Thinking about critiques

I’ve had a writing revelation! Well, possibly. Possibly not much of a revelation at all.

But you know when you get that critique that goes something along the lines of “this story doesn’t feel finished!” or “this story is great but I want to know more!” And you think to yourself how awesome it is that your characters and setting are intriguing people to want so much more than you’re giving them, and then think to yourself they’ll probably be waiting a while because this story was a once-off, or a throwaway bit of flash fiction, and you don’t really intend on revisiting the world/characters/whatever.

Maybe that’s not really what the critiquers are trying to say. Maybe what that critique really means is that there are a lot of good things going on in your piece, enough to mask the fact that there’s not really any plot.

What made me start thinking about this was the question of “how does the main character change from the beginning to the end of the story?” And it seems to me like the not feeling finished or wanting to know more reaction is a reaction to there being no answer to this question. And that probably one of the main reasons why there would be no answer to that question would be because there is no plot, or not enough plot.

I dunno. Something to think about, at least.

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4 thoughts on “Thinking about critiques

  1. Tracy Ann Mangold

    I never thought about it from that angle. I do know when I want to know more about a character it is because I love to know the little details and I can be kind of nosy in that respect. I love backstory. I love to know where they came from and why they are the way they are. It’s not always relevant to the story and I realize that, but I can’t help myself. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Saronai

    Honestly, I’d say, if that’s all the critiquer wrote…they’re not a very good critiquer since they left you guessing and hidden nuggets of knowledge they might possibly have meant. So, assume you mean someone who says that in an overall critique maybe? I don’t know really. For me, the most memorable shorts and flash fiction I’ve read create that very feeling of “want more/it can’t be finished, can it?” Then again, I prefer to read novels for that reason.

    Of course…I still do it at the end of all my favourite novels too. Thinking about what you said, I think it could be a case of any number of things/reasons (especially if they didn’t bother to clarify what they meant). In that, definitely sometimes they mean something along the lines of what you’re talking about here. Other times, I think they’re just a little more like me and the piece ignited their imagination, they loved it, and they were kinda pouty that there wasn’t a whole novel of ❤ to read.

    Also, I've recently looked at two of my one-offs that some people gave similar feedback to. If I understand them correctly though, it's not because the pieces are without plot, but because I left them with a feeling there was more plot to come before and after. They're little story islands that show a plot, there's just nothing but ocean for miles in every direction before and after the story nugget. I long ago gave up short stories though, I had a few of those in me, maybe more will come, but I'm not a big fan of reading nor writing them. Both the story nuggets I'm referring to were never meant to be short stories or Flash. They were just pieces that popped into my head one day, so I put them in my blog.

    Thanks to a few readers, I've finally begun exploring the stories around them, forcing something other than that one scene to come out 😀

    Interesting point though and something to think about (just not too hard if the critter provided no clues to their meaning) *hugs*

    Reply
    1. lillianwheeler Post author

      Oh this wasn’t in response to a specific critique! And I certainly didn’t mean to imply that that sort of statement would be the entirety of a critique. Sorry if that was misleading, I was pretty tired as I wrote this post.

      Hurray for exploring your stories though, have fun with that 🙂

      Reply

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