Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

AQC Members' Feedback about the Query Critique Forum


  • Please log in to reply
96 replies to this topic

#21 Rick Pieters

Rick Pieters

    Alien Wrangler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 578 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:Short story, "Winter's Birds," in Summer's Double Edge anthology from Elephant's Bookshelf Press. Novel, Dark Light, Originally published by Cliffhanger Press (no longer in business) now self-pubbed and available at all the usual places.

Posted 03 August 2011 - 04:15 PM

I haven't had as much time as I'd like, lately, to spend on AQC, which has given me a perspective from a little distance. I get all the new topics from the Query Critique board in my email, and I've taken to reading them as I suspect an inundated agent might. If it grabs me, I'll try to get to it on-site and critique. If, on the other hand, I see in the first sentence the red flags that the writer hasn't even bothered to look at how to (or especially NOT to) write a query, I just move on. I see no gain in saying to the person what Matt said he often thinks and doesn't say. ;) My own experience a couple years ago, when I first came aboard with the same trepidation as every newbie, was that the critiquing I received was supportive and helpful. Very much so. Which is not to say I wasn't often told what was really not working. I also found that several members with keen eyes stayed with me through many revisions, and I've tried to do the same with those queries I jump in on. I don't pull punches, but I try always to be constructive and say what works as well as what doesn't. And I find that critiquing others is often as helpful to my own work and the crits I've received.

All that said, I see more of the newer people jumping in without, apparently, having researched what they're doing and offering writing that makes me cringe. I'd never tell them that, but I can't help thinking maybe someone should. I remember a member a while ago who used to do just that and was usually received with something less than gratitude for his brutal honesty. Maybe they should be told to at least learn the craft. Not that we can't improve and shouldn't always be improving and learning. But bad spelling, the hypothetical question opener, the "what if..." and other such instant turn-offs make me wonder.

Still, all in all, this is one of the most helpful, supportive, and professional online groups I've had the pleasure of participating in. Great group of folks, here.

Rick

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Blog: Room to Wonder

 

 18159598.jpg

 

 

  

 


#22 Desire4Fire

Desire4Fire

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 125 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:I have two published novels, published book I and book II in 2010 through a print by demand publisher.

Posted 04 August 2011 - 12:04 PM

Well the point in posting for critiques (is seeking opinions, and help) also realizing that this is the crucial step in seeking representation. I appreciate that the critiques are straight forward, and opinionated. Even within that opinion, lies value if the writer is serious about that next step. Truthfully, I never want to use the excuse of *not doing whats necessary to advance my goals) I Started from knowing little about the process to realizing what it takes to produce a query letter worth sending, novel, publishing, etc., and it has made this worth my time, my committment, while allowing me to connect to like minds.

I appreciate this more, because I know where I want to go..where I've been, and now I actually see how to get there. Thats the *Kewl* part of this process.

It is a time commitment to others as well, something they didn't have to do, (reviewing my letter~ but gave it a shot. :) did i say thank you!
Desire4Fire

#23 kevinmont

kevinmont

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 433 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:My historical novel, Six Winter Days, was published in April, 2014 by Blue Water Press

Posted 06 August 2011 - 10:40 AM

I voted for #3, the delivery.

But that aside, I have a sense that the first critique sets the tone for the whole conversation. If it's positive or negative, people jump on in that direction, like a snowball rolling downhill. I once tried to prove my theory by being the first poster and giving a positive review to a bad query, and damned if I wasn't right.

There's very little disagreement among the MEMBERS. You seldom read, "I disagree, RC (example), the plot is clear to me..." or "Not true, Pete, that phrase is OK..." Nearly all the comments are directed at the writer, which precludes argument among the members, and perpetuates the direction of the thread.

If it's going good or bad for the author, it's almost impossible to turn it.

