How is a Raven Like a Writing Desk?

Haven’t a clue. Maybe the Lewis Carroll needed a good critique

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“Critique” a detailed analysis and assessment of something, esp. a literary, philosophical,or political theory.

I’ve been writing and receiving critiques lately, as I signed up for Scribophile after winning NaNoWriMo–they had some goodie for winners so I thought I’d explore it. So far, I’m finding it quite wonderful.

Now, as some of you may know, I am not the most up to date when it comes to social media. I don’t own a cell phone (on purpose), am still not sure what Twitter is really for (though I’ve had an account for 6 months), and my Facebook account is for the purpose of promoting my blog, and keeping track of the next high school reunion. Scribophile uses many aspects of social media these days, with “favorites”, “badges”, cute profiles, etc., but still supplies a venue where writers can provide and receive solid critiques on their work.

Scribophile uses Karma points, an added, social-medial-like feature that I think is interesting. You must critique others’ work, and do it well, to earn enough Karma to be able to post your own writing for critique. A tit for tat, I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine type of deal. From what I have seen looking at people’s profiles, reading others’ work and the critiques they’ve gotten, it seems to be working like a charm.

I’ve gotten three solid critiques on the one piece I posted, and that was great. But, the critiquing of other people’s writing has been almost invaluable. There’s something about really studying a piece of writing to find weaknesses or flaws, then translating it right back into your own writing. One minute I’m telling Fairylover that she uses way too many adverbs after her dialog tags and that it weakens the flow of her story; they aren’t providing the kind of detail that brings the scene to life. Then, what do you know, I’m rereading my latest chapter, and WHAM, there’s a bunch of darn, wimpy adverbs after my dialog tags, making my manuscript look amateur.

Or, in another situation, I read a critique on another’s piece of work that pointed out how the author over used “filter” words. Hum, what are these? (Click here to find out.) Do I use them? Holy crap, only about two hundred times in the novel I’m getting ready to publish. Yikes! I better post all my chapters on Scribophile first, and maybe pay for a “premium membership” so I can get 7 critiques per piece, instead of the freebie three.

I guess the moral of this meandering story is that critiquing is as good for you as it is for the one receiving the critique. Moreover, if you don’t have the time/ desire/ ability to get a group of writers together in your community to form a critique group, don’t worry. You can find it virtually. Granted, Scribophile does not come with snacks or wine. You’ll have to supply that for yourself. But hey, good news is you don’t have to share the bottle.

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