From my time spent among peers, professors, and industry professionals in an MFA program, I learned the value of feedback to a writer. However, not all feedback is productive. We even discussed other MFA programs and top-level writing workshops and noted how their feedback can harm and create barriers. I’ve avoided “community” feedback sites, or contests that rely upon reader feedback because they tend to create bias and bitterness. What a writer needs to grow is productive feedback. What will improve a piece of writing? Learning to question is useful. Questions like, “Have you thought about …” or “What if…” Doug makes good points. If you’d like to discuss feedback, let me know your thoughts!
Recently I experimented with two mutual feedback writing sites: Scribophile and Critique Circle. My main motivation was to receive feedback from other writers without having to pay for it, which is what you have to do on most publishing and competition sites.
The principles for each are similar i.e. critique a lot of other people’s work and you get to publish a little of your work for critique. I have no problem generally with that give-and-get model and not only did I get to read some great stories but I received many encouraging and helpful crits.
The down sides from my point of view (come on, you knew where this was going) include these:
- Critters (i.e. people who provide critiques) are from all skill levels and experience and range from never published to published. So it’s natural that crits will vary considerably in quality and usefulness.
- The systems for…
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