Critique Commentary

This response was so eloquently written that I asked the author to allow me to post it as an article. ~Carole Avila

THOUGHTS ON CRITIQUE

by Alan Morrison

To an author, the reader’s mind is a canvas on which written words paint a picture. If done well, the picture will transport the reader from their personal here and now into the place and time of the story. That is the goal of every writer, but it’s never easy to achieve.

A poorly chosen word, an awkward phrase, flawed punctuation; these and other seemingly trivial faults can result in an incomplete or incorrect picture, one that leads a reader astray or, even worse, pulls them out of the magic trance the writer worked so hard to create.

Alan Morrison Quotation - A

The purpose of a critique should be to point out such things for the author to consider and, if they choose, correct or improve on. The critique is not about the author; it’s about the picture the critic sees. By offering a critique, the critic is allowing the writer to look inside their mind and see the picture the words painted.

That’s how we should view critiques, as gifts of insight. Sometimes they hurt, but they always make a writer better, and that’s the point—to constantly improve.


About the author, Alan Morrison:  Farmboy, mathematician, physicist, fighter pilot, computer scientist, college professor, business owner, executive consultant, author, adventurer, and retiree. “I’ve lived an interesting life, and there’s more to come! Thanks for reading my ramblings.”


Constructive Criticism – One of a Writers Greatest Assets

It hurts like a stab to the heart, like being told you’re not good enough. It often feels like a personal attack, yet constructive criticism is one of the most helpful tools in a writer’s arsenal for improving their craft.

Anytime a comment or suggestion is made to improve work that is based on a genuine desire to help write a better story, it needs to be welcomed like a rare gift, because often times it is. One can keep asking family and friends what they think about a story, and they’ll keep saying, “That’s nice,” “It’s really good,” or other vague compliments that do nothing to move the work forward.

Constructive criticism doesn’t always sound positive or feel good yet can’t be taken personally. Knowledgeable comments or suggestions for change will probably make your work better. Someone who offers a good critique shares what works as well as what doesn’t, showing how to flesh out the characters, drive the plot, offer better word choices, improve sentence structure, tighten the narrative, or anything else that serves to make an improvement in a written work.

Quote on Constructive Criticism

Someone may wrongly belittle a hopeful writer, but whatever immature insults are slung at their work have to be disregarded and chalked up to an inferior nature on the part of the unfair critic. If their comments aren’t positive or provide suggestions for positive change in the work, let it go, but know the difference between a person who is being deliberately hurtful or one who is genuine in their desire to be helpful.

Criticism is needed from other writers to get a better feel for the flavor and direction of a story. It’s valuable in predicting the response of the reader. It can develop a thick skin to taunting and slights, only allowing beneficial information to come through and can provide a stronger foundation for the entire manuscript to stand on.

All in all, constructive criticism is a tremendous asset and a necessary tool in the craft of writing.

Constance Hood’s Incredible Debut Novel

Islands of Deceptions CoverIslands of Deception: Lying With the Enemy is an enjoyably consuming novel which hooks the reader from the first sentence all the way to the last. I was often, and easily, brought to the edge of my seat.

Constance Hood delivers a powerful and riveting account of a young man in search of fulfilling his dreams, only to find himself immersed in a world of espionage and intrigue. Although the topic of World War II has been written about time and again, Hood proves her ability to create a savory original and well researched story based on documented events.

Connie HoodThis smooth flowing and provocative novel is filled with engaging descriptions, historical

facts of interest, and highly unexpected twists. Islands of Deception: Lying With the Enemy will provide a reader of any genre with an entirely satisfying reading experience.

Publication date:  January 15, 2018.

The Challenge of Blogging

“Routine” writing, scheduling a time to blog…ugh! That does not fit into going with the flow or writing when creative energy bursts forth at any given moment of the day.

Blogging isn’t as easy as it seems because my heart lies in my books. I can write, edit, and critique for hours on end, into the darkest morning hours. But blogging? Something about it is so much more…demanding.

Blog concept

Committing to a blog is like committing to marriage. It requires dedication, attention, consideration, honest communication, keeping things interesting. That’s a lot of work.

It’s almost safer not to write a blog. With a novel I can take my time–days, weeks, months, even years to craft a great story. But blogs demand weekly, sometimes even daily, devotion. I am a devoted writer, but fall short as a blogger.

So I allowed myself to consider the difference between blogging and all the other writing that I do.

It boils down to that horrible four letter F-word that I despise so much because it has plagued every facet of my life–fear.

Fear says that what I write won’t interest anyone. It tells me I’ll bore my readers, lose the small numbers of followers I’ve managed to gather. I may write something that I’ll regret years later. Fear points an old crooked finger at my inability to commit to a schedule. It reminds me of my lack of responsibility, and many other failings.

I am afraid to consider all the lost opportunities I’ve allowed fear to cause. It has always been my greatest self-imposed road block. Now I’m forced to consider what would happen if I tackled my fear, what security I could lose, what unknowns I could gain. It requires vast amounts of time and energy to break down an iron-walled ego that has tried so hard to protect me. And listing those fears–what a long, long list. (At least I could write it.)

Still, if I face these fears, will I be proving something to myself, or to others? Then I wonder, can fear really be the result of my constantly seeking the approval of others?

Yikes! I’d rather blog.

Shadows of Oranges-1st Place Winner!

I’m thrilled to announce that my short story, Shadows of Oranges, won first place in the adult fiction category of the annual Art Tales Writing Contest for 2016, sponsored by the City of Ventura, California.

Take a look at my work in the tab marked “Short Stories,” and please let me know what you think in the comments section!Art Work for Contest