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The Feedback guide is to help users understand how feedback should be both given and received.

OverviewEdit

Criticism is a major component of writing. It is what other users think of your work. However, one significant problem many run into is how users criticize one another. Many make the mistake of effectively telling a writer how terrible their work is, often times without detailing as to why such a work was terrible. However, it could just as easily work the other way. A critic may give constructive feedback, but the writer refuses to accept that his/her own work is flawed. To be able to give and receive criticism, one must understand the reasons and rationality behind it.

Constructive criticm, which are critiques which are intended to help improve the work, are key to writing and behaving professionally. When presented unfavorably, non-constructive critism is more than likely to stir unneeded conflict between users.

Sources of criticismEdit

Bad readabilityEdit

When an article is very difficult to read due to lack of proper grammar, paragraphs and capitalization, it becomes a severe eye sore, and it detracts from the story. By using proper formatting, the writer can imply that he/she is actually willing to put effort into their articles. Critics must be just as willing to do the same as well. A critique that is written with poor grammar and spelling is not likely to be taken seriously by the writer even if it does happen to be constructive. By taking the time to run your articles and critiques through a spellchecker, this simple communication barrier can be removed.

Magic inconsistenciesEdit

In fantasy settings, the rules of magic are defined by the lore. As a result, magic in one fantasy story is not the same in another. While magic is very versatiles, it must remain consistent within the universe.

Blatant violations of magic consistency detract from the story. Of course, some rare cases are excusable as per the Rule of Cool, but the goal is to make a story believable. Such inconsistencies can easily be averted should a writer take the time to read through the lore on magic. If you are unsure about something, there are plenty of other users around who may know a thing or two about the topic you are looking for, so feel free to ask.

ClichésEdit

Clichés are ideas that have been overused to the point of becoming trite and losing their original meaning. A list of clichés can be found here. The use of clichés is considered bad writing because the writer is not doing anything new, and instead imitating something else. Of course, clichés can always be reimagined into something else, but then it will not be a cliché after all. Something new came out of it.

PredictabilityEdit

Predictability is something difficult to get right. On one hand, making a story too predictable ruins the surprise. However, throwing a nonsensical twist such as a deus ex machina at the end of the story is equally bad. Let's face it. We all know the good guy has to win (in rare cases, he doesn't). However, despite knowing that in advance, the audience is most interested on how the good guy wins.

Plot holesEdit

Plot holes are gaps in the logic and flow of a story. A character might suddenly know something he was not meant to know, or there might be a lore inconsistency. These are self-explanatory, and they need to be filled in as soon as possible, because plot holes detract from the story. Of course, hand waves can be used to explain the hole - one of the most infamous ways is to simply state that a wizard did it. However, this should only be done so when absolutely necessary.

Giving criticismEdit

When giving criticisms on a certain work, don't simply tell the writer that their work is terrible. Instead, cite one of the above reasons as to why it may be flawed. Critiques should be well-detailed and written in a constructive manner. If possible, offer solutions to the writer as to what and how it can be fixed, rather than just simply stating as to what is wrong with it.

Responding to criticismEdit

Many writers erroneously claim that criticisms are synonymous with insults. So long as the criticism is constructive, it should not come across as such. Remember, the intent of criticism is to improve your own work. By refusing to accept the possibility that your own work may be flawed, you are only hindering yourself. Being open-minded is key to improving your writing.

ExamplesEdit

CriticismEdit

Instead of:

Writer: Okay, so in this plot, it turns out the character was in a dream all along.

Critic: I just stopped reading your story now that you've told me that. That's the worst idea I've ever heard.

Preferred:

Writer: Okay, so in this plot, it turns out the character was in a dream all along.

Critic: I don't like that idea. If the character wakes up from a dream, the previous events seem meaningless and a hasty way to save a character from an impossible situation. Instead, I think the character has to be able to find another way out of the situation involving some more practical methods.

Instead of:

Writer: Okay, so I had this idea for a race of space elves that could fly by levitating.

Critic: What a stupid idea. I bet you never even bothered reading about the magic system.

Preferred:

Writer: Okay, so I had this idea for a race of space elves that could fly by levitating.

Critic: According to the rules of magic established here, constantly levitating yourself would tire you out, so this idea is unfeasible. Maybe you could add wings, but the idea of wings on an elf seems a bit overtop in my opinion. It will be best just to make them walk on the ground.

ReceptionEdit

Instead of:

Critic: I highly recommend you add some more descriptions in the first paragraph. It is rather difficult to follow the story without knowing what the setting looks like.

Writer: My style of writing is better than yours. Who are you to say anything?

Preferred:

Critic: I highly recommend you add some more descriptions in the first paragraph. It is rather difficult to follow the story without knowing what the setting looks like.

Writer: Well, once I finish writing up the dialogue for this chapter, I'll go back and reread it myself and see what I can add to it to make it more understandable.


Instead of:

Critic: And in conclusion, I doubt that horses could travel at 100 miles per hour. I recommend making them go slower.

Writer: Stop bugging me, you nerd. It's magic - it can do anything.


Preferred:

Critic: And in conclusion, I doubt that horses could travel at 100 miles per hour. I recommend making them go slower.

Writer: Alright, then. I'll see what else I can up with. Thanks for the input.

CollaborationEdit

Avoid being rigid. Remember that nothing in the realm of writing is set in stone as the need to write new drafts will eventually arise. It is possible to turn feedback into something even better: collaboration. By responding to the criticism with a new idea, the critic is likely to respond with another idea. By doing so, both you and your critic can come up with a newer, better idea to replace the faulty one. Two brains are better than one.

See alsoEdit

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