The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2005 10:41 am 
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19. Yummy Face
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I might think that what I've left is not good enough.


This is what I was trying to address in my earlier post. I had these same feelings when I first came to this board. I read the wonderful fics that these amazing people had written...and then I read the replies that others had left. And I felt unworthy. I chastized myself vehemently -- here I am, a woman with multiple graduate degrees who teaches at the university level, and I thought myself unworthy of leaving coherent, semi-intelligent feedback for people I admired. But even a stern talking to didn't seem to work for me. As I said, earlier...I finally just stopped thinking about it. I stopped worrying about whether what I had to say was "good enough" or worthy enough. The need to respond in some form to these pieces overwhelmed me to the point where I just HAD to say something. And so it began.

Certainly, I'm going to have a different reaction to each story. In some cases, I end up writing what I call "feedback novellas" -- my feedback often becoming as long as, or longer than, the update. In other cases, I don't say that much -- perhaps just a simple note saying that I like the fic. But regardless, the need to say something finally took over for me. Again, whether other people agreed with what I had to say or not no longer became an issue for me. I just wrote what I thought/felt. People could take it how they wished.

But that is my experience. And it is in no way the same as the experiences of others. Thus, how each individual reader responds to a particular work of fan fic is going to be unique. The ways in which I interact with a particular story is greatly influenced by my life experiences -- my cultural background, how my parents raised me, what I studied in school, my hobbies and interests. So the way I read and respond to Common Areas or Fragments of Perception may very well be significantly different from the way Debra reads and responds to these fics. And that's okay. That's the beauty of what is happening on this board. So many points of view -- glorious!

Now, I'm not a fic writer. I'm more of a non-fiction girl -- a scholar at heart. But I am a performer on the stage. And I've done my time on the boards in everything from a Rogers and Hammerstein musical to a highly theoretical performance on postmodern performance art to my own one-person show on fandom. So, like the writers of these fics, I understand the need for some sort of validation -- whether it be unadulterated praise or carefully thought out criticism. As such, I valued the people who came up to me after a show simply to say "Hey! I really liked your show" just as much as I valued the deep, theoretical critiques of my performance by my peers. ANY RESPONSE serves as validation. Even if it's what some might consider a harsh critique -- it still shows that what was done moved someone in such a way that critical thinking took place. I made someone think about that enough to disagree with me? WOW! It's a heady experience.

So, what it comes down to is this. Respond the way YOU feel comfortable. :bounce <---This little guy is just as appreciated as a 5 page deconstruction of plot and characterization. Because you're letting someone know that you were touched in SOME way. Find your own comfort zone and let yourself have fun. That's what this is about.

Okay....I've moved from giving my buck and a half to giving my 5 dollars and 64 cents. But, there it is.

Carleen

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 2:15 pm 
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9. Gay Now

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Everyone has made some good points again and I would also like to stress that while some of us, and I am not sure how in the minority we are, are older, there are also a lot of younger kittens on the board. By this I mean maybe 14-16, that age range. I know when I was that age I didn't want to look overly stupid and was pretty shy and would have lurked rather than said anything. The point of all this is to let people know that whatever feedback you leave is great! Don't be afraid to leave one line or even all smilies. Don't be afraid to leave something longer. Leave whatever feedback best suits you for the particular story. BUT, if at all possible, leave something! As the authors here have noted, feedback really helps them continue. Makes them feel appreciated. I wanted to leave some specific ideas here so that those who are a bit more intimidated or shy could have something to maybe use to help them post a more thoughtful response. Maybe give them a tool to feel a little more self-assured at saying something, rather than nothing. And that in the end is the whole point. Try and say something if you can. No matter how short, how inane sounding, how much it repeats what someone else said, go ahead and say it anyway. It will be appreciated and noted that you responded, not critiqued. As I said, this isn't English class, we are all basically friends, and there is no right answer. With the smaller number of kittens, the more who say at least something the more likely we'll keep things going. Lurking is fine and I understand why many do it, but if you can, decloak and leave a little feedback. Who knows, in a year you might be the next Grimlock?

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:40 am 
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9. Gay Now
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This thread was just so amazingly helpful. It is hard to *not* feel intimidated by all the great writers and feedback. Sometimes a person can feel a wee bit unworthy.

Anyway, this gives me a good idea of what is expected/desired.... and it makes sense. It is only fair that the readers give a little back. Reading these great stories has, after all, greatly enriched my little life!

Also. Is there any way to make this topic more easily accessible? I would have started leaving feedback a lot sooner if I had know what or how to do it. I only found this topic because it was linked via another thread.

