Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ninja Science First, Announcements Later

(Or, some of NOT AN EDITOR’s favorite things.)

So I’ve been skipping around the writerly forums asking a question: “What do you like to look for when you critique someone’s work?” This is my attempt to establish a baseline, of sorts, using ninja-like data collection techniques that would likely fall on the weaker side of scientific discipline. It’s only been a few days, but answers are slowly but steadily pouring in. I’m planning on gathering a few hundred or maybe a thousand more responses, tabulating the results, and reporting them here next week. Feel free to throw your own response in the comments below, if and only if you haven’t already done so elsewhere since we don’t want to make my head spin during tabulation.

Have I left you hanging in suspense? I’ll wait for your heartbeat to slow down. Okay, well, I’ll share some teaser responses in the meantime.

On plot:
My strongest point is plotting…I always go for the big picture first.

On Character:
Character first, second and fourth.

On Tension:
…It comes down to: how can things get worse?

On Writerly Development:
If I have a weakness I'm currently working on in my own writing, similar problems jump out at me most when I critique.

On, er, Multiple Personality:
I try to critique like a reader, and not a writer.

On Using Euphemisms and Legend Keys:
"I wanted more" means "You didn't say enough."
"What a wild ride!" translates to "I didn't understand a damned word!"

There are plenty of memorable responses that I could share, but then, I’d never get to my announcements. And I am so unbelievably excited about this news that it’s difficult for my ninja fingers to type without bouncing in my seat. *puts down Diet Coke¹*

~This shall be dubbed Announcement the First~
Without further, um, sips from icy cold cola: We, my critiquerly friends, are going to embark on some interviewesque discussions with fabulous critiquers/writers. Because after I traveled around several cyber-writerly places asking you "the question," I wondered how several other people, in particular, would respond to the same line of questions. People you may already know.

~Henceforth, Announcement the Second~
One guest interviewee is scheduled to visit our very own blog on THURSDAY. And in the spirit of our post a la suspense, NOT AN EDITOR will have to leave you hanging on WHO this fantastic, horrifically funny author/blogger is.

Although, I’ve given you a few clues already. Let’s see who picks up on them. But for those of us who need a few more hints: She’s hip. She’s gone through a career change. Her significant other is a computer savant. She took a break from blogging for a bit, and returned last week, much to the happiness of her followers.

Who is our very first, very honorable interviewee? Your guesses in the comments below.

~(Minor) Announcement the Third~
I believe we’ve founded a word, and I’m not sure how to make it official, other than announcing it here. The word, which I’ve used several times, is CRITIQUER. I can’t believe it isn't considered a word already, yet spell check twitches every time I type it. Please, use critiquer freely on all writerly/critiquerly forums and blogs. Not critique-er. CRITIQUER. Join me. Make it real.

¹(Caffeinated addiction of choice. Not coffee. It's never been coffee. Don't hate me.)


Krisz said...

What a great journey of finding out about critiquing styles it's going to be for all of us, Mary! And I can't wait to find out who your mystery guest will be. No clue. But again, I am a poor blogger. I'm trying to get better with yours.

Girl Friday said...

Ooh, I look forward to the interview, all this stuff is very helpful, thank you!

I'm a word nerd, so the first things that jump out at me when I critique are word usage, grammar and spelling mistakes - they drive me nuts! At the same time I always notice if the story is gripping enough. After that I'll look at everything else.

Cat said...

Spell Critquer like this Kritiker and it's German. ;-)

Marybk said...

Thanks, Krisz. You're coming along with the blogging scene. :)

Girl Friday: Thanks for answering "the question."

Cat: Is Kritiker a different word from the English word "critic" in German?

Marewolf said...

This is great, I am sooooooo glad you started this blog Mary. And I am also glad that my quote was listed under Multiple Personality. Quite fitting, if I do say so myself ;)

Can't wait for the guest blog! I have to say, I have absolutely no idea who it is even with all the clues.

Picture me clueless!

Cat said...

no, Kritiker is the translation of critic.
Also, the fist quote (about plot) is from me ;-)

Trekelny said...

:: raises hand :: Guilty as charged on the "character" comment. Probably because I don't have any of my own! Giving a good critique is an art, and the author needs to bring the salt along when reading them. There are definitely things I would never do (I fight the universe for the right to use an extra "e" in my hero's name!), and I fully expect to be ignored on part of what I say in return. I think folks shouldn't be afraid, except with the really new writers, because for them it can be a huge shock. But you get your sea-legs under you and off you go. The more the merrier for critiques.

Marybk said...

Marewolf: Thanks for claiming that quote! Ha. My mystery guest remains a mystery (Note that I'm resisting evil-laugh here. I will not even type the first syllable of it.)

Cat, yes, that's your quote--thanks for claiming.

Will, put your hand down, boy! There's no guilt at NAE. And believe me, you've got plenty of character.

Anonymous said...

Think I know who your guest is!!!!

Marybk said...

Oooooooh, 4thtriad! We've got an intelligent one here.

Do you want to guess out loud, or wait until tomorrow?

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