Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Feel the Love?

Web Splash Announcement! A small reminder that the Splash will take place one week from today. Due to some technical issues with Amazon that are making my head explode -- oh, there goes my ear -- the email with all the Splash information will hopefully be going out sometime on Friday.

Since yesterday's post, of course I've thought of a million more reasons why I love living in London. If you want to know about other cities, check out Ellen's post on Dublin and Helen's on Edinburgh.

So. On to today, and a somewhat controversial topic: using your blog to get feedback on your writing.

Of course there's nothing wrong with posting your writing for others to read -- pieces of work you're proud of, et cetera. But I'd argue if you're looking for genuine, critical feedback, your blog is probably not the best place to go.

Why? Well, first of all, it's a public forum -- people are always reticent to say what they really think in public, and unsure of the reception if they do. No one wants to looks like a crotchety miser who can't feel the love. We all want people to like our writing, but... do we really want our egos stoked with a false sense of security? When it comes to improving a passage, it's not really helpful.

Secondly, time. Most of us visit and comment on a lot of blogs, and thoughtful critiquing takes time. It's much easier to say something nice and move on than it is to give detailed feedback, especially if it's a long passage.

There are great blogs and bloggers out there who do offer valuable feedback: Clarissa Draper's chapter critique, for one. And there are always beta readers, writers' groups and plenty of forums to turn to for help.

What do you think? Are blogs a good place to get useful feedback on writing?

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!


  1. So looking forward to your Web Splash. Can't believe it just a week away.

    I think you're right about posting your work for getting feedback. While you will get a good bit of positive feedback from the post, it would be difficult for most to give any in depth critiquing in a comment.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Thanks, Mason! I know -- time flies!

    I don't want to make it look like I don't want to read and help other bloggers - because I do, I do! But I don't always have the time to critique pieces of writing online, and sometimes I feel like I'm doing it an injustice. I'm also not comfortable putting things out there in case it's taken the wrong way.

    I was wondering if it was just me!

  3. Thats interesting Talli. As someone who does post little bits of writing, I do take it with a pinch of salt, the one thing you do gain from it is when people pick out lines from a passage, I squirrel them away in a file, I agree though, it is hard to give a negative comment though. I mainly do it to kickstart something longer and try different styles.
    Only one week to go, you must be excited.

  4. Brigid, I love your Magpie Tales, as well as other little bits of flash fiction etc from other bloggers that are posted.

    I guess where I do feel posting writing might be problematic is when writers post bits of their WiP, seriously looking for critiques etc.

  5. I think you are right. When I get to a blog that has a writing sample posted, I never feel comfortable posting what I ho.estly think. I will normally focus on one positive thing I can say and then move on.

  6. I'd say no, although you're right--there are blogs devoted to this that I suppose are helpful. I suppose if you asked people to email you privately... But blogs are a great way to *find* crit partners, etc. :o)

  7. I agree without reservation. Real critique requires time and honesty. It's best done face-to-face or email between crit partners.
    I think online writing samples should be for the fun and sharing, like in blog festivals or as a post showcasing a snippet.

  8. Speaking of your Web Splash, I placed an icon with links on my blog. I'm making an effort to help promote other bloggers events.

    And I think blogs are a great place to get feedback ... another benefit is exposure that comes with the feedback. I recently had a chapter review on Clarissa's blog. I appreciate the straight forward critique. It can only make me a bteer writer.

  9. Blogs are definitely a great place to meet crit partners, for sure!

    Stephen, thank you!

    And when it comes to dedicated critiquers like Clarissa or Matthew Rush, I agree it can be very helpful.

  10. Ooooh I squirmed a bit at this, Talli... for I blogged two chapters in a quest to get readers to vote for which one I should carry on with for NaNo (remember? you voted *gulp*). But I didn't as for a critique as such, just a raise of hands.
    Which wasted everyone's time anyway cause I threw in my metaphorical towel on days 2. God, I'm such a dweeb.
    And, phew for you not having mailed your Blogsplash details yet, I thought I'd 'filed' them... *double gulp*.
    Can't wait!