Just an idea from a really squeeky neophyte.

db.

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 4:49 pm 
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17. Mega-Witches
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That's a good idea, db - I guess the mods could make it a sticky if they deemed it sticky material. Hmmm, I'm not sure if that came out right...

The thing that I have come to appreciate more about feedback since I started writing is what a great motivator it is. Ultimately I'm writing for myself and to amuse myself, but since the kittenboard is an interactive place and the characters aren't necessarily my creation, just the jokes and what they happen to be doing, feedback seems almost like an integral part of it all.

And I won't lie - the feedback is great, and awesome. It doesn't matter if it's long, short, insightful, or vapid (ha) - I just like knowing that someone is reading and that they are hopefully enjoying what they're reading. It's something that keeps me going and keeps the desire stoked to write the next chapter.

So for anyone who feels intimidated or anything, just know that leaving feedback for a story is a gift that you're giving. Sharing your thoughts and reactions to the story is a generous gift that makes an impact.

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:29 pm 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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Bumping this thread from the depth of Pens.

Here is another helpful thread on providing feedback for your favorite fics. Check it out!

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:35 pm 
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2. Floating Rose
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English is a second language for me so it is kinda hard to give long feed backs, even though mine is brief and short it is sincere.

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:07 pm 
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3. Flaming O

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I've read through this discussion quickly, probably too quickly, and it's given me much food for thought. I've been working on a story forever (forever being a time frame of approximately eight years), and I am finally closing in on the finish line. What's kept me going are two things: loyalty to my characters and fan encouragement. While I deeply appreciate comments in depth, an emoticon or two is quite dandy. The comments I find least helpful are the comments that argue with a character's actions--not that the character is acting out of "character," rather the character is doing something untoward. I honestly have no idea how to respond, even if I still appreciate the sentiment (and the time taken out to post). The comments I find most helpful are the speculations about what characters will do next, as they help me figure out if my breadcrumbs (plotting) is working effectively. I confess I adore it when I am told my story was personally moving (to laughter, to tears). I will also confess while criticism stings I've never received criticism I thought was unhelpful, at least here at the KB. Finally, probably like many other fan writers at the KB, I observe the view counter and notice the number of comments is way out of proportion to the number of views. I tend to think the views are mostly click-throughs, people stopping by a moment but realizing they are far too busy to read so long a story or uninterested in the subject matter.


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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:17 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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My thoughts on feedback stem from something I learned in Japan, which may or may not apply in the English speaking community:

*If you are trying, but have a long way to go, you will be praised. (Say a few words of Japanese and natives gush at your wonderful language skills)

*If you're doing pretty well, but make a lot of mistakes, you will be ignored. (You get across what you need to say and they don't stop the conversation to correct you- it's understandable, but there's too much to correct)

*If you are good enough that you are worth their time, you will be criticized. (Your errors are few enough that pointing them out will make a difference)

A few things I've said about criticism over the course of fic-ing here, which doesn't seem to have made a difference but I think are worth repeating:
Criticism hurts for a moment, but helps for a lifetime.
Tell me what I'm doing wrong. I learn something and you get better fic, so we both win.

For myself, I tend to be verbose and try to be thorough, so I write a minimal number of feedback posts. There just isn't time for more and I typically don't read fic till they are completed, anyway (hypocrite, thy name is Never).

Next on the docket- being intimidated by the prospect of posting criticism on a good author. Think about how intimidating it is to post a story next to the likes of technopagan/Alcy/KrisBo, let alone all the now-inactive other writers that have graced this board! Does that mean you shouldn't criticize, since I already feel unworthy? No- it means I want your help us figure out how to stand with those authors.

I love discussing what I write and how I write it, so I revel in any thoughtful comments I get, regardless of whether they are constructive criticism, speculation (I agree with technopagan about how useful that is- I have a reader that I swear is prescient), analysis, or just pointing out something they liked. I try to encourage thorough feedback- my replies are typically as long as the feedback they address, if not longer (not sure I can keep this up for everyone though).

If someone is too shy to post criticism where folks can see, I say PM me! I think KrisBo is going to do that one of these days (or so she indicated in chat a while back)- and despite breaking out in a cold sweat when I think about being read by someone whose work I hold in high regard, the fact that she will take the time is immensely flattering, regardless of whether she says it's utter shite… which is entirely possible.

