Alice’s Restaurant

October 10, 2006

Critique for FanLit Entries

Filed under: FanLit — aliceaudrey @ 10:07 pm

An awful lot of the time I wish I could use critiquer’s shorthand on the entry comments.  It would be so much easier to say “white room syndrome” or “talking heads” or “headhopping”.  Especially when you have so few characters in which to say it.

For those of you – Hi Raven! – not on FanLit, I’m not talking the kind of characters who live and breath in my head.  I’m talking about individual letters and numbers.  We have a total of 500 of them in which to do a critique.

So it isn’t possible to be really helpful.  There isn’t enough room in which to describe which sentences make no sense at all, or why Damien is coming off looking like a troll.  With some critiquer’s shorthand, it might.

But How many of our fellow FanLitter’s would recognize GMC?  How many are familiar with emotional arcs?

So I settle for comments like “Needs more detail” or “Needs more conflict” where I might otherwise say “Needs scene anchors and better dialogue tags along with clearer goals and more realistic motivation.”  Better that than “Boring.”  But then, the number of boring entries has dropped lately.  So maybe all I really need anymore is “Good job!”



  1. I’m right with you, Alice. I’d like to be able to use critiquing shorthand too.

    Been lurking, finally decided to say hi. Hi!

    Sara(h)/Sienna at AFL

    Comment by Sara — October 10, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

  2. You can’t? Why the hell not?

    It’s a writing contest.

    Comment by miladyinsanity — October 11, 2006 @ 1:35 pm

  3. Hi Sienna! Thanks for delurking.

    Raven, a lot of the people writing for this contest have never written any fiction of any variety before. They are readers who always wanted to try their hand, and see this as a good place to see if it’s worth their while. They don’t know any of the writing jargon.

    who wishes there was a spell check on this thing.

    Comment by aliceaudrey — October 11, 2006 @ 3:33 pm

  4. oh…Guess they call it FanLit for a reason. I envy those first timers.

    Hey, it’s your blog. Edit all you want. I’ve deleted comments (I had cause, to be fair, because she posted a review on my review) before.

    Like what Jay Yapaway says, It’s your blog, your little bit of space on the internet. It’s all yours, you can do what you want.

    Comment by miladyinsanity — October 11, 2006 @ 4:03 pm

  5. I’m sure I’ll be making all kinds of changes as I get the hang of it. But maybe not for a couple of weeks. *grin*


    Comment by aliceaudrey — October 12, 2006 @ 2:26 pm

  6. This is my first visit to your blog 😉 I agree about giving comments… I’ve resisted giving actual critism simply because so many are new at this and I don’t want to be the one responsible for crushing the confidence of an already fragile newbie. I remember when I first started… I wasn’t really ready for real critism until I could look at my work and see my own beginning errors. I learned by reading critiques on others people’s work on critique forums… after a few months… then I was ready. Those people calling out for critiques I do believe are the ones that can handle the critiques. I’m a Swain Fan (Techniques of a Selling Writer)… and I’m pretty sure not many people would know what I was talking about if I said… your MRU’s are out of order 😉
    Nice Blog! Tweety

    Comment by Tweety — October 13, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  7. Hi Tweety!

    I think a lot of people went into the contest with the intention of seeing if they had what it takes to be a writer, not worrying about actually learning to do it.

    I haven’t read Swain yet. What is MRU?


    Comment by aliceaudrey — October 13, 2006 @ 2:28 pm

  8. I would highly recommend his book… but I would warn… it is super dry reading. I had to force myself to read the book twice before I got it. Here is a link to an article that explains it… but it’s really not a substitute for the book.

    Also Jack Bickham was a student of Dwight Swain and he wrote a book called scene and structure. He help’s explain Dwight Swain’s techniques in simpler form. That book is also worth reading 😉

    Comment by Tweety — October 13, 2006 @ 3:42 pm

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