So Monday we talked about how to handle the Hit and Miss Critiquer (someone who gives some good material and then some crap so rage-inducing your head may explode)
Today I want to chat about those people who
1. I was chatting with a writing buddy the other day who wishes to remain nameless. We shall call him Cooter. Cooter "meets" another writer online through a writing forum/conference. They exchange a few emails and then Cooter's new friend asks Cooter what his book is about. Cooter sends a reply email with a quick little blurb about what the novel is about. Cooter's new friend then responds with a huge critique of blurb. Cooter is stunned, and more than a little irritated. Cooter replies stating he didn't ask for a crit and the other writer's response is that, as writers, we need to always be "on"
2. Example 2 is something I see quite often in the blogging community, usually tied to blogfests. Someone hosts a blogfest and we all join up and post our pieces. At this point, we're all pretty aware that what everyone else is posting is rough draft, unless stated otherwise. Occasionally you get a blogger who asks for crits or feedback, but in general we're all bloghopping just to see what everyone else posted and to offer words of encouragement. But then, inevitably, there's a blogger who jumps from blog to blog and critiques everyone's blogfest entry. And we're not talking a few thoughts or suggestions here and there (ie: "I was a bit confused here." or "The dialogue read a little stilted"). No, we're talking a 2-3 paragraph crit in the comment of the post. Usually delivered in a "I see a few things you did wrong here. You may not know but you shouldn't use adverbs" or whatever.
Did the blogfest blogger ask for a crit? No.
Does the blogger even really know this other blogger? Probably Not.
Does the blogger know she/he shouldn't use adverbs? Yes. But it's a Rough Draft!
What's up with these people who crit everything they come across? I'm sure some of them mean it to be helpful and friendly, but more often than not it comes off as pretentious.
For reals, if I want a critique of my work from you, I will ask you, or post it on my blog. And to be fair, if I don't really know you at all, chances are I don't want the critique. I keep most of my writing pretty close to my chest.
What do you think? Am I being a hardass on this point? Do you appreciate, or even enjoy unsolicited critiques of your work? Do you believe that as writers we need to be "on" at all times?
Next Monday I'll have another post that, while not directly related to critiquing, will bring up some of the other things "Jane" mentioned on my crits that left me confused.