, who had been caught up in an incident involving another member who was said to have behaved badly, and had resigned to try to close the incident down.

I have been told that people, probably not all, but certainly some, feel very strongly about her account being deleted very quickly without being contacted directly by the forum owner and that her account on another linked site was also deleted in the same way without having resigned from that one. Concerns have been expressed to me that the writer concerned seemed to have less 'rights to a hearing' than the Producers, and that people felt she should have been told that she had no need to go at all and feel her loss from the site, as well as others who spoke up for her.


Skykomish wrote: 'One question for Tashmina: "There seems to be a great deal of sensitivity in this thread and also in things I picked up in chat which make me wonder if this is the place for me. Tash, I just want to make sure I understand what you meant with this sentence.”'

Sky- Concerns have been expressed to me that some feel they have less of a voice here than others and stepping around that issue is the sensitivity to which I referred. The timing of the start of this thread seemed a bit too coincidental to me to be completely unrelated and I think this thread is an attempt to address developments in a way which isn't fraught with emotion. I truly applaud that, but the 'elephant' to which I referred in my earlier post sits around what isn't being aired or put away neatly. I am very sensitive to undercurrents and picked up on all this very quickly. I cannot be the only one feeling that there are unresolved issues.

When I said: "I do hope that those hurt can forgive and forget to the point that they can hold out a hand to one another in friendship - otherwise that elephant is going to stink this place out." I think people need to talk: honestly and openly so they can resolve this. I really do; and I think they can and want to, but what is happening now doesn't seem to be working; not for everyone.

Anyway - I have my bags packed ready to be shown the door, but sometimes it does need a fresh eye to point out the pachyderm sized holes in the baseboards.
Back to top Go down
BeeJay
Admin
avatar

Posts : 580
Join date : 2012-04-21
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:19 pm

Briefly:

in reference to what occurred:

ad hominem comments had been made about some members by other members. I really  have no problems with criticisms about methodology(complaints about what someone does, and I certainly have had plenty), but I don't care for personal comments about members by other members. I only post about something like that when I see it, or it is brought to my attention, more than once. I spoke to the board at large, not to any particular person in that post.

I do realize some members didn't see the difference between criticism about what someone does, and ad hominem about a person or people.

I don't like posting about problems of that sort between members because I know it will result in all sorts of strife. I know I'll catch flack(hey, it comes with the territory), and all sorts of things assumed, when only part of what is happening is evident on the board.

Yes, some members did say they didn't want to be here, and I took them at their word. I simply don't believe in second guessing people. I don't believe it is right to assume someone means other than what they have said.

I do tend to talk and write in a rather abrupt manner. I actually have only a very limited amount of time to spend on the boards; keeping them up and running uses up most of that time, so I suppose I tend to sound short.

Possibly, that leads to the interpretation that I feel upset when I am not.

Other than that, this is not something I am going to get into it all over again.

_________________
I read part of it all the way through. Samuel Goldwyn


Last edited by BeeJay on Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
http://asjbuckshot.forumotion.com/
BeeJay
Admin
avatar

Posts : 580
Join date : 2012-04-21
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:05 pm


Well, maybe a bit more...If you are perplexed about ad hominem:

If I beta a story and tell the writer, ' I think this paragraph or that paragraph is a little lengthy. Maybe x and y aren't needed or they can be condensed. That would tighten up your story,' I would hope that would be constructive criticism the writer could think about. You could open up a dialog with that.

If I say ' I think you are windy and boring,' that is ad hominem.

Now there is nothing wrong with the words windy and boring; they're actually pretty innocuous in themselves. It isn't like saying someone is a b-tch. They aren't nasty words. But would you say to someone they are boring, and expect a dialog? And, if you wouldn't say it to them, would you say it about them to others on the forum where they could see it?

scratch The internet is a funny place isn't it?

_________________
I read part of it all the way through. Samuel Goldwyn
Back to top Go down
http://asjbuckshot.forumotion.com/
Tashmina

avatar

Posts : 22
Join date : 2013-08-03
Location : Toronto

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:19 pm

Beejay said: 'The internet is a funny place isn't it?'

Hmm, not always. Sometimes it can be very unfunny.

Somebody forwarded the email trail to me and I get the feeling the person concerned felt they weren't talking behind backs. From what she wrote I saw that she had good reason to think she was speaking to a moderator who was connected to the very group under discussion. Also the term used to me as an English person means dismissive or not particularly interested in another's point of view. Hardly a hanging offence.

