Saturday, March 3, 2012

Critiquing Other People's Work

Hey, y'all! How do you like my new blog look? I decided to do a little Spring decorating. Wow have things been crazy and busy here. I'm still in revision paradise with my YA thriller, my airline just officially merged and is now the biggest airline in the world, and Hubby is injured and hobbling around on one leg.

Ahh.. life is good though. Total madness, but good.

I stumbled upon this article on tips for critiquing other people's work and wanted to share it with you. There really is kind of an art to it, and things we should all be mindful of. Personally, I love the opportunity to give feedback, because with each story I critique, I grow as a writer and apply it to my own work.

And without the amazing writers who've critiqued my work, my story's would not reach their top form. It always thrills me to see how each writer has something original to offer. I can have five different critique partners and each one will add something I haven't noticed or considered before.

So invaluable.

Check out this article and brush up on your technique, or just be reminded of what's important:

10 Tips for Critiquing

On a side note, a couple of random things I noticed recently.... Hubby and I watched Dances With Wolves the other day and it's been a really long time since I've seen it. It's such a fantastic story and movie ... but what I noticed is that Avatar is Dances With Wolves on another planet in modern times.



I know there are a lot of anti-Avatar fans out there. But I'm not one of them. I love the film... sat through it twice at the theatre and it was an unparalleled movie event. Cinema art, in my opinion. A feast for the eyes. Yeah, I know the story was unoriginal... especially now that I know it was a take-off from Dances With Wolves, but the film itself is so stunning, I'll allow it.

Which brings me to another thing I noticed. After I moved a few months ago, I took a couple days off from everything to recoup. I had a Star Trek movie marathon... it was so great. Anyway, the most recent film Star Trek was a take-off of the original TV series of course, but the story was derived from the Star Trek II movie, Wrath of Khan. Pretty cool. In one scene of Wrath Kirk recaps his Starfleet Academy days, which is the entire basis of the latest film.


Yes, it's also completely useless info, but just thought it was worth noting that sometimes the stories we seek to create are right before us. With a few tweaks and twists, we make them our own.

Ever notice any story take-offs like this? Please share....

36 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Love your new look blog!! Very pretty especially the little bird to the left of my screen! Awww!

I like the ten tips of critiquing! I'm totally useless at giving critiques but I know I've had a really good critiquer when these points are met - so yay for them!

I really really enjoyed Avatar! It's not the most original of stories but it was done as originally as possible - I mean I was cheering all the way for these 20 feet tall blue spotty alien creatures and booing the bad mad captain human man! And sometimes that's the best experience to have in a film! It's nice for love and goodness and kindness and understanding to win sometimes over ignorance and mean-ness! Whatever galaxy and time this occurs in!

Anyway! Love Wrath of Khan - oh cried buckets when Mr Spock dies!!

Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I knew Avatar was similar to Dances with Wolves, but like you, ate it up anyway. It's a movie experience like no other. Hadn't thought about the Star Trek connection though. Good on you to notice.

Carole Anne Carr said...

Yes, love the new blog, and yes you are right I've been avoiding a story for far too long!

Susan Oloier said...

The blog looks very spring-like. We need some spring around here. It is only 10 degree this morning.
I am off to check out the tips.
I saw Avatar 2x at the theater, too. The visuals were too stunning not to.

William Kendall said...

Good look, PK! And thanks for the link.

I'm one of the Avatar haters. I loathed that movie, and will never see it again. The film score by James Horner is the only redeemable part of it.

I do remember dismissing it as "Dances With Smurfs" in a comment once in a library website.

Donna Yates said...

I like your new look! I too love Star Trek marathons.
Thanks for the article on critiquing. It's very useful.

DL Hammons said...

Oh....how pretty! Like Angry Birds on Xanax!! :)

ilima said...

I really like Avatar too. I watched an edited version of Tropic Thunder last night and thought it was a modern day Three Amigos.

T. Drecker said...

I like your new look! And the ten tips are interesting. I like to critique other's work. I don't know if I'm always helpful or right, but its enjoyable to see what other writers come up with.

Of course, my CP's advice and comments are priceless. I don't know what I'd do without them.

Kittie Howard said...

Thanks for sharing the helpful tips, PK. I value my CP's comments beyond words. I enjoyed both movies, saw the connection, but I'm not a big movie buff so kinda shrugged it off (but did prefer Dances with Wolves lots more).

Hope your hubby feels better soon. This airline merger is huge. Times, they are a 'changin' I suppose. Have a great weekend.

Richard said...

I didn't know anything about the movie. I didn't see Avatar. I do appreciate the 10 critiquing tips. Some of them were kind of new to me.

Anne R. Allen said...

The look is fabulous. It reminds me of some antique books I have from the 1920s. Well, I'm somebody who liked Dances with Wolves (except for some of the bloodier parts) AND Avatar, in spite of the over-hype. What's wrong with telling an archetypal story in a new way? It was beautiful to watch.

Great critique tips!

Christine Rains said...

Thanks for the link with the tips! Lovely new look. It feels like spring.

