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AQC Members' Feedback about the Query Critique Forum


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#1 BC Morin

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 08:07 PM

::name tag:: Hi, my name is Barbie ::name tag::

I'm loving the AQC site. I just posted my query yesterday and have gotten quite a bit of feedback. I also like that all the feedback hasn't been sugar-coated. I'm all about being honest without being mean and i've gotten that and some nice comments as well. I look forward to exploring the site more and receiving more critique on my query and then eventually my synopsis....

Great to meet you all ! :raises hand with drink:

#2 TansyRagwort

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 09:23 PM

Sometimes, I get such conflicting critiques. Some people love one line and other people hate it. But other than that, people are very patient and willing to help.

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#3 bigblackcat97

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 10:08 PM

Whenever I'm critting for someone, be it a whole ms or a query, I make it a point to highlight the positives as well. I try to keep the neg:pos around 3:1, enough to let them know what they're doing right, and enough to let them know what they're doing wrong.

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#4 Tam-L

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 12:01 AM

I don't think I'm great at receiving critique, or giving it, but goshdarnit, I'll keep trying. :-) Beats the alternative--living in a bubble. Wait, no, I like my delusional bubble.

But seriously, even the critiques that make me go OUCH!! have been incredibly helpful. It really demonstrates that your work is not a beautiful precious jewel to other people like it is to you. Nope, it's just a few more paragraphs to grade. Ahhh, perspective.

#5 Tom Preece

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 12:20 AM

I know what this forum has given me, and I have yet to give it back.

We write to the constrictions of form. Nobody told me before that I had to write to the forms of query, synopsis, outline, etc. It's just as creative an act as what we've all been doing.

Bottom line. We write for a reader. That reader gets what he/or she can from the media available. We struggle to access that media so they can read it.

I'm feeling good tonight. I've had a lot of great feedback from my beta readers. I know a lot about what I have to fix. I wouldn't be here this fast without this forum.

I'm still paranoid. i can't figure out who is paying for this...

But thanks.

#6 Ian Isaro

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 03:01 AM

I'm not sure (and I haven't received critique yet). I try to list everything I see as an issue, but in a neutral sense. As far as I know I have not made anyone cry.

#7 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 05:21 AM

When I actually find the time to critique queries, I admittedly try not to pull my punches. If I happen to make someone cry, then I just tell myself that I've given them practice in dealing with harsh criticism. Although, I don't think I've actually made anyone cry. Everyone here on this site seems mature enough to handle honest opinions.

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#8 Jshaw

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 06:57 AM

I love this critique site. It's helped me immensely and I find that the overwhelming majority of comments are thoughtfully constructive. Better that we tell each other what's not working than simply getting a form rejection!

As to the crying, I'm with Eli Ashpence - a thick skin is a must in the writing biz. That being said, nothing's wrong with letting out a few tears of frustration...every once in a while :happy:

#9 CS_W

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 07:20 AM

I personally like to be the kind type of "feedbacker", and I think this is the best approach. You can tell the truth and still be kind, mention the good aspects of the query as well as the bad.
Being too harsh is, in my opinion, pure bitterness. Having said that, feedback in this site is really great, I love it. Just my kind of feedback, even though I get some scrooges every now and then :happy:

#10 Cheryl B. Dale

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 09:56 AM

I've been on here a couple of years now. I used to go into first page, first chapter, synopsis, and a few other sites but don't have time now except the query site. It taught me a query should lay out the conflict. In fact, it taught me pretty much what conflict is. So I try to pay it back.

#11 Litgal

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 10:04 AM

I try to be polite but am doubtless brusque by some folks standards. I view writing (mine) as a business, so being polite is good, saying you like something when you do is also good, and mentoring is good; but handing holding or trying to point out positives where they are virtually non-existent. . .well those are just time-wasters (and time is money).

I also think query writing and critiquing can become an endless loop if folks let it. How many threads have I seen lately with hundreds of views and dozens of drafts?! The truth is the end goal of this process is actually sending a query and getting an agent and book deal – that means forward movement is necessary and fine-tuning your query should take considerably less time and effort than writing your novel did.

Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#12 Joel Q

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 10:18 AM

I try to be honest about the writing, good or bad.
I'm probably a little blunt sometimes.
If a person can't accept opinions from others, they don't need to be putting their work out there for critique.

People don't need to be mean or catty.
We also don't need to let sloppy writing go by either, just to keep from hurting someone's feelings.

Give praise when needed.

The critiques have helped my query.
I don't agree with every comment, but that's part of the process, finding what works for you and your story.
Chisel away until your voice comes through.
Need extra help, check out my editing services on my blog.

