The Constructive Criticism Thread:

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Please read the rules below before posting. We're taking turns to post text, and text posted out of turn will be hollered.

The discussion over at the "Is being Troperiffic a Bad Thing?" thread got a few of us seriously talking about starting a full-fledged, free for all dedicated ConCrit thread. Thanks go to your friendly neighborhood Herald, Chihuahua0, for giving this the go-ahead smile

This is how it's going to work:
  • This thread is for helping people improve as writers. Please stay away from needlessly gushing or needlessly being mean when handing out criticism.
  • No mentioning your own work when giving out criticism. This is to prevent "Let's talk about ME" derails.
  • Feedback will be given to one person at a time. We're taking a deliberately slow pace; a person's turn to get feedback is generally supposed to last a week, but we're not ending someone's turn until they get feedback from at least five different people. On the other hand, the person getting feedback can end their own turn if they figure they're done.
  • When a turn ends, we wait 12 hours to see if anyone of the people who have just given feedback wants to be up next. If they don't, we pick the person up next from the feedback request list.
  • Yes, it's okay to point out spelling and grammar errors made by the person you're giving feedback to.
  • If you're unfamiliar with the original verse of a piece of Fan Fiction up for feedback, pretend it's a piece of original fiction and criticize accordingly.
  • If and when you step up to receive feedback:
    • Post actual writing (not world-building, concepts, layouts, character lists and so on).
    • Be specific in what you are looking for, or at least mention what is troubling you the most.
    • Fan Fiction is fine, but take into account that anyone not familiar with the source material will judge your piece "blind", essentially by the same standards as original fiction. This means you might get called out on flaws that fan fiction usually gets away with in practice, perhaps even justifiably so. Just like any other kind of criticism, consider it or ignore at at your discretion.
    • Be ready to hear some things you probably didn't want to hear. This should go without saying, but, please: No being bitter, being sarcastic, calling people out for "going too far" or otherwise expressing disapproval of the criticism given to you. If you think people are being unfair to your writing, make your case civilly.

With that said, I suppose we can begin and see whether this goes anywhere. The first person to respond with a post to the extent of "I'll go first" will go first.

edited 17th Feb '12 5:07:01 PM by TripleElation

451 MorwenEdhelwen14th Sep 2012 07:48:40 PM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
@Collen: What do you mean by inactive?
The road goes ever on.
452 chihuahua014th Sep 2012 07:51:15 PM from Standoff, USA , Relationship Status: I LOVE THIS DOCTOR!
Writer's Welcome Wagon
[up] As in, isn't participating in the forum at the moment or otherwise not here to post their story.

453 MorwenEdhelwen14th Sep 2012 07:55:01 PM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
Thanks, chihuahua! Ok, so I guess Elfhunter's next. Kyle and AHR should be struck off.

edited 16th Sep '12 4:13:06 PM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on.
454 JHM17th Sep 2012 01:17:07 AM from Neither Here Nor There , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up] AHR is still here on occasion. Maybe someone should shoot her a PM?
Well, since Kyle Jacobs only got one response so far, I guess I should take a look. (Two responses are still not enough for his turn to end, by the way, and he is active on the forums, so it's too early to call AHR.)

Note that I only read the comic, not the extra pages of the script.

Minor detail, but Orange just straight up saying "we're taking away your freedom in the name of security" seems like a really bad choice of words for a press conference. I don't have background on him yet so maybe it's justified, but I have to wonder why he didn't phrase it differently. And then we find out he's a robot, apparently. And then he is never mentioned again. Huh.

Lack of information is a problem with the story in general. At page 22 I know only a few facts about the protagonist and I've still no idea about his personality. Aside from that, (mostly) evil government is being evil and terrorists/rebels are scheming something. Fair enough, I guess, but I've no reason to care. The only thing that interests me so far is how we got here, and we don't get to see that. You skip the whole war with a montage, but the montage contains little information. America has pretty much become a military dictatorship now, and that's all we learn. But I really want to know how. I only saw a single terrorist attack happening, and in the very next panel the congress suspends civil rights. Maybe you want to elaborate on this period later, but then why have the prologue at all?