#24 Litgal

Litgal

    Veteran Queen Bee -- Moderator "Here Be Historicals"

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,495 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel, "The Sister Queens," (March 2012/NAL), was set in 13th century France and England and wove the captivating story of sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens. My next solo novel, "Medicis Daughter," (Dec 1 2015/Thomas Dunne) traveled forward three-hundred years to the intrigue-riven French Valois court, spinning the tale of beautiful princess Marguerite who walks the knife edge between the demands of her serpentine mother, Catherine de Medicis, and those of her own conscience.

    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 06 August 2011 - 10:52 AM

I voted for #3, the delivery.

But that aside, I have a sense that the first critique sets the tone for the whole conversation. If it's positive or negative, people jump on in that direction, like a snowball rolling downhill. I once tried to prove my theory by being the first poster and giving a positive review to a bad query, and damned if I wasn't right.

There's very little disagreement among the MEMBERS. You seldom read, "I disagree, RC (example), the plot is clear to me..." or "Not true, Pete, that phrase is OK..." Nearly all the comments are directed at the writer, which precludes argument among the members, and perpetuates the direction of the thread.

If it's going good or bad for the author, it's almost impossible to turn it.


But that assumes we read the other critiques. Once in a while I do (especially if I am joining in early in the chain) but I have to admit a majority of the time I DON'T look at what others are saying. So your observation may not be so much proof of snowballing as of a bunch of people independently coming to similar conclusions.

Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#25 kevinmont

kevinmont

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 433 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:My historical novel, Six Winter Days, was published in April, 2014 by Blue Water Press

Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:13 AM


But that assumes we read the other critiques.


Really. You don't read the other critiques? No wonder you never reply to my comments directed to you.

Also, it's hard to believe that two writers would arrive at the same conclusion independently. That just never happens. It takes a lot less brain power to piggyback off of the previous one.

But you probably won't read this post anyway, so never mind.

#26 RileyRedgate

RileyRedgate

    Ant, the Quixotic Query Quibbler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,994 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel, SEVEN WAYS WE LIE, was released in March 2016 by Abrams and optioned for film by Jane Startz Productions. My sophomore novel, NOTEWORTHY, hits shelves May 2017.

Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:20 AM

If there's a long thread, I'm unlikely to read any of the other critiques, either. I snatch the latest revision and go for it. But I do check back in for follow-up comments and revisions, and that's when I scan others' remarks, as a general rule.

In fact, I try not to read other critiques for the reason you mentioned - it flavors my view of the work. I like to crit on my first read through so I can catch everything that trips me up on the first go around.

author of SEVEN WAYS WE LIE and NOTEWORTHY

rep: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

 

i tweet!


#27 Litgal

Litgal

    Veteran Queen Bee -- Moderator "Here Be Historicals"

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,495 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel, "The Sister Queens," (March 2012/NAL), was set in 13th century France and England and wove the captivating story of sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens. My next solo novel, "Medicis Daughter," (Dec 1 2015/Thomas Dunne) traveled forward three-hundred years to the intrigue-riven French Valois court, spinning the tale of beautiful princess Marguerite who walks the knife edge between the demands of her serpentine mother, Catherine de Medicis, and those of her own conscience.

    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:20 AM

Really. You don't read the other critiques? No wonder you never reply to my comments directed to you.

Also, it's hard to believe that two writers would arrive at the same conclusion independently. That just never happens.


I don't want what others have said to influence how I read a piece and also I am generally very pressed for time. So no, I seldom read what other's have said with a few notable exceptions (either due to timing or due to who the person commenting is).
Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#28 C. Taylor

C. Taylor

    Subsisting on Pots of Tea

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,300 posts
  • Literary Status:published, self-published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I'm a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author writing under the pen name, Cali MacKay and write fun and steamy contemporary romances, in addition to erotica, paranormal romances and mysteries. I also write steampunk romances under the pen name Calista Taylor.

Posted 06 August 2011 - 11:38 AM

I'm with Lit and Ant on this. I might scan the most recent comments if I have time, but for the most part, I just give my crit.

