www.whyville.net Jan 30, 2011 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Constructive Criticism

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Years ago a young VickiDeze anxiously logged on to Whyville one Sunday evening. To her surprise, her writing appeared on the homepage. Delighted, VickiDeze went to read over her article. She smiled and was about to log off when she noticed a button at the bottom of the article: "BBS" Curious, she clicked the button. She found numerous posts regarding her article saying things like "Didn't someone else already write an article like this?" or "You used the wrong word here." or even "Wow, this was stupid." VickiDeze was shocked and angry. Wasn't her writing perfect if it was in the Times? She decided to fight back and make excuses. "I can write about whatever I want." and "IT WAS A TYPO SO SHUT UP." and "It was my first article so give me a break!" Now Vickideze is older and realizes she made the wrong choices.

Criticism. It can help you or hurt your feelings. It all depends on how it's given and taken. Today I'm going to give a few tips on criticism that will hopefully help you the next time you check the BBS.

Giving Good, Constructive Criticism:

When criticizing someone you need to make sure you're actually helping them and not just making them feel bad. One thing to do is to start off complimenting the good things that he or she did. This will hopefully make the writer feel good about him or herself and not discourage him or her. When pointing out mistakes or weak points in the article, be constructive, but not mean. For example instead of saying, "Omigosh, that was terrible! You're word choice was awful and the article was stupid!" Say something along the lines of, "This article could've used some more work. Next time, try expanding your word choice and using interesting vocabulary. You have potential as a writer, just keep trying!" You want to point out mistakes and such without making the writer feel bad. Also, it's a good idea to make sure you know what you are talking about. If you know nothing about poetry and start ranting about how you think there was a poor rhyme scheme . . . don't. Leave it to the more experienced poets to help with that article.

Taking Criticism:

When you first get criticism on a piece of writing, it can feel like you've just been punched in the face. The important thing is to take it maturely. If someone gives you a good piece of advice, don't ignore it or fight back. They are trying to help you improve your writing. Keep it in your mind the next time you go to write something. Another bad idea is making excuses, "Oh this was my first article." does not go over well on the BBS. No matter how many articles you've written, you can always improve and there is no need for excuses. When you see comments saying, "stupid, boring, lame, etc," ignore them. Prevent more drama by not fighting back. If you want to say something, be mature and say, "Thanks for voicing your opinion." There's always a chance they are just jealous of you being in the Times. Also, it's okay to explain things and voice your opinion on your own writing. If someone doesn't like a word you used, explain why you used it but remember to stay calm and don't use caps or say it in a snooty way.

Hopefully this article helped you as you venture on the BBS after reading the Times.


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