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Taking Constructive Criticism (for writers)

Let’s face it: you’ll go through maybe a dozen drafts before you’re ready to publish. And while the early drafts only you might read, eventually you’ll need an outside source to give you their opinions. Things may make sense to you, but that’s because you wrote it. You’ll need fresh eyes. And honestly, you won’t always like what they have to say.

Yes, it’s awesome to hear someone say they love your story, or they’re in love with your MC, or whatever. And it’s sad to receive feedback that just says “it’s alright.” Good reviewers will not say these things. Good reviewers will be honest, but not cruel. And you need to know how to get the most benefit from your reviewers as possible.

First off, trust that they’re trying to help you. If they know what they’re doing, they will be honest. They’re giving you an outside, unbiased opinion. Not all your readers will think on the same wavelength as you, so you need to realize they’re saying these things for a reason. Maybe they misunderstood your foreshadowing, but there’s a reason they misunderstood it. It’s your job to listen, find out what caused it, and adjust accordingly.

You’ll get feedback that disagrees. Anyone who’s had a story workshopped can vouch for this. He says there was too much description, she says it was just the right amount. She likes a character, he doesn’t. He LOVES that hilarious line of dialogue, but you were iffy about it and another person says to cut it, because while it’s funny, it doesn’t quite fit the situation. The feedback will not always point you down a clear path to improvement. If a lot of people comment about the same issue, it’s probably something you should focus on. If you get varying opinions about something else, then it’s up to you to decide. Listen to arguments on each side and consider what you know about your characters and your story.

That said, you don’t have to do to everything they say. Someone might tell you to cut a character that you have no intention of cutting. Some might say to expand here or cut down there, and none of that was in your plans. Maybe they’ll say you should scrap it all and rewrite in first person instead of third.  And you should listen to them. Listen to all of it, and try to understand where they’re coming from. But you don’t have to make changes based on everything they’ve said.

Try to understand them. If you reread your story with their thoughts in mind and find yourself agreeing, then awesome. Make the change. But you’re the expert on your story, so you get the final say on that decision. Sometimes you can just tell when your reviewer doesn’t know jack about what’s best for your story.

In general, take their advice with a grain of salt. And remember, they’re on your side! Be open. Listen. Try to understand. If you’ve given their opinion some thought and you still disagree, you’re the one who gets the final say.

And here’s the first part on giving constructive criticism (for reviewers)!

—E

tooanxiousforrivers submitted to medievalpoc:

Nicolas Poussin

Achilles on Skyros

1656

Oil on canvas, 39.5”x52.5”

Seen at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

This painting depicts an early scene from the myth of Achilles. His mother, Thetis, attempted to hide him on the island of Skyros, disguising him as one of the king’s daughters. According to the description that accompanied this piece in the museum, it is Ulysses and Diomedes shown here as having come to Skyros to find Achilles. They do so by presenting the daughters with a gift of jewelry and other typical feminine fare. However, they also include a sword, spear, and shield, which Achilles instinctively brandishes, thus revealing himself.

I was surprised to see that this same artist, just a few years prior to this work, created another painting of the same scene with a completely different envisioning, including the racial makeup of the subjects. It is part of the collection at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and can be seen here. Not being well versed in art history, I have to ask, is this type of thing common practice?

Oh, definitely. It’s not uncommon to see as many as five or six versions of the same subject by the same artist, often using the same base sketches of the same models. It has to do with the manner and the reasons paintings were commissioned and produced in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Often, the Master of the studio would do the composition and outline, apprentices would fill it in, and the Master would come back and do the faces and hands, or finer detail work.

Popular and common subjects like the Adoration of the Magi, The Finding of Moses, the Annunciation, and a whole host of biblical, mythical, and literary themes would be produced for specific patrons or institutions that paid for them to be made. Some of these paintings look completely different, and some of them are nearly identical.

Here are two paintings by Paolo Veronese, each one depicting the subject of “Judith and her Maid with the Head of Holofernes”.

The first one is from the 1550s:

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The second one is from the 1580s:

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They look almost completely different, but they’re basically the same thing.

In addition to this, it’s also common to see copies of paintings by other artists than the original, sometimes even a century or more after the death of the original artist. When I post something that is “after” a certain artist, it usually means it is considered to be copied from an earlier artwork. Sometimes it is a less-than perfect copy by another artist in the studio, and sometimes the work is so good it’s indistinguishable from a Master’s work, and these paintings are often just listed as “The Studio of Peter Paul Rubens” or “Follower of Hieronymus Bosch”.

