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Archive for July, 2010

I have come across a pretty weird blogging phenomenon lately.

Every now and again, I google some of my blog posts to see where they’ve been reposted. I’ve had one on the Nike site, and another on Scrivener’s Facebook & Twitter. But recently I’ve been coming across parallel versions of my blog posts that appear to have been translated into a foreign language and back again.

At one site, this opening paragraph:

I stopped writing my narrative to concentrate on character development for a secondary character (Z). In the novel, Z was to play a mentoring role to my main character. It was so difficult to write her scenes…

became:

I chock-full autograph my anecdotal to apply on appearance development for a accessory appearance . In the novel, Z was to comedy a mentoring role to my main character. It was so difficult to address her scenes, and I realised I didn’t …

Worse still, this post (where I whine about feedback on my grammar) became reposted on another wordpress site (called ‘what i see’) as:

In my other (laboring) life, I was a human resources manager. One small part of my piece of work was to give people feedback on their job applications and interview performance, usually when they hadn’t got the job or advancement.

Receiving feedback is a skill. I got a pointed reminder of this today in my penmanship life.

I’m participating in an online workshop, and I’ve posted short excerpts of my work in the forum. The tutor illustrious that I’d made several grammatical errors that I ought to neat up before I submitted the work.

My mental state went from individual stage to the next:

Denial. No, there are no grammatical corrigenda. My grammar is perfect. The tutor must have mixed up my station with someone else’s. I hate bad grammar almost as abundant as I hate poor spelling.

Anger. This is not a laws workshop, so why is the tutor commenting on my grammar? Nothing more valuable to do? I’m not posting any more in this forum! Screw that stupid workshop!

Resignation. I’m crap. I’m not at all writing anything again.

Acceptance. Hmm, I wonder what grammatical mistakes the instruct noticed? Perhaps I could post and ask for some further government?

This is my mantra: FEEDBACK IS A GIFT.

If someone takes the time and attempt to give you constructive feedback, thank them. They didn’t get to put themselves out to help you out. If you asked despite the feedback (eg a critique), thank them twice. Thank them nay matter what they said, whether you think it’s credible or not.

Once you’ve had a come to pass to think about it – once you’re at the accepted bill stage – you’ll generally find there is at least some truth in what’s been said. This is especially true suppose that you respect the person giving the feedback, or if they receive some professional credibility.

The tutor responded to my follow-up courier with an edited version of my original excerpt showing how I’d used unresisting voice throughout the entire piece of writing. The tutor is a published maker, and painfully accurate in their assessment of my work. And allowing that I hadn’t accepted the feedback, and asked for more, I might not have picked up the problem myself. Now I know I consider a problem with my WIP, and I can work on improving it. Identifying the consequence is half the journey.

Giving good feedback, or good critiques, is a address. It takes time and no small amount of energy. If someone has offered to critical notice your work (and they have no axe to grind…) and does a well qualified job, they are worth their weight in gold. This is why it’s important to reciprocate – a good critique is worthless.

I’m not ready for critiques on my WIP yet. It’s excessively, very rough first draft, and I want to go over it at minutest once with my Inner Editor in full flight. But when I effect, I look forward to the feedback. And I look forward to putting in the sort level of time and energy to critiquing the work of other writers, and fabric my own critiquing skills.

Oh, the postmodern irony of it all.

These sites tend to have names like degreesonline or adviser401k. Now, I can understand some sort of spam scam, where the google links take you to a page advertising some rubbish. I see it all the time on my referrer links. But these pages don’t advertise anything other than a list of blog post links, all in the same ‘engrish’.

I haven’t included hot links, as I can’t rule out there being some malicious code embedded in the pages. Doesn’t stop me – I have a Mac, so heavily firewalled I can barely access the Internet at all thanks to my works-in-IT-Security partner, plus I’m a scary combination of fearless, curious and ignorant. But if anyone does know the background behind this phenomenon – or has a theory – I’d love to know.

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Feedback is a gift

In my other (working) life, I was a human resources manager. One small part of my job was to give people feedback on their job applications and interview performance, usually when they hadn’t got the job or promotion.

Receiving feedback is a skill. I got a pointed reminder of this today in my writing life.

I’m participating in an online workshop, and I’ve posted short excerpts of my work in the forum. The tutor noted that I’d made several grammatical errors that I ought to clean up before I submitted the work.

My mental state went from one stage to the next:

  1. Denial. No, there are no grammatical errors. My grammar is perfect. The tutor must have mixed up my post with someone else’s. I hate bad grammar almost as much as I hate poor spelling.
  2. Anger. This is not a grammar workshop, so why is the tutor commenting on my grammar? Nothing better to do? I’m not posting any more in this forum! Screw that stupid workshop!
  3. Resignation. I’m crap. I’m never writing anything again.
  4. Acceptance. Hmm, I wonder what grammatical mistakes the tutor noticed? Perhaps I could post and ask for some further guidance?

This is my mantra: FEEDBACK IS A GIFT.

If someone takes the time and effort to give you constructive feedback, thank them. They didn’t have to put themselves out to help you out. If you asked for the feedback (eg a critique), thank them twice. Thank them no matter what they said, whether you think it’s credible or not.

Once you’ve had a chance to think about it – once you’re at the acceptance stage – you’ll generally find there is at least some truth in what’s been said. This is especially true if you respect the person giving the feedback, or if they have some professional credibility.

The tutor responded to my follow-up post with an edited version of my original excerpt showing how I’d used passive voice throughout the entire piece of writing. The tutor is a published author, and painfully accurate in their assessment of my work. And if I hadn’t accepted the feedback, and asked for more, I might not have picked up the problem myself. Now I know I have a problem with my WIP, and I can work on improving it. Identifying the issue is half the journey.

Giving good feedback, or good critiques, is a skill. It takes time and no small amount of energy. If someone has offered to critique your work (and they have no axe to grind…) and does a good job, they are worth their weight in gold. This is why it’s important to reciprocate – a good critique is priceless.

I’m not ready for critiques on my WIP yet. It’s very, very rough first draft, and I want to go over it at least once with my Inner Editor in full flight. But when I do, I look forward to the feedback. And I look forward to putting in the same level of time and energy to critiquing the work of other writers, and building my own critiquing skills.

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