Last up- there are people out there who don't want criticism, it's true. I think I criticized one of them (she said constructive criticism welcome, and I guarantee it was constructive) and she hasn't posted again since. Do I feel bad? Yes- she is my favorite fanfic writer and I was already in the "I'm not qualified to pass judgment" camp of worriers before this happened, but she said she wanted it and for the life of me I can't bring myself to feel guilty about writing it. Is this a cautionary tale? No- it's more a shout out to the writers: if you don't want it, don't ask for it.

This isn't a proper essay, so I apologize for the discohesiveness, but I wanted to put in my opinion.

-Never

PS- A shameless plug: if you wanna mercilessly make fun of my fic, without any pretense of being 'constructive', you can even do it live in the chat room. That's what MST3K night is about- you snark as I post. Much fun is had by all.

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 2:09 am 
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3. Flaming O
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I, not surprisingly, just found this post. I have been a sporadic lurker on both Kitten Boards since I was in highschool. When I read this, granted this may simply be my insomnia talking, I was thinking that I should go find the stories that originally grabbed my heart and made me a loyal reader to begin with, and give the respective authors long over due feedback.... but I probably won't do that as it is 4 am right now.

To begin with, I didn't leave feedback simply because I was so awed by the author's ability to capture my attention (which if you knew me would be WAY more impressive) that I didn't want to interrupt their flow with my inane ramblings and planned to respond at the conclusion of the fic.... best laid plans and all. Now, I generally don't leave feedback becuase I read the old posts, and have no way of knowing if those authors are even around anymore. After reading this though, I will try and be a better feedbacker.... promise :smug

So going with the advice of someone from a while ago... here's my stream of conciousness... hopefully someone else can make sense of it!!

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:06 pm 
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6. Sassy Eggs
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Quote:
(1) Avoid alliteration. Always.
(2) Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
(3) The adverb always follows the verb.
(4) Employ the vernacular.
(5) Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
(6) Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
(7) Remember to never split an infinitive.
(8) Contractions aren't necessary.
(9) Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
(10) One should never generalize.
(11) Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
(12) Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
(13) Be more or less specific.
(14) One-word sentences? Eliminate.
(15) Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
(16) The passive voice is to be avoided.
(17) Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
(18) Even if a mixed metaphor sings it should be derailed.
(19) Who needs rhetorical questions?
(20) Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
(21) Don't never use double negation.
(22) capitalize every sentence and remember always end it with a point
(23) Do not put statements in the negative form.
(24) Verbs have to agree with their subjects.
(25) Proofread carefully to see if you words out.
(26) If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
(27) A writer must not shift your point of view.
(28) And don't start a sentence with a conjunction. (Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)
(29) Don't overuse exclamation marks!!!!!!!
(30) Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 words of more, to their antecedents.
(31) Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.
(32) If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
(33) Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
(34) Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; they're old hat; seek viable alternatives.



ringwaldoeuvre - thanks, VERY belatedly, for the laugh!

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:32 am 
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11. Fish in the Bowl

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The collective wisdom of kittens is an awesome thing!

I'm new to fanfic, just one story done "Courage" and one I'm working on, "Sparring Partners." I feel that my story will definitely benefit from what you had to say.

Glad to get feedback and I usually give pretty specific feedback myself.

Thanks again,

Ariel


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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:57 pm 
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3. Flaming O
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Don't know if anyone is still reading this thread but I just wanted to say this has encouraged me to leave more feedback.

I find it hard to say more than a couple of lines usually because I am a really uncritical reader of fiction in general which means that if I like a story I don't really know why I like it, it is just well written and I like the characters which isn't exactly awesome feedback no matter how sincere I am. I do better with critical feedback cus if I don't like a story I'm more likely to know why exactly I find it off-putting but I don't want to comment just to criticise.

To take one of my favourite stories, Alcy's Van Rosenberg one, I just loved that but when it came to feedback I was like, well, I dunno what to say, the characters are great, the plot is great, the setting is great...I find it very hard to actually tease out what makes that story particularly special for me. Therefore I end up leaving slightly inane comments. I am also pretty averse to guessing what will happen next, I just want to read and discover the story as it's posted.

I will try and think harder about this in future though and hopefully my comments will soon become incisive, witty and much loved.


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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 9:50 am 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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I think it would be helpful if we, as authors, left an indication of what kind of feedback we're looking for. I don't mind critique at all. I know some people will PM me when I missed something proofreading, but I don't mind critiques of my choices with dialogue, plot development, conflict, etc. I love all the positive feedback, but I don't want people to be afraid to give me constructive criticism either. I want to be a better writer, and help others to write better as well.