Also, there is absolutely no indication that a time skip is happening between pages 7 and 8, which is confusing.

The protagonist is coming off as a superhuman, but I get the feeling that this is intentional.

The art ranges from solid to bad, but seeing as this is the beginning of a webcomic, I've no complaints. The panel direction is pretty good, it's the thing I liked most about this comic.

Overall, the only major problem I have with the comic is that I don't care about the plot or the characters. But you've got a setting, you've just established the major characters, so it may because that the story has barely started yet. That said, it doesn't give me a reason to continue reading.

edited 17th Sep '12 4:07:11 AM by Dealan

456 MrAHR17th Sep 2012 09:37:48 AM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Heh? I'm here. Whassup? Aren't I still far down on the list?

edited 17th Sep '12 9:38:01 AM by MrAHR

Why is this thread so inactive? It looks like it's pretty helpful when there are people around.

edited 19th Oct '12 10:13:13 PM by LeungBaiFang

Let's not go there. *flails noodle arms*
458 gbrngfol20th Oct 2012 08:26:29 PM from roughly that way
my planet is here
[up] No idea. I think everyone just got bored and left.
I think there's no point in signatures.
459 MrAHR21st Oct 2012 10:46:40 AM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Well, apparently it's my turn yet, but that hasn't been confirmed yet so I'm just waiting. O_o
Linking to your work will get people screaming in a hurry if they're not ready for you, so that's one way to find out.
Let's not go there. *flails noodle arms*
461 MrAHR21st Oct 2012 11:06:55 AM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
26 3 panel strips

I suppose please read strips 1 to 12, minus strips 7 and 8?

I mostly want to know if the "hook" works, since I've been told the cliché of it is one of the main no-nos of writing.

edited 21st Oct '12 11:16:47 AM by MrAHR

462 Euodiachloris21st Oct 2012 12:33:28 PM , Relationship Status: Is that a kind of food?
The whole... "waking up in a blank white room with zero memory"... is a bit of a cliché, you're right. :| But, it depends where else you take the whole thing, mate, whether you can get away with it. <shrugs> So far, it works for what it is.

But, you will have to be careful.
463 TeChameleon21st Oct 2012 08:53:42 PM from Alberta, Canada , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Irritable Reptilian
Wellp, here we go, I guess.

Please bear in mind that these (hopefully constructive) criticisms are made through a haze of cold-induced sleep deprivation and general headacheyness, so feel free to ignore any stupidity or grumpiness that may slip past my filters.

  • Expressions are generally not bad at all- you can tell pretty clearly what the characters are thinking or feeling.

  • The flipping between a more detailed style and the weird... stretched-chibi... thing is... hmm. Pretty jarring at best. At worst, it looks like you accidentally posted the roughs in random places.

  • The exposition, even lampshaded, feels fairly clumsy. You could probably have replaced that entire strip with a caption box at the beginning of the first strip. Something to the effect of "Welcome to Purgatory, where the dead are prepared for What Comes Next. Unfortunately, there have been a few problems lately..."

  • Honestly, the whole thing is a bunch of random people wandering around a somewhat featureless landscape (I can't draw backgrounds either >.<), spouting off occasional snippets of dialogue. There's nothing to make it feel terribly coherent, aside from solid consistency on the character designs (kudos for that, as an aside).

The concept is intriguing, but the whole 'wake up amnesiac in a blank room' (weird goings-on optional) really is rather played out. Admittedly, more in video games than comic strips, but still.

I can tell what you're trying to do in places, but your format limitations are working against you. You don't have enough room for your characters to say more than ten words or so in a row, which sharply limits what you can do in the way of exposition and characterization-through-speech. Add in the somewhat slow pacing and the fact that as far as I can tell, this is less 'hook' and more 'helicopter pan shot of our big, expensive set', and it's hard to get into this much.

... and how is 'you look like a starving Darfur refugee' funny? O.o
464 MrAHR21st Oct 2012 09:10:48 PM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
To that last one: It was mostly to set up the girl and the guy to be a ribbing sort of friendship where they make fun of each other and enjoy it.