As for blunt or kind, I don't think people have to be jerks when giving a crit, but in this business, there are few agents and publishers that are going to soften their blows. For me, honest feedback, even if it hurts, is worth its weight in gold-- but so is knowing your story and knowing what feedback to take and what to leave behind. When it comes to really new/green writers, I do try and make sure that my crit is phrased without the harshness that can sometimes creep in when I'm crazy busy and running on my typical 4 hours of sleep.

Cali MacKay

        FREE

51HdjDwZKxL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51Ekbyv33TL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51HnUjguTHL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-511uTCIPFnL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51-y12BGRPL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-51LB9MAkXgL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-612uyFf1xML._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-61y0ZMZ-%2BaL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arro51J-PsyEZoL._SL500_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-

 


#29 DC Rich

DC Rich

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,636 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, unagented
  • LocationUS South
  • Publishing Experience:Published a short story with members of the Mississippi Writer's Guild. Still seeking to publish my books.
    Book is on Amazon under the title Pinebelt Poetry and Prose

Posted 14 August 2011 - 06:51 PM

The critique forum was one of my first stops when I started here. I read the boards, introduced myself and jumped in. All the feedback I got was fantastic.

Was it hard to read about character soup? You bet! Was it needed? Yes.

I've been very busy in Clipper's summer marathon so I haven't been critiquing many queries lately, but I do want to pay it forward and help where I can.

I've learned a lot about how to do the critiquing from some of the masters around here, Ant, Cat, Litgal, BK, and of course I loved Crew's crits when the crit challenge ran earlier last spring. Hands down this is where the rubber meets the road. I wouldn't have stayed and participated in the other forums if this particular one hadn't been so helpful.

DC

When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Never squat with your spurs on.
-- Cowboy wisdom from Will Rogers

Follow me, or tweet me on twitter
Visit my blog The Write Time
Visit my group blog: Aliens, Dragons, and Wraiths, Oh My!

 


#30 Olyn

Olyn

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 2 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:I am self-published through Createspace and Smashwords. I belong to many writer, author and animal forums. I have found that most publishers won't accept your work unless you are represented by an agent. I know there are many opportunities out here and I'll continue to try to find them. My wheels are constantly spinning but I feel I'm going in circles.
    I'm learning new things every day. So much to learn though.
    I'm in the editing stages of the second book in my Omar Blue saga, "Lead By An Eagle." A unique adventure for Omar Blue and his pack and I'm very proud of it. I don't want to put it out until I have a method of getting it to where it can get a fair appraisal.

Posted 20 August 2011 - 08:30 PM

Hello everyone. I'm new here but know I'm going to like it. I've just put out an agent query to be critiqued. I realize it works both ways and would like to do the same for others. I've never done this before but I would be fair and by all means any criticism would be constructive and of course only my opinion. Should I start right away or wait until I've gotten "the lay of the land." I'd like to help because I know how important comments are to all of us.

#31 Cheryl B. Dale

Cheryl B. Dale

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,193 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Category, ebooks, mystery

Posted 21 August 2011 - 11:54 AM

Hello everyone. I'm new here but know I'm going to like it. I've just put out an agent query to be critiqued. I realize it works both ways and would like to do the same for others. I've never done this before but I would be fair and by all means any criticism would be constructive and of course only my opinion. Should I start right away or wait until I've gotten "the lay of the land." I'd like to help because I know how important comments are to all of us.


You might want to check out the site information on writing queries. Then read some of the queries and the advice given. When I first came on, I lurked for several weeks before feeling competent enough to comment. Lots of people do jump right in, though. So it's up to you.

#32 scubasteve4

scubasteve4

    Gone Writing

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 406 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel BATTERY BROTHERS is due out with Elephant's Bookshelf Press on March 30, 2014.

Posted 21 August 2011 - 07:01 PM

There are 346,004,403 websites on the web. I like this one best. That’s saying something!

