Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A tip for critiques

As you know, I like feedback, even though my stomach knots and nerves frazzle. Feedback is the way I learn, and a critique is the best way to get that feedback. I have a few CPs and I love them. They are awesome. Once I found them, we started sending our precious manuscripts back and forth in chunks.
But what do you say in your email back? Sure you state what you thought works and what might not work with possible solutions, but can you really say what you want to say in an email?

Tone of voice is hard in your writing, but what about an email? Sure, it should be just as easy to not sound mean or flat. I think I'm okay at doing this, but sometimes things are hard to explain in a simple email. I know you're laughing at me. Is she serious? Why can't she express herself in an email of a critique? She thinks she's a writer? Okay, stop please. Here's my point.

With critque parters all over the world, email is the easiest, but in some instances when I want to talk to them to really understand what they meant when they gave certain advice, I turn to Skype, yes, Skype. Some of you may use this already, and I think it works great. I started using this when my husband would travel and the kids wanted to see him. Then, one of my critique groups used it. Four gals from all over the country discussing our little loves. Now, you don't have to use video, so if you want to sit in your PJs or without makeup then shut the camera off.

Just recently I used it with my CP, Kelly. She's local and we usually meet up at the local B & N to discuss our stuff, but when a frickin' monsoon hit that flooded out streets, we were stuck. We decided to use the Skype and it worked great (as long as the power stays on.) To me Skyping helps to see the person's expression and to hear their tone of voice, even brainstorming is a lot easier. So, If you haven't tried it, I would recommend Skyping. It works for me.

Anyone use Skype?

Any other tips for CPs?

I'm hoping to get some writing in today. I'm super tired so sorry for the babble.

I hope you have a wonderful day!

24 comments:

  1. Our crit group uses the chat function for skype - sometimes my kids are up so it would be hard to do video. and I'm usually in my pjs. I think it's important for cps to remember to be super positive along with the constructive criticisms.

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  2. That's so cool to use skype, and somethign I've never thought of before. Like you said I usually use email, or meet in a coffee shop. Will have to give Skype some thought.

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  3. I keep hearing about Skype, but I've never used it . . . or really even understand exactly what it is, to be honest.

    But I think it sounds like a great idea for those times you want to talk and make sure you get yourself across completely. Great suggestion!

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  4. I hope you get some writing and rest today. My book club recently used Skype to chat with an author. I've also used it to contact friends from other provinces. I can see how it would be a great tool for CP's too.

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  5. Email is usually enough for my group, but we have considered chatting. It's never gotten to the point of being necessary though, at least not yet.

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  6. i'm lucky enough that my CPs live in the same area as me, so we meet face to face once every three weeks or so

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  7. my main cp wants to skype but I don't have a webcam - yet. Usually we send the whole bit back in an attachment marked up with crossouts, highlights, and comments about what worked and what didn't. Seems to work well for us.

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  8. My critique group totally uses skype too!!! Skype is a blessing! You just can't convey things as well in an email and it takes a lot longer to explain yourself then when you can just talk and have a conversation.

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  9. My group always met up every other week and if we needed help inbetween we had emails for that. We have never really needed skype for anything, until, well...Zellie. But as I branch out for more advice it may become something I try to use. I got sick of Skype while Hubby was deployed and I'd be happy to never hear that ringtone EVER again.
    We used to always stress over the tone of voice in our emails to those we would crit (at chimera) so you're not crazy. I know what you're talkin' about ;)

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  10. I'm sure Skype would be great, but sometimes when I know I'm getting a lot of feedback I kind of want to hide in a hole while I read them!

    I should try sometime, though.

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  11. Yeah, we use Skype. It would be awesome if we could all meet up, but we are kind of scattered all over. And I totally know what you're talking about with trying to explain things in an email. It just doesn't sound right for certain things.

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  12. I haven't use it. My CPs are pretty blunt but that doesn't bother me. I'm the same. One did preface a recent crit with "you know I love you, right?" I knew there was a But coming. That was all the warning I needed to get into the right frame of mind. :D

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  13. I hope I can usually make my tone clear in writing/emails, even if I have to include an aside that says I was being sarcastic or joking. Much as I hate the abuse of emoticons I think they could fill in the gap for someone unable or unwilling to have an audio conversation. For those who don't mind and want to be sure the right tone is being conveyed, Skypeing is a good idea though.
    - Sophia.

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  14. hi miss christine! nope i didnt ever do that skype stuff. i just got only one cp and me and her talk on the telephone. i didnt do so many critiques but i did some for writers that do kids stories. i did those on a email but youre right sometimes its hard to say what you wanna say in just a email.
    ...hugs from lenny

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  15. Is it pathetic that I don't know how to use skype? And I'm supposed to be a tech savvy teen. :( Boo, I think I'll try it now.

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  16. Fellow crusader dropping in to say hi. Am I the only one still making her rounds? Anyway, I haven't tried Skype so can't comment. I don't have a CP friend, and use online critique forums. They can be harsh though, and you do get some idiots!!

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  17. Never used Skype for a critique, but I used it when a family member was studying abroad. It was pretty convenient, and I can definitely see the appeal of using it for critiquing. For one, you could ask any questions you have and get answers right away instead of waiting for an email back.

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  18. I've never used Skype every before for anything. I used to belong to a live crit group, years ago, but now all my CP-swapping is via online and email. You're right tho about words possibly conveying a diff "tone" and you can't really tell HOW someone has meant something. I like the ease and time-saving feature of online swapping still, however.

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  19. I've never used Skype. Don't know much about it, but it does seem like a great way to receive a critique.

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  20. That's why I'm glad I get to meet with my test readers in person.

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  21. As Sarah mentioned, we all live in the same area, so we get to see each other face to face. I find that most helpful or if you have a relationship with someone before hand via email, I think it might make the tone bit a little easier. I've given critiques back to others via email and now it makes me nervous about what I said. I hope I didn't offend.

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  22. I have SKYPED, but not with my critique partners. It's actually a really great idea, but would you believe I'm too shy to ask them?

    Plus, then I'd have to do my hair and put on decent clothes and throw the dog and her loud squeaky toy out of the house. (And possibly the children, too.)

    Do you ... er ... find yourself dressing up to SKYPE? Am I channeling my mother? Arghh!

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  23. My CPs and I usually email (like maniacs), but one time me and my crit buddy talked on the phone while she read through my chapter, and I liked it, because I could hear her laugh at the funny parts. I like email, too, though, because my kids take me being on the phone as a free pass to break out the wrestling ring and folding chairs.

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  24. *waves to Jeigh*
    I was just about to say my crit partner and I have done critiques on the phone, haha. Looks like she got here first!

    Skyping though...that could be fun!

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