June 3 2017

Art of Critique

Art of Critique

…from experiences in groups and cliques and blah blah..

I have an aversion to the words, awesome, nice..now a days.

In world of critique groups, it loosely translates to: read quickly, found fine.

If you’re the kind who has an opinion on everything, loves to judge, loves ‘track changes’ feature and loves holding the red pen/marker, then this space is just for you. But you need to channelise your thoughts. And that’s where the ‘art’ part comes in.

The balance beam of writing and critique is heavily unbalanced. One cannot blame anyone though as we’re not trained in this. But it is a skill that could be acquired. It is a skill that needs an open mind, a slow reading skill, patience and a few vices like a sharp tongue.

Yes, you need to divert your fault-finding eye here.

A bouquet of things I learnt:

  1. Write ‘awesome, nice, good,’ on a paper, tear into pieces and throw it in the garbage bin. Never use these words unless compelled to.
  2. Read the piece by imagining the author or poet labouring it over days and nights, without eating food or watching tv (they could binge eat too ..that’s another lost case…but let’s not get there.)
  3. Mark the stanzas you liked/did not like/were pissed off at/were thrilled by. Do not judge the entire piece with the same adjective. Variety is the garam masala here.
  4. Show off your knowledge too. Compare them to some pieces you read.
  5. Comment on the grammar. The misplaced pronouns. What is this he, she, it point to? Question. Demand explanation. Be polite.
  6. Ensure that the writer doesn’t feel threatened but welcome into your brain space where the devil of ‘honesty’ resides.

Welcome to the world of critiquing! (Ba-ha-ha-ha – evil laugh)

The first line of this post is inspired by Kanchan, my friend, who critiqued my own critique once.

About the Guest Blogger:  Nivedita Narsapuram is a fiction writer, poet, editor, publisher, independent researcher, aspiring script writer, and an erstwhile journalist for The Hindu and Wow! Magazine and online news portals. Her poetry has appeared in Tempostand, The Sunflower Collective, Woodland Pattern Library Milwaukee, Viswabharti Research Center, Amravati Poetic Prism, Wordweavers.in, Whispers Magazine, Celebrating India displayed in an exhibition in the New York based Handwritten work and are forthcoming in Muse India; Her stories have appeared in Marijuana Diaries (Fablery Press), Literature Studio, Family Matters, World I Write In, Annapurna Magazine;  Her script ‘The proposal’ was shortlisted for Qshorts, a short film festival of Queer Ink, India’s premier website for LGBTQ; and ‘Tea Story’ is currently under production; Her essays and research papers on translation, publishing, and women’s poetry have been selected in University of Hyderabad, University of Jharkhand, Jyothi Nivas Bangalore, Café Dissensus. She blogs at: nnivedita.com.

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