The members of AQ Connect make this site great. Criticism of fellow writers’ work is, for the most part, constructive, not destructive. I believe there is an art to giving a query critique in this type of support-based community that is home to writers that range from published to just starting out. Bashing a new or unpolished writer isn’t going to help the writer improve. It may even turn the writer off to the craft. I can only imagine how many would-be award-winning authors got discouraged early on by destructive feedback and gave up. That’s not to say everything should be spun positively. It shouldn’t. Call out everything that is not working in the query or their manuscript or whatever. But if your post is all negative and comes off more as a personal attack, I think that’s a poor critique for this type of community. This is a community of support more than anything. Even if the writing is completely horrible, adding a note at the end of critique like, “Keep at it. You’ll get there,” goes a long way. Cat Woods, Ant, and many others are pros at doing just that.

May I be so bold as to off up two suggestions that I think will make this site even better?

- I’d like to see a Hall of Fame section. A place we can view writers who either got agented or traditionally published (or self-published with more than 5,000 sales) AFTER joining this site. I think it would be an honor to get in and serve as inspiration to those who still trying to get there.
- Secret Agent Contests seem to work well on others sites. Having a monthly secret agent contest on this site would be fun. I think it would be beneficial to the agents and writers.

Keep up the good work, AQCrew and AQers. You rock!

http://www.stevencarman.com
 

BatteryBros3.jpg

 

Published: March 30, 2014
Elephant's Bookshelf Press


#33 Robbin

Robbin

    Robbin

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 127 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 24 August 2011 - 09:14 AM

When I first started participating, I remember receiving a difficult critique and I questioned my ability at writing -- Ant rescued me from my own pity party :) Yes, thick skin is necessary to grow as a writer. Now, I welcome critiques that help me see with new eyes. I appreciate this site and those who pay it forward - I value your opinions. The bottom line is... I have the final say. Thank you!
Robbin Luckett
YA Writer

#34 Candyland

Candyland

    Fairiequeen

  • Banned
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:15 PM

I am a newbie to this site but I've been writing for a long time. I'm glad you posted this because I needed to be sure of how much is too much.
I've read a few queries in here that were so awful I couln't think of one positive thing to say. So I didn't say anything.
Those of you who have been here for awile, how do you deal with this situation?
I want to contribute and offer whatever knowledge I may have garnered at this point. But what do I do when I read queries so poorly constructed that it's obvious this writer has no clue about queries or about writing in general?

Just asking...

#35 Litgal

Litgal

    Veteran Queen Bee -- Moderator "Here Be Historicals"

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,495 posts
  • Literary Status:published, agented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:My debut novel, "The Sister Queens," (March 2012/NAL), was set in 13th century France and England and wove the captivating story of sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens. My next solo novel, "Medicis Daughter," (Dec 1 2015/Thomas Dunne) traveled forward three-hundred years to the intrigue-riven French Valois court, spinning the tale of beautiful princess Marguerite who walks the knife edge between the demands of her serpentine mother, Catherine de Medicis, and those of her own conscience.

    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:30 PM

I am a newbie to this site but I've been writing for a long time. I'm glad you posted this because I needed to be sure of how much is too much.
I've read a few queries in here that were so awful I couln't think of one positive thing to say. So I didn't say anything.
Those of you who have been here for awile, how do you deal with this situation?
I want to contribute and offer whatever knowledge I may have garnered at this point. But what do I do when I read queries so poorly constructed that it's obvious this writer has no clue about queries or about writing in general?

Just asking...


Just as you did. The truth is if I open a query that will need an overwhelming amount of work I just feel exhausted and back slowly away. That may not be the right response but I only have limited time. I don't even have time to read or comment on every good query. So the really "not ready" are right out.
Lit. (aka Sophie Perinot)

#36 Cheryl B. Dale

Cheryl B. Dale

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,193 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:Category, ebooks, mystery

Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:35 PM

I am a newbie to this site but I've been writing for a long time. I'm glad you posted this because I needed to be sure of how much is too much.
I've read a few queries in here that were so awful I couln't think of one positive thing to say. So I didn't say anything.
Those of you who have been here for awile, how do you deal with this situation?
I want to contribute and offer whatever knowledge I may have garnered at this point. But what do I do when I read queries so poorly constructed that it's obvious this writer has no clue about queries or about writing in general?