Jennifer Jackson said...

I have never seen Avatar, though my mom and best friend say I should. I did really like Dances With Wolves.

Critiquing others trains your eye to spot your mistakes.

Catherine Stine said...

Ah ha! Very perceptive on the Avatar connection. I also think that Avatar owes a lot to the Hercules myth-a flawed godlike man (Hercules was half man, half god) who had to go through all h*ll to finally gain entrance to a sort of paradise (Mount Olympus). I liked Avatar a great deal, it visual world-building alone is enough to blow your mind. BTW, the Asian dude from Star Trek is on Celeb Apprentice... erk!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Love the new look!

CPs are amazing.

I haven't seen Dances with Wolves. Back when Avator came out, there was a picture of the summary of Pocahontas posted on fb with certain words crossed out to change it to a summary about Avator.

Michelle Dennis Evans said...

I love your new blog look.
I haven't seen avatar .... So I can't compare...but will take your word as truth :)

meradeth said...

I so loved Avatar, even after the massive discussions I got into with people about it. It appeals to my inner anthropologist, plus, it's pretty :) I hadn't thought about the Dances With Wolves comparison, but that is SO true. Hmm, maybe I'll have to tell my b.i.l. that...

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Loved the new look and the entire post.

Yvonne.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Love the new look. :)
I have to admit, I still haven't seen Avatar. . .

Brinda said...

I think I could watch Dances with Wolves once a year. I love that movie.

Yadin Bromberg said...

Nice post! I'm new to the community. I would really appreciate it if you checked out my blog over at yadinbromberg.blogspot.com

Thanks and enjoy your weekend!
-Yadin

Leslie Rose said...

The new blog look is cool. For the record, I own the Avatar blu-ray so you're not alone in your fandom. I'm sick today and watching all 6 Star Wars movies. I'm always amazed at the different things my crit. partners catch. Off to read the link.

McKenzie McCann said...

I like the little birdie. The background is spring-y, as you put it.

I noticed that movie Monster House took tons of elements from Howl's Moving Castle. It weirded me out because copying a Miyazaki film seems almost sacrilegious.

DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

PK, thanks for the critiquing tips. They'll be invaluable. And the other matters, you know there's nothing new under the son. There's not that many stories out there; just re-makes.

Denise

Sarah Pearson said...

The blog looks so pretty :-)

And, confession time, I haven't seen Dances with Wolves OR Avatar!

fOIS In The City said...

Love what you did with the blog. Loved that you picked up on the connections in the movies. There are lots of variations on a theme, but what I look for is the unique way each of them wraps up the message in a new and wonderful way :)

Savannah Chase said...

Thank you for posting the article..It is filled with great tips.

Carla White said...

The blog redecorate is super cute! Love the birdie wallpaper. Has me looking forward to spring!

I haven't Dances With Wolves in ages, such a great movie and I love Kevin Costner. Interesting on the comparison to Avatar, never would have thought of that; though there was a lot of controversy on it being the exact story of Pocahontas, only with aliens instead of Indians.

I like the positive conclusion you draw, though, about it meaning that sometimes story ideas are right in front of us, waiting for us to redesign them. :)

JesiMarie said...

Your new layout is so pretty! Hope your hubby feels better. I know the pain of hobbling on one leg!

Thanks for sharing the link, totally going to have to look into that :)

BTW, I tagged you >.> http://jesimarie.blogspot.com/2012/03/lucky-7-meme.html

LTM said...

You're so funny! I remember thinking Avatar was a mash up of like five movies, including The Lion King. But I need to watch DWW again to see that connection... :D I'll hop over and check out that link. I hope they mention how you need to add a little sugar to your crits! And I would LURV to have you as a critter for my SF whenever it's done~ <3

Susan Fields said...

I love your blog's new look - isn't it fun to change things up a bit? And congrats to you on your Cupid success as well! I hope all is going well!

T C Mckee said...

Definitely a cute blog. Love the new look. I sooo need to change mine but it took me forever last time so it may never happen. Thanks for the critiquing article. I always have a problem being objective to something I don't like. The story may be great, the writing perfecto, but if its not the kind of story I like, its just hard for me. Wish I could be better at that. Nice post! I hat that the hubby is hobbling around. Are the kids making fun of him cause mine sure would. LOL.

Jay Noel said...

I'm liking the new digs!

Yes, that was one of the big criticisms of Avatar. I still enjoyed the movie. Nothing's wrong with a story formula, as long as the new spin keeps it fresh.

For example, Seven Samurai directly influenced other films like The Magnificent Seven and the 1980s sci-fi film Battle Beyond the Stars.

Carol Riggs said...

Oh yes! You have a pretty and springtimey look now. My only comment is that the text itself could be darker and thus easier to read; you could tweak that in your Template Designer under Advanced. Hey, I loved the artwork in AVATAR! That's mostly why I watched it.

Oh, poor hubby! Hope he heals soon. And wow about your airline. YES--critiquing well is definitely an art. And I totally agree about each person seeing something the other doesn't. Definitely invaluable.

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