Welcome to my blog!

I'm a divorced mom with a teenage daughter and two pre-teen sons. Writing is my first love. When I'm not writing or working or playing taxi to the kids, I also toy with photography and baking.

So, basically, my camera rarely sees the light of day and my mixer stands in the corner in permanent time-out.

To see some samples of my writing, you can check out my website: www.csrickard.com

Monday, May 4, 2009

Maybe I'm going a bit too far?

I just submitted my first full critique on critters yesterday afternoon. The story was horror, of which I'm not a huge fan. However, I didn't let that deter me from doing the best I could to critique.

Critters requires a minimum of 500 words per critique in order to get 'full credit' for the critique. I've never counted my critiques before as there has never been a minimum word requirement, so that figure remained in the back of my mind as I read/critiqued this piece.

While I didn't do line edits, I did go through and comment on several things in each section of the submission. I deleted any author text except those sections on which I suggested changes. These edits included grammer, pacing, POV, logistics (can't drive somewhere when they are in a house), and word choice (passive verbs). I also added a paragraph or two summary in the beginning stating my thoughts on the plot and charactization in general.

I had guestimated I wrote at least 500 words, beyond the text quoted by the author, but it was purely a guestimate on my part.

(sigh) I probably should have reviewed samples of past critiques before doing mine. Why? Well, the rules only listed a minimum word requirement, it never said anything about a maximum word limit.

This morning I saw an automatically generated email from the critter's submission site. Apparently my critique was over 2,000 words! It didn't feel like I wrote that much. Granted, I did quote some of the text being critiqued, but I know that text accounted for less than half of what I submitted. So...my critique was at least double the requirement.

The first thing the email stated was that if the words were mostly my suggestions, and not simply a re-send of the entire piece being critiqued, then ignore the email and continue with the long critiques.

This morning I logged on and reviewed the sample critiques. They are all in paragraph form and look like a half page summary of thoughts, suggestions, over-all impressions. Whereas mine included a few paragraphs like that at the beginning, but then technical edits throughout the piece.

Personally, I like receiving the kind of critique that I submitted on this piece. However, after reviewing the samples, I'm now nervous that I'll be seen as a knit-picky newcomer. The samples they provided are several years old, so perhaps critiques have changed slightly over the years. I don't want to feel like I'm cheating people on the critiques I send, but I also don't want to write a bunch of feedback that they'll not bother to read through or, worse, feel potentially offended with. Not that I was rude, because I wasn't. My words and advice are always written politely as suggestions, with some samples to illustrate my point. Nothing could be considered rude about the content, rather, the sheer length of the critique compared to what others send could make it seem that way.

What to do....

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