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Writing Useful Critiques

This article is written for LitResources. Our goal is to be a collection and creation station for all resources pertaining to literature on deviantART. This article will feature the wonderful world of critique! DeviantART staff recently made it possible for unsubscribed members to leave critiques using the premium feature, so we thought it was an opportune moment to educate the community about the many facets of critique.
If, after reading the article, you have more information or resources to add, please leave your thoughts in a comment! And don't forget to :+favlove: this article to help spread the word.

Critique: What It Is, What It Is Not

Though the distinction might seem obvious to some, people often confuse writing a critique with writing a review.
To make it plain, a critique offers thoughts and advice for improving a piece of literature or art. Cri
DeviantART: A Critical Community (Part 1)You may have heard...
From the most novice to the most accomplished, dA is home to artists of all types and skills. This mish-mash of talent, experience, knowledge, and eagerness to learn creates a beautiful opportunity for mentorships between those who are learning and those who are willing to lend their time and patience to a burgeoning new artist or writer. But forming those relationships can be daunting for those looking for help and unfulfilling for those offering that help. 
This is the first of a two part article series that aims to address a few key points of miscommunication that seem to be common between those willing to offer critique and constructive commentary and those seeking feedback. You may have heard that the critique community on deviantART "sucks" or "doesn't exist", but I'll humbly beg to disagree. I've been an activ

What is Worth Critiquing?This article outlines a few questions to ask yourself before you request critique on anything.
1. Have I self-critiqued my piece?
Have you given the piece a thorough examination, looking for ways you can improve, parts that could be removed/added to, techniques that might work better, etc?
If you haven't reviewed the piece for yourself, I highly suggest doing so before you request critique. Self-review is a skill you need to develop as an artist in order to improve. Critique from others is wonderful, but learning to apply your own critique to your pieces will help you produce better art on your first attempt.
2. Is the piece of good quality?
Do not request critiques on doodles, first writing drafts, snapshot photographs, etc. Critique should be reserved for a piece you want to learn from and improve, which means the piece should have required thought and time to complete.
There are always exceptions to these sorts of rules. A drawing that is half-way completed, for
So You Want to CritiqueHere is a two-fold guide for deviants wishing to receive critique as well as deviants who want to give constructive critiques:
A Note to Non-subscribers
You're allowed to give and receive critique, too! The system for subscribers that dA has put in place is flashy, sure, but it doesn't alter the content of a quality critique. Comments have worked just fine for many years. I see no reason why you should stop using the tried and trusted system just because something new has come along. Now, onto the article!
Make Sure the Feeling's Mutual
Some people don't give critiques. Some people don't want critiques. That's okay. Being a member of dA does not precondition you to the critique-crowd.
However, if you do want to be a critique-groupie, make sure the artist you're giving critique to actually wants it. If the critique option is not enabled, or there's no request for critique in the comments, chances are critique is unwanted. If there's something you really, really want

How to Apply CritiqueHow to Apply Critique
by KneelingGlory
Critique is a vital element in learning any form of art. The advice offered by other artists in your genre help you build new skills as well as refine your natural talent. However, it is easy to forget that your art should remain your art. This guide attempts to help artists and writers who are new to receiving critique understand how to apply the advice offered by others without losing the uniqueness of a piece that made it critique-worthy in the first place.
Good Critique in a Nutshell
Before you can apply critique, you need to understand what a good critique does. The purpose of all constructive criticism is to help you improve your work. If someone offers critique it generally means he or she sees potential in your piece and wants to help you "polish" the piece. Therefore, a good critique offers:
- Observations on the piece's weak areas as well as strengths.
- Explanation of the reasons why a particular area
DeviantART: A Critical Community (Part 2)You may have heard...
From the most novice to the most accomplished, dA is home to artists of all types and skills. This mish-mash of talent, experience, knowledge, and eagerness to learn creates a beautiful opportunity for mentorships between those who are learning and those who are willing to lend their time and patience to a burgeoning new artist or writer. But forming those relationships can be daunting for those looking for help and unfulfilling for those offering that help. 
This is the second of a two part article series that aims to address a few key points of miscommunication that seem to be common between those willing to offer critique and constructive commentary and those seeking feedback. You may have heard that the critique community on deviantART "sucks" or "doesn't exist", but I'll humbly beg to disagree. I've been an active participant i

Things My Friends Say

From Carmalain7

Good day, miss.

i thought i might drop by if only to inform you that reading your reviews has honestly been a surreal, out of body experience that has immersed me deeper into literature pieces than i could have possibly have ever hoped to have done on my own. Your reviews are thought provoking, delightfully constructive yet balanced, absolutely inspiring, and so well done that i find myself mentally bookmarking a few of your methods for future use.