I'm not getting your point of view so I'm going to PM you.
Back to top Go down
Maz

avatar

Posts : 400
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 55
Location : London, England

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:47 pm


As far as my stories are concerned I only want to be told they are wonderful. Very Happy 

I write them to entertain myself and then sharing them with others is a bonus..where upon said others are required to be gushing in their praise.
thankyou 
My betas are allowed to suggest things that if changed might help the flow of the story and of course they may occasionally be right! Purr.purr  

I am a delicate flower and as I am not writing for payment only enjoyment that’s what writing needs to be for me..enjoyable. coffee 

I don’t want anyone to take away that enjoyment.No 

If I read a story I don’t like because it is not my style or I think “Sheesh like that would ever happen!” I don’t say anything or I am general in my comments…”Wow you certainly know your trees!”Rolling Eyes 

If I write for the VS I am aware that there are certain ‘rules’ to follow and I do my best to follow them. If I don’t agree with the producers I will throw a hissy fit and sulk…after which I will contact them via the interweb and offer to remove the offending comma. After all I did agree to follow the darn rules. If I totally, definitely, stamp-my-foot do not agree then I send Kid over to shoot them.bandit 

I was not around when all the hoo-ha happened so cannot comment on either the hoo or the ha.
However, it does seem a real shame that something we are involved in through a shared love of the boys, a love of ASJ and all those teenage memories should  lead to some of the gang falling out. After all, didn’t we all come here to escape from real life?colors 

_________________
Obstacles are put in our way to see if we really want something or only thought we did: Edison
Back to top Go down
BeeJay
Admin
avatar

Posts : 580
Join date : 2012-04-21
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:31 pm

Laughing Maz you are delightfully honest! I only beta the occasional VS story, but if I were a Kidette I would definitely volunteer to beta one of yours. I am certain I could think up a nefarious and convoluted scheme in which I would avoid being shot and entrap the blond outlaw. I think you need to be careful or you might lose him to one of the producers.

_________________
I read part of it all the way through. Samuel Goldwyn
Back to top Go down
http://asjbuckshot.forumotion.com/
Keays

avatar

Posts : 425
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 60
Location : Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Sat Aug 17, 2013 5:57 pm

Well, as for myself I think I'm a little of both. I really appreciate honesty about my ability as a writer and any suggestions concerning grammar or sentence structure I really appreciate. Also if the story flows and catches and holds your attention etc.

As for characterizations? 'Oh I don't see the boys doing that!' sort of thing. Keep your comments to yourself. We all have our own visions of who they are and we all write for different reasons. I like to push the envelope, not only for myself as a writer, but with the characters as well. I want to put them into situations that push their limits and challenge their beliefs and moral standing. If you don't like it, tough, don't read it. But if you're going to make comments about it, at least have the consideration to read the whole thing in the first place.

I've read through many stories that I've found not to my liking, but I read them for chat and then try to show honest appreciation for the aspects of it that I did like. As for the things that I didn't like, I can keep that to myself.

_________________
Well, if you don't get killed, I think it's good!
Back to top Go down
BeeJay
Admin
avatar

Posts : 580
Join date : 2012-04-21
Location : California

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:56 pm

WR: "I have seen comments of this sort throughout this blog…so should there be a spot on our profiles that discern which ones we are??? I know it sounds odd but I write to improve and I would like feedback. I also understand those who write for fun that is all they are in for it...and that is awesome too. "

I did see this WichitaRed, and got around to it today. "Good idee." Yes, you can now indicate if you are open to criticism, and can indicate what type of criticism. This is in your profile options and will show up on all your messages under your avatar. We'll give it a try and see how it works out.

Now, not everyone is going to remember this at all times and it won't show up in the chat room. So it might be a good idea when you have a story of yours up for chat that you let me know your preference again, and I'll add that info next to your story on the schedule.

_________________
I read part of it all the way through. Samuel Goldwyn
Back to top Go down
http://asjbuckshot.forumotion.com/
Keays

avatar

Posts : 425
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 60
Location : Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:46 pm

Good idea BeeJay!

_________________
Well, if you don't get killed, I think it's good!
Back to top Go down
Calico

avatar

Posts : 542
Join date : 2012-04-22
Age : 52
Location : Birmingham

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:59 am

May I just point out that Maz's chief beta is not occassionally right.

She - whoever she may be - is ALWAYS right.

And clever.

And silky.

And anonymous.


egcat 






Back to top Go down
Tashmina

avatar

Posts : 22
Join date : 2013-08-03
Location : Toronto

PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:38 am

Maz - I loved the humour in your post, your stories are a hoot too. I wanted to reassure you, and others, that I am not trying to stir up trouble. I'm actually trying to help. There is still a lot of anger on the board, even if you're not aware of it and I have tried to point to a way forward through PMs with various people.

I work as professional mediator and I find that ignoring anger often leads to problems further down the line.

I think that HD's posts on the 'Home to Roost' page put a new light on the whole issue and may help some hurt people understand that there was no attack on the producers. It seems it was a comment on the process. I personally found the postings to be illuminating and think they may go some way towards showing there is a great deal more common ground between both sides than some may have considered.

I hope that, in turn, will help build some bridges.

http://asjfanfiction.wikifoundry.com/thread/5137134/Comments+for+Home+To+Roost?offset=20&maxResults=20
Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?   

Back to top Go down
 
Truth or Platitudes: What do You want to hear?
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 2Go to page : 1, 2  Next
 Similar topics
-
» Interview with Yvette Nicole Brown, Actor in The Ugly Truth
» Gerard Butler charmingly tells "The Ugly Truth" - LA Times
» The truth about our economy in 2 minutes
» Time for Truth by Jesus Villalobos
» Question about Reinforce Truth

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Alias Smith and Jones Writers  :: The Discussion Spot :: Tangentially Related to ASJ-
Jump to: