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#61 Leigh Teale

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:11 AM

Then people who should take a few good writing courses can be gently encouraged to do that, before spending time, energy and heartache on query-writing.


I understand where you're coming from completely. The thing is, though, when most of us critique the "bad" ones, instead of a line-by-line we say things like: "I worry about your manuscript." "Your grammar needs a lot of work." "The level of misspellings gives me pause about the polish of your story." "You need to take a hard look at your novel before querying this. Possibly hire a professional editor."

Unless I'm in a really giving mood (or I'm procrastinating) I won't do an in-depth critique on something that makes me worry about the quality of the manuscript. Like you said, it's a waste of an agent's time. If I do give such a critique on a "bad" one and I see that my suggestions are being used verbatim instead of the author truly fixing things, I ignore the thread. At that point, my own time has been wasted.

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#62 Kryista

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:21 AM

I have noticed the same thing. I have gotten to the point that if it is bad or no one is critiquing something because they noticed the same thing, I let them know. The problem with not wasting your time critiquing something bad is that a writer with no comments on their query is going to go ahead and start querying agents because they aren't getting feedback. I won't go through the thing step by step, because that is a waste of time, but I try to say, 'Look, you need to go see how queries are written and come back.' But I have had one person get a little perturbed that I critqued them and if they can't take criticism or if they get offended by any little thing, then they shouldn't be in this business. That is my stand on it. I am with LeighTeale in that if they don't take your advice, there is no point in following it anymore, because they don't want help, they just want someone to tell them that they are right. And swirlyhead did touch on a very good point. What is the point of helping someone get an amazing query if their MS isn't up to par. I know I have seen several members come back and say, 'It was a problem in the QL because the problem was the MS.' If they post a small sample, then the group can tell them that they need to fix their MS first before wasting their time querying agents.

If anyone has a moment to spare, I, too, am in need of a critique. Thanks for the help!

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#63 keeping-trees

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 10:29 PM

Honestly, I think if you critique hard enough and expose any inconsistency in the QL, it's going to expose some holes in the MS itself. If the author is editing and the book's components just aren't enough to make the QL sound right, that's going to be noticeable. They might not always be aware of it, but requesting a snippet of the book won't identify that problem; the author has to see it or they won't be able to fix it on the necessary fundamental level.

That's how it went for me, anyway. The problem wasn't (just) my old query, but my old MS. The micro-editing of making a good QL revealed to me that I needed to pull more from the MS, and if I can't do that, it's a problem with the MS, not the QL.
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#64 ADrane

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:33 PM

I critique like my father did with me all those years ago when I was a child. As a lawyer, he paid strict attention to brevity, clarity, and organization -- he passed this on to me.

He offered no compliments. It was strictly "this is what you need to change." It's how i try to critique, as impersonally as possible.

Honestly, I stay away from young adult. I find too often the writing is lacking and I doubt the project as a whole. I'm happy to help someone on their way to signing with an agent, but when your problems are deeper than your query letter, no amount of help I offer with accomplish this.

#65 cynkaba

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 08:45 PM

I love this site. Everyone has been so helpful. My only complaint is that I posted about four drafts of my query letter and only received comments on the first three drafts. I desperately need crits on my fourth and hopefully final draft but haven't received any even after commenting on other queries and other topics in AQC. I was told not to do a new post, so I'm trying to be patient while someone finds me again and gives me their opinion. I have been sending out queries to agents, but I just want to make sure my current draft is the best one.

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#66 mzbritney12

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:32 PM

Hi, My name is Britney! I'm new to AQ and so far, I'm loving every moment of it. TO THOSE WHO HAVE CRITIQUED MY FIRST QUERY, thank you very much. :)

I seriously appreciate it.

I used to think I could do it all by myself, but after a while, I realized that I couldn't.

So I'm just glad to know that there's a safe place on the internet to find help.

I just revised my query, THE COLLECTORS. If you have a chance, check it out!

Also, I will try my VERY best to critique to anyone else who needs it--I'm no expert, but I'll try!

Again, Thanks! <3


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#67 eforkey

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 12:16 PM

Mostly I'm learning that I am query inept! I've appreciated all the feedback (though sometimes I have to fight temporary depression after reading them) and I'm really grateful for this site. However, I haven't given any feedback yet - I just joined yesterday - because after all the critiques, I feel like I'd only be hurting someone not helping them!



#68 Jenny Jones

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 01:49 PM

I've actually offered feedback to 14 people, and have only received one feedback for my query. I just joined yesterday. I don't know what this means....



#69 Leigh Teale

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:24 PM

I've actually offered feedback to 14 people, and have only received one feedback for my query. I just joined yesterday. I don't know what this means....

 

It means it takes time. Most of us have at least one job and all of us are stretched across world-wide timezones. I know when I log on I generally only have time for one or two quick posts. Feedback takes longer and I generally wait until I have time to sit down and devote to it... Not just give a fast reply via my phone.

 

A good trick is posting a link to your query and synopsis in your signature.


Edited by Leigh Teale, 24 May 2013 - 03:29 PM.

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#70 Michael Steven

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Posted 05 June 2013 - 11:55 PM

I've actually offered feedback to 14 people, and have only received one feedback for my query. I just joined yesterday. I don't know what this means....


After I saw this, I went to look for your querey. First I noticed that you have 5 responses since you wrote this, so that's a good thing. One thing you might consider since there is a popular section of the forum ... if your query hasn't received responses, and you still want them, then bump your thread so it gets back to the front page. I know I tend to hover around the first few pages of a thread. If something has sunk deeper, a lot of folks may not see it.

Personally, I prefer to focus on fantasy and science fiction because that's what I know best. I write it as well as read it. Also, I stay away from MG and YA. The stories are usually good, but I don't write it, so I'm not entirely sure about the nuts and bolts. Critiquing it is tough, at least for me. I might say "especially for me" because when I was at the age considered YA, I never even heard of YA, and read books that would be considered "adult" today.
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#71 seikae

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:18 AM

My input, I agree with [‘school of hard Knox’] the candor. I love it ‘OUCH’ the response you need to improve its constructive input. This critique forum in the short time as a member I have learned much on this site. I read others and the critiques help me to look at my own material with a more questioning eye. It also helps me when I read others material to be able to give worthy comments or advice. An area I’m not comfortable in as of yet -still learning myself.

 

 

It’s ok if some prefer cutesy critiques.  Actually, both are good the input either makes you want to do better or shrink and do nothing.  I want to improve in all areas query, synopsis, and critiques. As well as help in any way that I can with constructive feed-back.

Seikae

 

 

P.S. Can anyone tell me how to up load a picture. I tried but the photo I have is too large, per the response I received. Is there somewhere on this site to just pick an icon, and or photo? Please, instead, of the blank silhouette picture below my name.

 

Thanks much.

Seikae



#72 Storymatic

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 12:16 PM

Hi, I'm Storymatic. 

 

It's VERY interesting for me to read the critiques posted on this site because of the range of tones they adopt.  Some are pretty efficient and down to business, others hand-hold, others almost seem to come out swinging (though this is rare).

 

I teach creative writing and one of the first things I teach my students is how to give feedback that's honest WITHOUT making people curl up in a ball and pray for the end.  Of course you can't always account for everyone's fragility, but there are some moves that are just never worth it -- blanket statements like "No reader would ever want to. . ." or comments that toe over the line of commenting on the work and into commenting on the writer ("your language use just isn't very mature").  It's worth it to note that these are invented quotations, nothing specific I've seen here, but examples of the KIND of stuff people say, without the intention of making a writer defensive, that can have just that effect.

 

Bottom line, critiquing should be a fun, exhilarating mental experience; for writers, it will always be at least minimally nerve-wracking to get critiqued.  That said, not being careful enough to think twice about how to say something that needs to be said has a worse price than hurt feelings:  it tends to make the object of the critique tune out what might actually BE very savvy advice.  If it's worth saying to the author, it's worth saying in such a way that you know you have a chance of being heard, not tuned out.

 

Party on, people. . .

 

 



#73 CeeJam

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Posted 12 August 2013 - 02:57 PM

Hi Storymatic,

 

While I agree with most of what you say, there are a few issues which do bring out wrath sometimes.  People making basic spelling or grammatical errors in what is supposed to be a pitch well within their sphere of capability really gets my goat.

 

I think what people need to remember is that this is such a subjective field, and any crit is only the opinion of the one person supplying it.  Most of what I see, and I hope all of my own feedback, is intended to be considered opinions and thoughts, and that is what makes this forum a good place in which to work and play.

 

Hand holding and encouragement are good things, but in circumstances where writers need genuine responses the 'white lies' can be counter-productive.  I take the stance that if someone comes here and requests a critique of their work, that is exactly what they deserve.  Honesty all the way.  And here I agree with you too - if you don't like something, then say so - but as a writer yourself you need to find the best way to do this.

 

Keep up the good work.

 

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#74 cjolin

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 11:54 AM

After teaching journalism for years, I've learned one important fact: Compliments are fine, but criticism gets the job done.



#75 jadah

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:29 PM

The one thing I've noticed after reading and critiquing many, many queries, and really FEELING something similar to what an agent must feel, is that everything starts to blend together and turn into word mush. And agents read a billion more queries in a day than I ever will.

 

It just really opens my eyes as to how ON POINT the query needs to be, or the agent won't read past the first line.

 

A very helpful insight.


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#76 Sandi Perry

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 02:27 PM

Jadah, I agree, and just by looking at successful queries and the correct format helps establish a rhythm to the query which I think a lot of people are missing. Not only does the idea have to be fresh, it has to go down easy....

 

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#77 jadah

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 02:33 PM

Exactly. There is definitely a rhythm and cadence you want to achieve when writing a query. And as I've been browsing through the successful queries, I've also noticed that most, if not all of them, are chock full of voice.


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#78 Mallory

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 03:05 PM

One of my personal pet peeves is when revised queries are posted within hours of the critiques. Don't get me wrong, some of my favorite (yes i do play favorites) AQCers have done this, so its not a dealbreaker. QS recommends you wait a week, but I'll admit even I'm too impatient for that. Even just 24 hours can make a huge difference. Come back with some fresh eyes to really understand if you put enough voice in or if that character seems likable.

Might just be me though....

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#79 D. R. Teegarden

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:29 AM

I know that I personally have that issue of including a good voice in my queries. I don't have the issue when writing the MS, but the query just totally wrecks. I often times have a difficult time keeping the query under 300 words and when I try to add more voice, it ends up using even more words! I also have issues with always using "tell" words instead of "show". And just like Jadah did, I went to successful queries and have been trying to rework things. Hopefully I'll do better.

And I totally agree with the last statement. The forest from the trees is a perfect way to describe it. You often don't even see the issues with your query simply because you know the full story already.



#80 Melonieann

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 12:49 PM

I would love to give feedback on other query submissions. But with struggling with my own query, I'm worried I won't give good advice. Should I, as a newbie, wait until I get better with my own? Or just dive right in and say what's on my mind?

 

 

 

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