All in all, in case there was any doubt for whatever reason, i'm mostly here to award you with the coveted dA's 'You're Much Too Amazing to Even Comprehend' award. This award has only been awarded to a handful of recipients in the past and each has gone on to continue instilling joy into, as well as improving the lives of, all those around them.

You. Are. Awesome.

From julietcaesar
It's always hard to explain how much you mean to me. When you give back to dA, when you write that one stunning poem that temporarily stops my breath, when you don't let stuff get you down too much. When you keep forging on. You tell me I have these qualities, but you embody these qualities far better than I do. You shine with them.. And people gravitate to that. It's a gift. Please don't forget that.

From IrrevocableFate
Do you hear that? :iconlisteningplz:
:iconhurrrplz: It's the sound of you.
You being awesome. :iconohmysocuteplz:

From cristinewakesuphappy
you're one of my :+fav: writers.

Lit and Community Related Guides

A Guide to Group-Hosted Contests on dAIntroduction
The ever-wonderful ValaSedai posted an article about Individually Hosted Contests this morning. It covered a lot of important stuff like gathering prizes and organizing your entries. This guide is going to cover much of the same stuff, but from a group admin's point of view. :)
Prepare and Organize
The Summer Contest that myself, SilverInkblot, and thetaoofchaos hosted through DailyLitDeviations literally took months of planning. We wrote and revised the prompt, rules, entry guidelines, prizes, judging guidelines, and more. Then when the contest was announced, people had questions and the questions most frequently asked were added to an FAQ section in the article. Then there was collecting and finalizing the
Breaking in to Lit!Introduction
Literature has long been considered one of the closest knit communities on deviantART. As a result, some people find it difficult to "break in" to the Lit crowd. There are rumors of elitism, difficulty in getting exposure, and lack-luster appreciation for the incredible work that goes into writing a good piece of prose or a well structured poem.
If you look at a painting you can see amazing detail, great use of color, and the importance of the subject immediately. You know it came from the artist's imagination and that he or she had to spend hours translating that to a canvas. The tangibility of the work is right in front of you. With writing, it is not quite the same. The effort the author puts into the work can only be appreciated if readers put in their own effort to read the work. The gratification is not instant, which is one reason the lit community is so close knit.
Those who do have large followings often also comment and read quite a lot of work h

Be A Hero, Report a Miscat!
Miscats: What are they? Why do they matter? How do they happen?
A "miscat" is a deviation that has been submitted to the wrong gallery, or mis-categorized, on deviantART. For example, literature does not belong in the photography gallery, even if there is a photograph supplied as a preview picture for the writing.
They matter for several reasons. Miscats make searching for specific types of deviations tedious, particularly if you are looking for newer submissions. A search of the Writing Tutorials gallery for popular deviations in the last 24 hours brought up four deviations, all miscats. Miscats also make the site disorganized and even harder to navigate for new comers. Lastly, they make your work harder to reach by taking up space in the wrong gallery.
I'm sure others can think of reasons why miscats are annoying, and I invite you to leave comments here discussing it!
The number one reason that I think miscats happen is simple ignorance. There a
Dear Lit Community, Some Solutionsdreamsinstatic wrote an open letter to the literature community specifically addressing issues he feels are detrimental to the health of the lit world on dA. Many of his concerns have been voiced by others in the community in past years and finding solutions to problems like fragmentation, cliques, and "elitism" (what I would call trolling) is no simple task. If, indeed, solutions need to be found at all. Below are my thoughts on some of the problems discussed in dreamsinstatic's article. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments. Let's keep this conversation flowing.
Problem #1: "Elitism" or Trolling

DeviantART is made up of people. Just because we're people who interact through computer screens doesn't mean all the troubles of the real world don't count. People are still selfish, unfair, cruel, and rude for no apparent reason. I've been t

Flash Fiction Month July 2012Preface
This article is written for #LitResources. Our goal is to be a collection and creation station for all resources pertaining to literature on deviantART. This article will focus on Flash Fiction Month! It will include information about what specifies flash fiction, activities around dA for flash fiction month, and links to resources revolving around FFM activities.
If, after reading the article, you have more information or resources to add, please leave your thoughts in a comment! And don't forget to this article to help spread the word.
What Is Flash Fiction?
Put simply, flash fiction is a very short story. Lengths can vary from as few as six words (i.e. Hemingway's famous Baby Shoes) to a thousand, sometimes more. It depends largely on the outfit for which the author decides to write a piece of flash fiction. For the
Tips for the Messy WriterWhen the Muse Strikes
I don't know about you, but most of my ideas for writing come to me in the shower. There I'll be, rinsing the shampoo from my hair, and suddenly a line flits through my head - a line so beautiful, so perfectly balanced between the universal and the personal that if I do not capture it immediately my muse will torment me with silence the rest of the year. Generally this situation ends with me haphazardly wrapped in a towel, running down the hall past the rest of the household - who have now learned to politely look the other way - to the dry erase board on the refrigerator where I can scribble out the thought before it evaporates into the ether.
If this is a situation familiar to you, then you may be what I call a messy writer. Messy writers are those for whom organization is not always advantageous, or even possible. This short guide offers five rules I've discovered help keep me on track once I've started a writing task. I hope you'll find them h

Poetry Basics: BrevityBrevity: n. the quality of expressing much in few words.
When I was in tenth grade, I took my first literature course. It was a six week exploration of poetry. The first poem my teacher showed us was Ezra Pound's In a Station of the Metro:
The apparition of faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
I, in all of my 16-year-old knowledge of the intricacies of what poetry is, informed my teacher that those two lines were not a poem. 
"You don't think so?"
"No. They don't rhyme, they are just one metaphor, and did I mention they're only two lines?"
"We'll see." 
She sure showed me. ;)
Importance in Poetry
Pound's poem is considered such a great work because he inserts several layers into a single image. Using only 13 words he evokes an entire painting within the reader's mind. You can hear the sounds of the trains, see the fatigue of a mother wrestling with her cranky toddler,
Intrigue Behind the English DictionariesColor vs. Colour
On an international site such as dA, you often run across cute debates about whether to use an extra "u" or whether it is apologize or apologise. Few people know that this debate was once an international hot button issue between the US and Britain. Noah Webster started compiling An American Dictionary of the English Language in 1807. Eighteen years later he published the most comprehensive overhaul of the American English language. To research the etymology of words, Webster learned over twenty foreign languages, including Arabic and Sanskrit.
Webster chose to revise many of the traditional British English spellings, thinking them too complicated. He dropped the 'u' from words like colour and revised centre and theatre to end in -er. Webster felt that these changes were necessary to help further establish the United States as a




Oct 25, 2014
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LiliWrites has started a donation pool!
855 / 5,000
All donations will be used for my 27th Birthday Contest!! :eager: The theme is gonna be amazing, so I'm hoping the prize list will be as well. Thank you in advance! :heart:

You must be logged in to donate.

Life is good.

Thu Oct 16, 2014, 11:31 PM

Around dA

I'm nearly finished with all the journal features I owe various people. Next I get to work on critiques. :eager: Slowly but surely working my way through the prize list just in time to announce another one!

My birthday is coming up in November. I've hosted a literature contest for it every year for the last 6 (soon to be 7) years. This year, I decided to twist up the theme a little bit. :D I'm not going to give out any spoilers on it, but suffice to say that you've not seen a contest like this from me ever before. 

With that in mind, I'm starting to gather prize donations already. You can see what other (absolutely amazing) people have already donated here:… I'm already psyched over that prize list. :eager: If you'd like to be awesome and add to it, just leave a comment on that poll or donate to the widget on my profile. Any left over points will be donated directly to dAWishingWell so they can go on spreading love around dA.

In group news, the newest feature for BeACritic is HecticHarmony! Get a look at that blog here: BeACritic: HecticHarmony It was my first time posting a feature for the group, and I goofed some stuff up. But that's what new people do! :lol:

You should also get your mouse over to chromeantennae's page to check out his Beauty In Raw Humanity - The Self Image Project. Way awesome stuff in that journal. I've been working on my piece for it for about a week. I'm breaking tradition and going with a prose-poem instead of a straight up poem. Hopefully Ricky will forgive me for being a rebel. :heart:

Life Stuff

School officially commenced again. Business Communications is the big course and so far it is the easiest course I've ever taken in my life. I'm literally just typing up emails for various situations for most of my assignments. The only thing I'm having trouble with is getting Proquest to work, but I'm honestly not that worried about it with these easy courses. 

Work is still going pretty well. I'm still a total newb with lots to learn, but I've already told my supervisor that I'm interested in being a trainer for the company. I think I'd do better teaching people how to be awesome. Much more fun and easier than having to be the one being awesome. Although today I wrapped up my day by talking to a brand new daddy. He had his son with him, about 1 month old, and that baby was just cooing away. I about melted into a puddle of awws and here-have-all-the-credits. Devilishly good tactic, that! Better than puppies.

Otherwise it has just been married bliss. We had a date (finally) the other day. Went and saw Gone Girl (completely overrated, but Ben is seriously bulked up for Batman already) and we visited this neat little restaurant next to the theater that has the most delicious pizza ever. And sold cheap growlers of amazing beer, which we had hoped would make stomaching the latest Doctor Who episode bearable. Seriously, I had such high hopes for Capaldi's version of The Doctor, but ergh. Moffatt is just completely murdering everything I used to love about the show. We couldn't even finish the whole of the last episode. /rant

At least The Walking Dead has not disappointed. :eager: I won't give away any spoilers, but OHMYGOSH. If you've seen the first episode of the new season, feel free to gush with me in the comments. 

On the reading front, I've started re-reading all of the Harry Potter books. Probably been about 5 years since I did it. And no, I totally was not inspired by your rant about Harry being a whiny teenager the whole time, AspiredWriter. Definitely am not looking for ways to prove you wrong about that. Nope. Certainly not.

Also on the fence about JKR's recent reveal of new Wizarding World based movies. I just dunno if this is gonna be one very dead horse to beat. Might start stinking a bit. What do other Potterheads out there think of it?


Advice to NereidaYou can not save the ocean from drowning, he told me, because it is always drowning. Irrevocably. It's something you can't change, nor do you try to. He explained that there are some things you don't try to change about yourself, but there are other things you rip from the base of your spine. You place love in between vertebrae because a good foundation is everything and nothing is stronger than the love for your daughter. You take out small-mindedness and remember that every opportunity is like a flower, dormant until the sunshine entices it open.
There is so much of you in her, he says: her smile when she brings you wildflowers, her hair when it's tangled from a sea breeze, and most of all when she presses her head against you and whispers 'Mommy, I love you." She will have your passion for knowledge and your taste for all things sweet. She will learn that there is such a thing as too much and you will be there when her heart breaks for the umpteenth time.
Later, he would say that I
the taste of dried fruitThink that you know the metre of her
stony wrists,
shallow breasts:
the breakwaters of her ribs
and the low tide of skin
reaching between her legs.
Forget that she loves to sing
and that she will.
That she does, in fact, enjoy the taste of dried fruit;
that she dresses like a gypsy princess
in hiding
and has never put up with any of your shit.
Certainly, she holds a kind of hunger
in her eyes,
but you can only imagine the damage you could do
a thin girl
as beautiful as a wing.
Some Violence Required     Light glinting off metal was Johanna Spenser’s first glimpse of the cage. It sat in the middle of what used to be a library beneath a broken skylight. Dust motes floated in the air as the afternoon sun washed the room with heat and hazy light.
    Johanna stepped closer, out of the glare. When her eyes had adjusted she saw him. Rushing forward she dropped to her knees. “Kai! Kai, can you hear me?”
    Kai lay unmoving on the floor of the cage, his skin an alarming shade of gray, veins showing stark beneath. He’d been shot multiple times and his shirt was soaked with blood. Some of the ragged wounds were still oozing blood.
    Johanna’s skin turned to ice. The world grayed at the edges for a moment or two. How long had he been like this? Was she in time? She had to get him out of the sun.
    Opening her backpack, she took out her tools and got to work on th
SalatShe rotates gracefully.
Today, she practices prayer behind the pillars
near the stairwell of the student commons.
Yesterday she could be seen in A building
by the rec room quiet and alone; content.
Monday I saw her situated near C building,
where I assume she has been studying art.
She rotates.
She rotates because it is salat; Muslim prayer.
When she prays her hijab falls over her face
in small folds, silent folds, worrying folds.
I’ve never seen her hair do the same.
But I push my bangs out of my eyesight,
cursing their constant presence and yet
adapt to my poorly-cut lengthy male strands
and pilgrim on by the makeshift masjid
in the student commons at the college.
I’ve never seen her.
I’ve never seen her rotate gracefully for me,
like an American woman would for a man:
“How does this look? Do you like it?”
She is not seeking validation; rather,
she rotates for herself so she doesn’t
hear the grin of the atypical American male:
“I pr

Untitled (Floored Series) by HelloDearThomasUntitled by KylieFaye
spectrophobia by ezorenierFais gaffe, petit ! by Herculanum
ancient magic by WindOverTheWater

:heart: Lili


Add a Comment:
rlkirkland Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist Writer
This is Soooo late... :blush:
Thanks for favoring "Happy as a Fruit Fly". :heart:
(1 Reply)
Naktarra Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014   Writer
You are now officially a "Lovely Lovely Being Lovely." Check out your name featured on my profile page for just being an all around neat-o keen-o boss person. :heart: :dummy:
(1 Reply)
julietcaesar Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
My colleague at work discussed "Stiff" by Mary Roach today. I was like, "Hey, my best friend loves that book!" xD

(1 Reply)
SRSmith Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014   Writer
Thanks for the :+fav: on 'Irony of Science', I'm glad you liked it!
(1 Reply)
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