  11. Debs, I didn’t mean things like that… I’m more than fine with that! : ) I just meant when people seriously look for feedback on chapters and such. I always feel like I’m letting them down.

  12. I've posted the odd passage from time to time, but not for serious critique.

  13. I honestly hope there isn't anybody who uses their followers as their crit group.

  14. I've seen people who set up specific blogs with the intent on feedback exchange alone and I think that's cool. But I don't use my blog for feedback in general. Although, I don't think it's a biggie if someone wants feedback on short pieces, queries, or synposes, or such.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  15. Happy T-giving, Crimey!

    I think short pieces are fine - although I do still feel there's a tendency to be more positive than objective.

    One thing I didn't mention: if I know the blogger a bit better, I'm definitely more inclined to put more time and effort in and hopefully provide some helpful feedback.

  16. I don't really go into depth when I read writing that someone has posted; I'll mention one of the first things that struck me, but nothing really detailed. I agree that a blog isn't the best place to go for writing feedback.

  17. I wouldn't post my work on my blog! No one deserves that torture. And sadly, I don't have time to read the works of those who do post.
    I'll be watching for that email Friday. Don't let Amazon get to you!

  18. I agree. I have nothing against it but I think people might be afraid to offend. A critique group is the way to go.

  19. Oh man I'm getting excited for this!

  20. The Web Splash that is. When it comes to feedback on a blog? I don't know. When I do queries it seems to work out all right, but I do suppose those are a different kind of animal.

    I do know I would never post part of my novel on my blog. It seems ... pretentious for some reason.

  21. I think you're right. People are reluctant to embarrass you in public with the truth:)

    Also, it takes a lot of time. This is why I keep trying to make my own posts shorter.

  22. I'd never count on my blog for feedback on my writing (it's difficult enough even in a proper writer's group) but I think it *is* useful for sharing, just putting things out into the world. You'd be surprised what comes back.

  23. I never post any of my novel writing on public forums, even in the critique sections. I much prefer private critiques. Occasionally I send a sneak peek of a chapter to the readers of my email list but never on public forums.


  24. I am loathe to give any negative feedback on writing excerpt in blog posts, so I have proven you right, as far as that goes!
    I personally don't do it myself. Not my style.

  25. I returned just in time! :B

    I do feel that a lot of bloggers are, like you say, reticent to offer their truest opinion on writing pieces and I can't help but wonder how often they put down something nice without really meaning it...

  26. Yay! I'm looking forward to the websplash. World domination for Talli!

    While I can see the benefit in getting feedback on a blog, I think it's hard to get anything in depth via the comment box. Plus it's on a segment not the whole piece.

  27. Blog. Not. Good. Place. To. Get. Feedback. People just don't tell the truth! Looking forward to your splash!!! :o)

  28. Oooh your amazon takeover is so nearly upon us!! yay!! Oh and so you'd know I'd be posting my review under my real name - :-)

    As for posting stuff for feedback on blogs - I don't mind so long as it's not everyday and so long as they are short. :-) I cannot emphasise enough on the short! Short and succint. LOL!

    I so agree though - to get good critical and useful feedback I think you are best to use sites such as the lovely Clarissa Drapers' or other forums who cater for such things or blogs who offer critiques as giveaways/prizes or a writing class/group.

    Take care

  29. I think critique partners and beta readers are better suited than a blog.

  30. I have always wanted to visit London. I have never been there but I know people who travel on vacation there and few people who grew up there. They all have such nice things to say.

  31. Really interesting topic, and I definitely see your point. I think that it'd be hard to write a detailed critique in the allotted space for regular comments. I know that some bloggers post excerpts from their stories or flash fiction, but they're usually not looking for critiques so much as an audience to read their stuff. I think it'd be different, though, if it was more like a website where people could meet each other and become critique partners.

