View Full Version : How to crit... a few suggestions

04-04-2003, 04:16 PM
Hey all,

As some one who both posts scripts, and crits regularly, I figured I would offer a few points about how to write a good crit. A crit that just says "wow, you are the best ever. I and my 7 sisters want you to father our children (or I and my 7 brothers want to father children with you)" or "This was a stupid story. You really should consider gnawing off your hands", while perhaps accurate, are really of no use to the artist... other than to let him know he struck a cord in you.

A good crit sites examples. What specific aspects of the story make you hate/love the writer's abilities or the script? Site examples from the script of dialogue, descriptions, panel layouts, that you are reacting to. If you dislike some aspect of the story, you could always suggest alternatives. The more specific you are, the more likely the writer will take your crit seriously.

Do not be afraid to be wrong. You are just offering your opinion. Technically, there is no right or wrong opinion, is there (well, actually, I am pretty sure my opinion is always right)? Isn't that why a creator posts his/her work? To hear the opinions, and grow from the knowlege of those reading their work?

I especially suggest this method to writers learning their craft. I have learned a lot about being a writer from excercising my knowledge (or lack thereof) by critting someone else's work. It is one thing to do something, it is another altogether to explain to someone how to do that same thing.

This is not to say "You are a god", or "You are a hack" are bad crits. I just know that for me, those type of crits are of little use to me. I tend to learn very, very little from them. However... Why am I a god (well, I already know the answer to this one)? Why am I a hack (let me count the ways)? Answerring these questions when critting a writer's (or artist's, for that matter) work, is very helpful.

Thus endth the rant.


04-04-2003, 08:56 PM
I would even go so far as to say the "Wow, great job" or "god, you suxor" types of crits are not crits at all. They are fanfare or derogatory and have little value at all. Knowing something you wrote is good is nice, but it doesn’t help you. Bashing someone’s work is just rude. If you are not intending to actually help the person grow as a writer, then don’t say anything at all. Artists of all types really put their heart out there when they post their work, which probably took many hours, a lot of sweat and struggle to finish.

Me, I don’t want candy-coating either, but don’t say anything rather than bash it. If no one says anything, I assume it sucked and need to rework it. Bashing on someone’s work is not acceptable in this forum.

As for criting work… If you want people to crit your stuff, you really ought to crit their stuff. Writing crits are cumbersome and time consuming, even more so for scripts than those for artwork. But if we want to grow as writers, we need to help each other out. I REALLY wish I had more time to crit. For me, I feel that I learn as much by giving crits as I do from getting them. Teaching is the most effective form of learning. But more importantly, giving solid crits means that you really have to read deeply into the work. You have to think about WHY something doesn’t work which is a lot harder than just reading it and going “I don’t like that.” But it is the “why” that makes all the difference. By doing the crits, I have learned to recognize things in writing, both others and my own, more readily. That alone makes the crits I do worth my time and effort. I really and dearly hope that what I crit and suggest helps in some way. And despite what some might think, that is really what I am hoping for when I crit. I can sometimes be hard, but I think that I am always attempting to be constructive.

Anyway, didn’t mean to get on my own crit rant… look how 3 influences me :p

04-05-2003, 10:54 AM
Good points there Chip and Ven!

Yeah I think it's of great value to the writer/artist if the crits were fair with both good and bad points to what we were seeing. I think crits are easier to "take" if worded in a way that didnt come across "wrong". No one likes to be told hey this bit totally sucked! As they say, more than one way to skin a cat! (if u r vegetarian animal lover type, sorry lol).

Nothing more I can add to this really. u know me, hv to put my 2 cents in!

later days
Lia etc

04-16-2003, 01:50 AM
Interesting points.

In addition to (or perhaps along with) the points raised by everyone else, I'd like to stress that IMHO, the most important thing when giving a crit is to say what you LIKED (and why) and what you DIDN'T LIKE (and how you think this could be improved). And if you didn't like anything, figure out how to say so without coming off sounding like a jackass.