Just asking...


I don't mind helping people who are serious about their writing. I had a lot of help and still get it. But I've limited myself to the query group because like Litgal, I have only so much time.

And I only comment for those people who've been on the site at least 2-3 months. By that time, if they've read the info on queries and followed the queries being critiqued, they've usually picked up something and proved they're serious about learning.

So don't give up on them. Even the worst writer can improve if s/he's helped and tries.

#37 RC Lewis

RC Lewis

    Splitting Braincells

  • Group Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,469 posts
  • Literary Status:published, in-between agents
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:STITCHING SNOW, Hyperion, 2014
    SPINNING STARLIGHT, Hyperion, 2015

Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:42 PM

I am a newbie to this site but I've been writing for a long time. I'm glad you posted this because I needed to be sure of how much is too much.
I've read a few queries in here that were so awful I couln't think of one positive thing to say. So I didn't say anything.
Those of you who have been here for awile, how do you deal with this situation?
I want to contribute and offer whatever knowledge I may have garnered at this point. But what do I do when I read queries so poorly constructed that it's obvious this writer has no clue about queries or about writing in general?

Just asking...

If it's really far off the mark, I don't do a line-by-line massacre of the thing. In those cases, I try to point out big-picture problems, steer them toward some resources on query basics, and save the hatchet for a later revision when it's ready for more fine-tuning.

But that's me. And only when I feel up to responding at all. (I've done the walk-away a few times, but I also stick primarily to genres I feel I know pretty well and am interested in.)

_-Snow-Small.jpg           Spin-Small.jpg
   Stitching Snow        Spinning Starlight
     October 2014                October 6, 2015
       Hyperion                        Hyperion


#38 Candyland

Candyland

    Fairiequeen

  • Banned
  • Pip
  • 178 posts
  • Literary Status:agented
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 24 August 2011 - 03:52 PM

Thank you. Good advice. I will offer encouragement to those I can, and back off when I have nothing positive to add.

#39 Makuro

Makuro

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 155 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Northwest

Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:19 AM

What about making a 1st chapter review thread? Limit it to say 4000 words.

Love this site.

#40 Moonshade

Moonshade

    Plague Cat

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,514 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:The Urban Dragon series

Posted 01 September 2011 - 02:20 PM

I am a newbie to this site but I've been writing for a long time. I'm glad you posted this because I needed to be sure of how much is too much.
I've read a few queries in here that were so awful I couln't think of one positive thing to say. So I didn't say anything.
Those of you who have been here for awile, how do you deal with this situation?
I want to contribute and offer whatever knowledge I may have garnered at this point. But what do I do when I read queries so poorly constructed that it's obvious this writer has no clue about queries or about writing in general?

Just asking...

I'm sorry to admit it, and I'm working on being more patient and understanding, but sometimes I get harsh. Part of it is that reading through a really difficult query is exhausting and dries up my patience pretty fast. Another part of it, though, is that I've got a pretty hard head myself, and sometimes I need information to be shouted before I can understand how important it is. It's harsh, but it's also a lot more honest. I don't think I'm heinous in my harshness-- I don't pull garbage like "It's bad and you should feel bad", but I tend not to pull punches along the lines of "It's broken. Fix it." Somebody's got to say it, after all.


That said, I've got a lot of sympathy for people who got excited and jumped into the pool too fast. I know how discouraging it can be if nobody'll even look at your work, but at the same time, they've got to be reminded that this isn't fanfiction.net. We don't coddle here. (Some of my favorite people, actually, are the ones that I yelled at for not reading the manual and messing things up (posting multiple queries, whining about not getting crits without working for them, etc), who messaged me back, thanked me for pointing out their mistakes, and then asked me how to best fix it. That takes a truckload and a half of guts and a rhinoceros-thick skin, and it's downright impressive.)

Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Website

mark_zpsckzxw7vu.jpg  Potnia_zpsykuekifx.jpg





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users