  32. I write for pleasure, it's a sort of therapy for me as there are certain times of the year that my emotions get the better of me. Then on the other hand the pleasure of my family, what people REALLY thinks is neither here nor there. I have made many friends through blogging and I hope to continue to do so.
    You made a good point about critique.


  33. I think time is the biggest factor here. I don't even stay on a blog if the post is long. I just don't have time. I'm certainly not going to spend an overly zealous amount of time critiquing something.

  34. Hi Talli .. excellent to know that the prompt is coming out Friday - thanks for letting us know - excitement day is getting nearer and nearer .. wonderful news.

    I agree - asking for in-depth feedback could be tricky .. and probably not complete.

    So I think I agree .. but sometimes could be ok - unless it was a constant stopgap as posts for the blog .. unless the blogger intends that.

    Have a great day tomorrow .. and leave some hair please!! Buy up some choccy shops .. and have fun - Hilary

  35. I think you're right, Talli. The reason people respond to blog posts are varied.

    1) Some do it because they want traffic back to their blogs. (In which case the review will always be favorable.)

    2) They are your friends. (Also, the response will be favorable most times.)

    3) If they really feel the excerpt is horrible, most wont comment on it... or lie.

    4) Other will give you honest and critical feedback. But, those are few and far between.

    Also remember, I offer the chapter critique because I like to help other readers. But, I don't like to blog posts looking for critiques because that's not the reason I blog. I blog because I want to meet fellow writers and readers. I want my blogging experience to be fun, I don't want to be put on the spot.

    If you truly want honest feedback, join a writing critique group like


  36. Yay for the upcoming blog splash!

    I agree about posting work on line. There's just something about it that holds me back. I've heard pros and cons about it, but I don't think it's something I'll do.

  37. Talli,
    We're looking forward to DECEMBER 1! Reminder emails are always a good idea, tho'!

    Glad you brought up the topic of critical feedback. You're right, it's not something that's generally done in the blog comment area. Most bloggers don't have time or are too polite to leave a critical comment. What blogging can do is help the blogger see if their story's interesting. Or, if they write about a variety of subjects, a commenter can help a blogger out by commenting on certain subjects, therefore indicating which is of the most interest.

    I've read a few of Clarissa Draper's critiques & they are very well thought out & helpful to the writer as well as to any1 who reads them.

  38. I agree with everyone about not getting honest critique ...

    ... on the other hand, if you are fishing for compliments ...!!!

    No, I would never put my WiP on my blog, although a bit of harmless ego massaging on blogfests never goes amiss! lol

  39. I don't generally post any of my writing on my blog - as you say, it's just not the right place for me. I know it works for some folks, but I prefer to give/receive crits privately :)

  40. I love participating in blogfests, but one of my huge fears as a writer is getting my unpublished work taken by others. :( I like getting feedback but I wouldn't like to take that chance. However, I do occasionally post fanfiction and poetry.


  41. I absolutely agree with not postingnew writing up on blogs UNLESS a) YOU ARE VERY BRAVE b)its a specific and fairly short piece thats either a starting point/raw OR and fininshed pice which you want to show c) you want to give yourself a hard time. Writing groups preferably face to face (but the are some good internet ones)are in my experience the best place to air new material. Excepts for marketing purposes or to whip up a following...thats a different ball game.
    Bren Gosling

  42. I think blogs - particularly blogfests - are a great way to showcase pieces of work you're proud of, or are struggling with, and a great way to meet new people and get quick first-impression feedback! But you're right about the question of time and people feeling reticent - detailed feedback is better found in a contest, or a beta group, or something similar!

    Can't believe it's almost December already!

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. I rely on my critique groups and a first reader. I wouldn't put work out for critique on my blog because I wouldn't want to put blogger friends on the spot.

    And when other writers do it, I rarely leave comments. I'm an obsessive, nit-picky critiquer, and no one wants that kind of feedback in public.


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