Artists and writers who post to these boards asking for crits lay a lot of their pride on the line. A nasty crit could make the difference between that person trying harder the next time or giving up altogether. I'm not saying we have to stroke anyone's ego. But we don't have to crush it either.

So a balanced crit listing good and bad points would do the poster a greater service than either of the two extremes (assuming a crit was asked for in the first place).

04-19-2003, 05:38 AM
Rather than telling people how to critique another's work...don't you think some of these folk need to learn how to accept crits?:D

04-19-2003, 08:20 AM
don't you think some of these folk need to learn how to accept crits?

How dare you tell me how to run my thread. You are wrong and obviously don't know what you are talking about. Well, your threads stink, too. And... and... you look funny. ;)

Good point, Craig. That is, after all, why we post our work here, huhn? To get crits?


04-19-2003, 12:19 PM
too true. I have often given some very informative crits (at least in my opinion and usually a few others) but have had people cuss me out for it.

Being able to accept a crit is probably one of the most important skills any artist type can learn. If someone bitches at you in a crit, let is slide off your shoulders. No need to get worked up over an idiot. How you choose to accept a crit and how it effects changes that you may or may not make is totally in your ballpark.

Still... its just rude to "go off" on someone's work. If you don't like it, you don't like it. At worst, don't say anything. At best, try to convey in a helpful manner what they might do to make it work better, in your opinion.

04-26-2003, 09:24 PM
I think the most aspect is that when critiquing, everyone should be under the impression of improving, not approving. I say so as an artist at fine arts school, and studying design, that this goes through the board, that many of us come to other, well,l, to get our butts kissed, when in truth it's about us, getting our butts kicked a little, so that we may get better. Sure it's great to get praise, and i personally always for for praise first before delivering on the wrong ends of a said piece. Most of the time, you know when a critique is successful when everyone on board agrees, everyone feels that it's the direction to go.
As for the artist, themselves, you have to really put your chest out for the arrows. You have to take them as they come, and it's UP TO YOU, to take and leave anything said. Sure maybe the person who said it, is an idiot and you don't like, them but look past that at what's said; Is it valid? Is it true?
Most of the time you know when you have coped out, or when you've taken a shortcut, and it didn't work. Don't lie to your self, fix it, and get better.
It also the same for those giving the critique. Your there to talk about the piece not the person. Just like they teach in debate you attack the issue not the person. If you do, you'll end up not getting your point across, and being seen as an ass.
Stay away form hype words too. Christ how I've suffered from that. They say nothing, that's idiotic TV execs use them and other folks. They are just shortcuts to thinking. Words like "Innovative" pretty much have no meaning anymore. You have to tell them what IT IS. What is it your seeing that makes you want to talk about it. This is where everything goes into for a critique, the communication involved.
Is some of this are kept in mind, everyone comes away with something, bits and pieces that they take back to add to thier own. I¹ve seen that when the process works, amazing advances can be done.

04-27-2003, 11:07 PM
welcome to PJ and thewritersdesk, Shazb0t!

all good points said. Constructive instead of desctructive. Hmm.. does that sound like a TV exec phrase? hehehehe

:) Yes, Shaz, I am a nut, a toaster Mom of twins LOL ask ven to explain that one to ya hehee

Later days

04-28-2003, 02:35 AM
On accepting crits:

If, in response to a critique, you find yourself posting an explanation of why you did what you did, stop. Wait at least 24 hours until you post it. I've found that half the times that I was ever going to post like that I was just trying to find a way to quickly dismiss what was being said. And a lot of times, if the person really just didn't understand your work, usually someone else will post the correct view within 24 hours.

Oh, and just a little pet peeve of mine. What you want is for someone to critique you, ie evaluate your piece. What you don't what is someone to criticize you, ie say that you suck. It annoys me when I see people post asking everyone to criticize his or her work.