#13 mwsinclair

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 11:32 AM

I try to be constructive in my crits. To be honest, there are times when a query is just so bad that I don't think I'd have anything more constructive than to say "throw this away and start over from scratch: What is the conflict in the story?" I'm not sure I've actually shared that on a query yet, but that's how I've felt about several.

#14 popcornjack

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 12:03 PM

I voted for School of Hard Knox because ultimately I think that is what is going to be most helpful. I certainly try to be positive in all regards and offer some compliments about a query as well as some (what I hope is) constructive criticism. On a separate but connected issue, I find myself avoiding a lot of queries because I don't read enough YA fiction (okay, I don't read any) or Science Fiction and Fantasy to feel that I understand enough about those specific genres and if, within the standard query guidelines, there are certain elements agents and editors look for.

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#15 Eleanora di Toledo

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 12:25 PM

Without the query critique forum people might not have any idea about how their query is received by others. A favorite phrase could be exactly the wrong thing to include and at least here if something is really wacky, someone will usually point it out. It is nice to mix in some positive points too, of course. Realistically, I think we would almost all prefer to find out how people might be interpreting our query, even with a variety of conflicting instructions, than just count rejections or non-responses piling up. I think the query revisions that run into the hundreds reflect the awkwardness of the forum posting dynamics more than the futility of the process. Each rewrite spawns a new series of critiques whereas if you were looking at the text with the person there would be more immediate back-and-forth and fewer new drafts. One problem I see is that it seems like there are some aspiring writers who aren't nearly strong enough as writers to create publishable material and I wonder about encouraging them too much. I had no idea so many people could complete full length novels and still make lots of grammar and spelling mistakes in a short letter. Overall, as online environments go, this is one of the gentler, more supportive ones. I participate in a photography forum where "the pros" are really harsh with the newbies and I am always afraid to post, but it is still all in the name of constructive criticism.

#16 Cheryl B. Dale

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 03:26 PM

I try to be constructive in my crits. To be honest, there are times when a query is just so bad that I don't think I'd have anything more constructive than to say "throw this away and start over from scratch: What is the conflict in the story?" I'm not sure I've actually shared that on a query yet, but that's how I've felt about several.


Hey, I've felt that way about lots of queries I see! I've started only critiquing people who've been members a couple of months. That way I feel like, if they've been reading the posts and other info, maybe they've picked up something and aren't a one shot deal.

I try not to discourage people. It's hard to put yourself out there via your writing. If someone's got far enough to finish an entire manuscript, they deserve encouragement. That's the same reason I critique a few manuscripts in other groups. As a bonus, lots of times I see my own mistakes in other people's work so it's a win-win situation.

#17 Jemi

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 05:49 PM

I try to keep my crits honest and kind as well. I tend to mostly read the crits in genres I'm comfortable with - if I don't know much about a genre, I don't know how helpful I can be. I have avoided some queries where I just didn't know where to start with the crit. I don't have tons of time (like most of us), so I tend to focus on people who have contributed to other people's queries. If I've seen their name helping out on other people's work, I'm more likely to try to help them out.

I remember the first person to help me out with my query ages ago was Colorado Kid - he was kind, supportive and nailed the parts I messed up. His honesty was a huge help to me. I try to help out others in the same way. :smile:

#18 stokes

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 04:02 PM

I've loved all the feedback I've gotten. I need to hear what's missing, confusing or just flat out not working, because I'm so close to the story that its hard to separate the query from the book...if that makes sense? Had I sent out the query I started with I suspect I would have heard nothing but crickets. But I have to say it's nice hearing the positive feedback too - it keeps me positive.

I've been posting to other people's queries, but I fear I'm not totally helpful. But I'm working on it!

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#19 Darke

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 05:09 PM

I try to be polite but am doubtless brusque by some folks standards. I view writing (mine) as a business, so being polite is good, saying you like something when you do is also good, and mentoring is good; but handing holding or trying to point out positives where they are virtually non-existent. . .well those are just time-wasters (and time is money).

I also think query writing and critiquing can become an endless loop if folks let it. How many threads have I seen lately with hundreds of views and dozens of drafts?! The truth is the end goal of this process is actually sending a query and getting an agent and book deal – that means forward movement is necessary and fine-tuning your query should take considerably less time and effort than writing your novel did.


Honestly, I'm with Lit on this one. I haven't been on that board as much as I would like, because every time I do, there are threads with five to six pages. I just feel overwhelmed when I see that.:unsure:

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#20 Pete Morin

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 02:11 PM

One problem I see is that it seems like there are some aspiring writers who aren't nearly strong enough as writers to create publishable material and I wonder about encouraging them too much. I had no idea so many people could complete full length novels and still make lots of grammar and spelling mistakes in a short letter.


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