How about the rest of you? Do you just want to hear what I like about your stories, or do you want constructive criticism? I don't believe in being prescriptive--you can point out an issue without telling someone how they should fix it, that's the writer's job--but sometimes I don't leave feedback on a story I'm reading because I don't want to hurt the author's feelings...which isn't helping me or them.

Advice and suggestions are welcome!

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:13 am 
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Ms. Moderator Fantastico
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I agree with LonelyTara, authors should probably specify what feedback they're open to receiving, or perhaps have a general ideology on the board that unless someone specifically says they only want positive comments, any story is up to critiqued.

I know personally, I'm open to whatever feedback an individual reviewer wants to contribe, be it praise, critique or just a question to maybe explain something in the story better - character motivation, plot developments etc.

I think sometimes I can think that the idea or reason behind something in a fic is clear, but that's only because I know what it is and can therefore see it hidden in any subtext, whereas for the reader it could be quite confusing (kinda like this ramby response...sorry about that!) so if someone asks the question - great! It lets me know I need to make things a little clearer and also opens up discussion between reader and author; can reinforce the author's methodology or make them re-think something that they maybe need to.

And for readers...like LonelyTara, I wouldn't want people to be afraid to leave critique, especially when some readers who aren't also writers think they're not qualified to critique since they don't write themselves.

A good story is written to appeal to all it's readers, and you don't need to be an author to know if something just doesn't work.

Just like you don't need to be a movie exec to know the new Buffy movie is gonna be crap :p

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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:43 pm 
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11. Fish in the Bowl

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Hey,

Feedback is a big deal to me, partly because it has the potential to be incredibly helpful. The "I like your story" type of fb is also helpful because it encourages me to keep writing. So fb if you have the time, in any way that's comfortable.

I agree with Robin/LonelyTara and Laragh that it's good for writers to specify what type of feedback they're looking for. I appreciate people who admit they're new and nervous about their fic as well as people who ask for frank criticism, both give me guidance on how to respond. However please don't ask for genuine critique if you're not interested in it.

Also, the FAQ's have good tips about leaving constructive feedback.

For me, examples of constructive include:
-Can't tell from the dialogue who is talking.
-You brought up this plot point and now it's disappeared - what's up?
-The sentences are confusing, not sure what is intended. Specifically . . . (examples help!)
-I don't agree that canon Tara would do this because in episode . . . (more examples)
-I love how you capture the humor of little kids talking, it sounds accurate.
-This description is really vivid because it captures key details without drawing a map!

Also, a kind word is also precious, most of us are glad to hear them! Not every fb needs to be a literary critique.

I don't mind constructive criticism; I'm glad to get it, but I don't like flaming:
-You're and idiot and your story sucks!
-You're butchering the english language!

If you're intrigued by a story's potential and want it to improve, think about taking a negative impression and turning it into constructive criticism:
Negative: It's totally confusing
Constructive: I'm intrigued by (examples) in your story but having trouble with it because I'm not clear about these points (examples) If you could resolve (examples) then the fic would be a lot easier for me to read. (But don't lie!)

Of course, you want to invest that kind of time on stories that intrigue you and on writers open to input. You can also suggest a beta or offer to help yourself. I was glad to get beta support from Helena (Mrs. Pineapple) for one of my fics and will look for a beta on my next one. I've also beta'd for three people and offered specific support to a few others.

I love that the KB provides such a supportive forum to read great writers, provide feedback, and benefit from the feedback of others. My writing has improved by getting critique from more gifted people and from being exposed to so much talent - so thanks for all the support!

Ariel
How I Met Your Mother


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 Post subject: Re: The Art of Leaving Feedback
PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:43 am 
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8. Vixen
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I absolutely agree. That's part of why I've gone so far as to leave in my disclaimer at various point under the feedback to "help me make this a better story". I want to know what the people reading it are thinking, why they like it or why they don't. Heck, I think most of us will even take requests & try to work it into the story somehow.

Betas are a wonderful thing. I've worked with several, have several & will continue to do so. They keep me focused, & the story on track. That's why I like having more than one - for perspective. I've also worn the beta hat & if anyone asks I'll always help. Kind of a return the favor thing for all the help I've received.

I also think there is a fine line between constructive & counterproductive. What one person sees as constructive another can see as harsh & flame-y. Partly because of the medium we work in - tone & intonation just don't factor in & could make something less harsh. A flame is a flame - not much of a way around that. For me personally if you're going to be harsh, I'd rather it be done via PM. Let me explain why I chose what I did - you may change your mind - or not.

I also think feedback is kind of the lifeblood of the kb too. One of the things that makes being here & posting here such fun. Maybe that's just me.

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