Everything else is duly noted, thanks :)

edited 21st Oct '12 9:14:23 PM by MrAHR

465 TeChameleon22nd Oct 2012 11:37:49 PM from Alberta, Canada , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Irritable Reptilian
Ah, okay. Makes more sense now.

... hmm. Speaking just for myself, that would come across more strongly if the word 'you' in the guy's dialogue was bolded- makes it clearer that it's a witty(?) comeback.
466 MrAHR23rd Oct 2012 06:56:45 AM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
All right. Will definitely keep in mind. Dialogue is my über weak point no matter what I do, so I always tend to only get half of what I want across.
467 GyraSolune24th Oct 2012 12:21:53 PM from your bedroom window >:3
The Paragon of Eternity
Added myself to the bottom of the list thingy. I got a decent amount of constructive criticism from others before, which led me to rewrite my story, but not so much afterwards to see what's still wrong with it (before, it was more or less "this is utter shit of literature" eheheheh ^^).

This is thusly what I refer to:

By the time it gets around to being my turn, I'll likely have the second chapter posted, it's just about getting finished finally.
Why do you fight? Why do you exist?
468 Conjure9th Nov 2012 06:05:23 PM from New England
Just here to say hi and that I consider myself active and I hope you do, too. I need the particular expertise of folks who know about storytelling technique like no one else. Please note that I am using another screen name now; does it need to be changed on the wait list?

edited 9th Nov '12 6:12:15 PM by Conjure

"The Future will be the death of us all."
469 Dimanagul15th Nov 2012 11:18:23 AM from Pittsburgh, PA
Library of useless facts
The waiting list is showing up as blank, did we lose it?
All Heroes die. Some just more than others.
470 SeptimusHeap15th Nov 2012 11:22:08 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
It was a sandbox page, right? These don't stay around forever. Ask here for restoration.
471 Dimanagul15th Nov 2012 11:47:28 AM from Pittsburgh, PA
Library of useless facts
OK Posted a restore request, and I'll link it here as a reminder to new blood when it gets rolling again.

Edit: It's back.

Waiting List Thread

edited 15th Nov '12 12:23:58 PM by Dimanagul

All Heroes die. Some just more than others.
Ah, it seems in my desire for feedback, I overlooked this thread and this forum as I did not consider myself as having Writer's Block, but I do desire critique and criticisms. I see there is a waiting list, anyone have any idea how long I would have to wait to receive feedback if I got my name down now?'s 'reviews' (In other words: "THIS IS GOOD! UPDATE!") are really unhelpful.
473 Conjure1st Dec 2012 04:53:08 PM from New England
I changed my screenname, and since then, I've been dropped from the list of folks waiting for feedback about their work. It's okay — I wrote the chapter I was asking for help with, and I think it came out well.I know, everyone's busy and I'm not even on the list now...but if I could ask (humbly), can someone here please look at what I wrote?
"The Future will be the death of us all."
474 Conjure1st Dec 2012 09:49:26 PM from New England
A mob boss plans to murder a man gifted with mind control. Working as an interrogator, this man called Conjure has forced the gangster to talk, by making him think he was trapped amongst the train tracks underneath Penn Station. Now, the mobster has Conjure, and revenge is best served cold. There’s a girl, seventeen, the Mafioso’s daughter, abused by her old man and kept isolated. Tonight, her father’s doing his best to corrupt up the young man working for him; he’s paid the kid to help him whack the dude who’s chained up in the basement. Daddy doesn’t know, his gofer boy is secretly his daughter’s lover, or that his prisoner, Conjure, is what’s called a man possessed...

lyradove - Juju Man Chapter Five

"The Future will be the death of us all."
475 Conjure2nd Dec 2012 01:02:09 AM from New England
I read Tropes and it's so helpful, and somehow, people on this site have generated all of it. I'm here looking for feedback because I can probably best understand criticism coming from someone who uses TV Trope's conceptual shorthand (fridge logic, YMMV, etc.). I'm writing a book, and I'd like to know how it's going, but since August, I've never been above third from the bottom on the waiting list. I've ceased to care about feeling like an ass for asking you. I'm 20,000 words into the thing now and I need help. If it's not forthcoming, at least tell me to stop wasting my time here and look elsewhere, willya please?
"The Future will be the death of us all."

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