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FF-02: What to write about literature deviations

Journal Entry: Tue Dec 18, 2012, 7:01 AM

Hello, hello, hello :wave:

We all know that leaving feedback on a literature deviation is something hard. It takes more time to get the whole picture and often, after finishing the whole lecture, you are left with just an omniscient "uhm" to say. :shrug: This blog will cover just that: what to write instead of that uhm.

No matter how the deviation is structured you can always say how the text made you feel and what you liked about it. Focus on the images or phrases which gave you that impression and see how they relate to the whole text. Expand by analyzing the register and style the piece was written in (humorous, drama, angry or happy). You can go further and extract the main idea of the text and compare it with the work of other known artists: was it original? Did it use some certain stereotypes?
See? There is always something to say :nod: Just remember that if you provide suggestions (as constructive criticism, of course), you should always precede and follow them with something positive about the deviation.

Next, let us take our magnifying glasses from our pockets and examine two big literature categories and see what we could write about them.


Poetry

… is mostly something delicate and fragile so "tread softly because you tread on my dreams" (W.B. Yeats).
First impression. Start with the idea the poem gives you. Speak and relate to it. Does it remind you of other texts? Make a comparison. Did it contain original elements?
Style. Determine to which genre the poem belongs. Is it free verse or rhyming? Speak about the title and the stanzas. If a poem has a title it should add something to it. Did you notice a specific structure in the poem (sonnets, sestinas, etc)? Musicality? Rhyme?
Mood. Determine the mood the poem was written in. What's the main idea of the poem? How did it make you feel? What feelings did it evoke? Don't be afraid to re-read it if you're unsure.
Technique. Speak further about the means the poet used to transmit their ideas and feelings. Speak about the images or descriptions from the text. Were there any figures of speech used (metaphor, simile, comparison, alliteration, etc)? Discover how these elements worked together to create the impression the poem gave you.
Conclusion. Finish with something you enjoyed. Say if you want to read more.


Prose

… is a twisted web, with loops, holes and unexpected faces. It stretches and struggles, yet it always fascinates its prey.
First impression. Begin with the opinion you have about the text. Did you resonate with it? Would you like to read more? Could you find links to other works? How original was it?
Opening. The first few sentences are always the most important in a story. They decide if you are actually going to read it or not. Did it get your attention quick enough? Was it interesting? Did something attract you?
Plot. The main idea behind a story can sometimes be seen only at the end. What was it? Can it be recognized across the whole text or does the text seem to go away from it? Are there any logic flaws in it (elements which could solve the main conflict sooner). Is there enough conflict between the characters?
Descriptions. Descriptions have to magically transport you to the place where the action takes places. Do the descriptions provide enough information to let you "visualize" the setting? Was it too much? Were the descriptions original or did they contain cliches?
Characters. Stories are life-less if they contain no characters. How are the persons presented? Are they complex, with different personalities or are they focused on a single trait? Is there a difference in the way the main character is described?
Is there any dialogue? Did it match the persons personality? Did it seem like a genuine dialog? Did it add something to the characters?
Form of the text. Short stories cannot contain as much information as a novel, therefore each sentence should have its proper place. Is there something extra in the story? Is something missing? Remember to scale your expectations to the length of the text.
Language. Was the language easy to understand? Did it contain mistakes? How about grammar? Or perhaps it had something which caught your eye.
Conclusion. Finish with something you enjoyed. Say if you want to read more.

I'll leave you with just a few tips you should consider:


Tips

   :bulletgreen: Don't read what others wrote. Their comments will automatically influence you.
   :bulletgreen: Critique the text and not the author themself.
   :bulletgreen: Always praise the things which need to be praised.
   :bulletgreen: Critique as you want to be critiqued. If you would get such a critique would you be happy about it?

Happy critiquing :happybounce:



Add a Comment:
 
:iconsingingflames:
SingingFlames Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Great suggestions! Very helpful. :nod:
Reply
:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012
Thank you :D
Reply
:iconliliwrites:
LiliWrites Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I always read the other critiques before I write my own to avoid redundancy and in case I have something I disagree with/want to re-emphasize that someone else already touched on.

Otherwise, quite agreed! :)
Reply
:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012
I noticed that other critiques influence me, but your approach is good too. It would be boring for the artist to read the same comment over and over again, just a bit rephrased :D
Reply
:iconiamoret:
iAmoret Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Which is weird because I've only commented on lit so far- I'm having a lot of trouble critiquing regular art. :confused:
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:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012
there are several tutorials were you could begin, but a good starting point for me was: What to say when you don't know what to say

I hope this helps :aww:
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:iconmiontre:
miontre Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Great article! :nod:
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:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012
thank you :)
Reply
:iconshadowedacolyte:
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
Also, to the note about not reading others' critiques--I think that's true when you're preparing to critique a specific piece, yes. However, reading good critique on a work you're not planning to critique can help you learn how to approach crit in the future.

(And sorry for the double post earlier.)
Reply
:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
I was referring to reading others' critiques before writing your own. :)

Apart from that, it's encouraged to read material about critiques or even other peoples critiques. You could go to the Critiques section of deviantArt or find some other critiques tutorials, probably better or longer than this post.

No problem for the double post :hug:
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:iconlaeneris:
Laeneris Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Student Writer
I agree, that's a good point! :nod:
Reply
:iconselimeia:
Selimeia Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Nice critique points :nod:

Being in the lit category, I hope it inspires some non-writers to read, too, as they often have a completely different perspective ^.^

Maybe you should edit, though, and explain that (in)comprehensibility is an important point too - especially for poetry :)
Reply
:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
I'm glad you liked it :D

I hope it was presented in such a way that even non-writers can refer to it :nod:

*ShadowedAcolyte suggested something similar with (in)comprehensibility, so I'm going to add this to the journal :la:
Reply
:iconselimeia:
Selimeia Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I only read that (s)he did after my comment. :D

Thank you :hug:
Reply
:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012
you're welcome :aww:
Reply
:iconshadowedacolyte:
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
Being more lit focused, I have a much harder time critiquing visual art pieces. I have so much less to say. *grin*

One thing that stood out from the above: "Don't be afraid to re-read it if you're unsure." I think that anyone writing a critique of a lit piece should have read it at a bare minimum twice before beginning the critique and then at least once more while writing the critique.

It's worth adding that "I didn't understand this" is valuable critique, if the writer wants to have written something intelligible. It's a perfectly valid reader response.
Reply
:iconlaeneris:
Laeneris Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012  Student Writer
Thank you for writing this, it was very useful for me (and I'm sure for others too :giggle:)! I'm comfortable with giving feedback on prose, but I've always found writing a critique about poetry hard to do... I'll be sure to remember these tips. :heart:
Reply
:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
I'm glad you found it useful :aww: I tried to keep this journal as short and concise as possible :D

Happy critiquing :hooray:
Reply
:iconshadowedacolyte:
ShadowedAcolyte Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
Being more lit focused, I have a much harder time critiquing visual art pieces. I have so much less to say. *grin*

One thing that stood out from the above: "Don't be afraid to re-read it if you're unsure." I think that anyone writing a critique of a lit piece should have read it at a bare minimum twice before beginning the critique and then at least once more while writing the critique.

It's worth adding that "I didn't understand this" is valuable critique, if the writer wants to have written something intelligible. It's a perfectly valid reader response.
Reply
:icongrauweiss:
GrauWeiss Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2012
I'm glad you think that re-reading is important. Often you notice some aspects only at your second, sometimes third read. And then it's easier to provide spot-on critique.

The text should be understandable and logical. If it's not the writer should be made aware of this. :aww:

Happy critiquing :la:
Reply
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