Here’s a good example. Here you have the original painting of Saint Maurice in full plate armor by Lucas Cranach the Elder and Workshop; Germany c. 1520:

image

And here you have a copy from his workshop, produced under another artist most likely:

image

[detail]

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And now you have an image obviously derivative (note the same red hat with white plumes) in the Missal of Cardinal Albrecht von Brandenburg, by Nicolas Glockenden I c. 1524:

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And another from the same book, which is an even more faithful copy:

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If you want to learn more about this, you can start with searching for articles and books about the Guild of Saint Luke, The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass, The Guilds of Florence (to learn more about their roles in the sociopolitical climates of the Middle Ages), or why artists often were in the same guilds with apothecaries and spice merchants!

Close

Sneak peak of Les Twins workshops at Fair Play Dance Camp 2014. Shout out to Fair Play for hosting this amazing event and a big thank you to those who attended our classes! 

Until next time, Poland. 

1:00 P.M.

“Let’s see what’s in the paper today.” He reaches across the table for Tadeo Martínez’s newspaper. “Is there a story we could go out and cover?” he asks. He studies the front page and shakes his head in disapproval. “Incredible,” he says. “This is a local paper and not one story about Cartagena on the front page. Tell your boss, Tadeo, that a local paper should have local front-page news.

“Nothing here,” he mumbles as he turns the pages. “Let’s see, something here. Stove for sale, unused, unassembled stove. Must sell. Call Gloria Bedoya, 660-1127, extension 113. This could be a story. Should we call? I bet there’s something here. Why is this woman selling a stove, why is the stove unassembled? What do we know from this about this woman? Could be interesting.” He pauses, waiting for us to get excited. But no one seems to be interested in finding out why a woman is selling an unassembled stove, especially when we can keep listening to him.

Gabo sees stories everywhere. During the next three days he says “eso es un reportaje” (that’s a story) constantly. I realize that Gabo is full of nostalgia. He misses being a reporter. “Journalism is not a job, it’s a gland, “ he says.

—  Silvana Paternostro in her 1996 piece for The Paris Review on taking a journalism workshop with Gabriel García Márquez. 
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Freestyle session on July 13 Birmingham workshop
It was a great time Birmingham, thank you for showing us your love!

Les Twins are hosting more workshops all around the world! Check out our Schedule to find out if we are coming to your city https://www.facebook.com/lestwinsofficial/app_123966167614127

If we are teaching in or near your city, we don’t want you to miss our event! Check now and mark your calender!

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Workshops for Otakon 2014!

We are pleased to announce the following workshops which have been selected for Otakon 2014!

Please note that scheduling for Otakon 2014 is not yet complete. As such, there is always the slight possibility that a workshop or two may be bumped or wait listed at the last minute due to time and space constraints. No such determinations have been made at this time and any presenter whose workshop is bumped or wait listed will be notified by the Workshops Department ASAP.

NOTE: 18+ wristbands are required for entry into any panel marked as 18+ (the ones with “*” next to them). Wristbands can ONLY be obtained from the wristband booth. The staffer(s) at the Panel room door(s) will NOT be able to check your I.D. or issue you a wristband.

So, without further ado…

  • A Japanese Fairytale: The Dragon and the Shisa
  • Artist Alley 201: The Next Level
  • Awkward Dance Moves!
  • Bookbinding 101
  • Build-a-Bozu Workshop!
  • Come Dance with DTP!
  • Cosplay Photography 101
  • "Creating Music for Animation, Film, Games and Other Media"
  • Crossplay and Genderbending 101
  • Dance Time! with LE:RPD
  • DTP Dance Gathering
  • Fanfiction Writers’ Workshop
  • Fight Choreography 101
  • Fundamentals of Character Design
  • Getting Real About Fantasy Writing
  • Getting Started with Fuse Beads
  • Japanese Language and Culture
  • Jojo’s Posing School
  • Kimono Classroom 101
  • Kpop vs Jpop Dance!
  • Let’s Get Sexy Kpop Style!
  • Lolita Make-Up: A Comprehensive Guide Panel
  • Make it Work: Explore Japanese Street Fashion on a Thrift Store Budget
  • Make Your Own Dating Simulator (PG-13 version)
  • Okinawan Karate Demo with Audience Participation
  • Role-Play Live the Improv (RP Live )
  • Stroke Your Descriptions*
  • Suminagashi: Floating Ink The ancient art of floating ink
  • Taiko - the Way of the Drum
  • "The ""Build Your Own Ray Gun"" Workshop!"
  • Who Wants to be a Voice Actor?
  • Yaoi vs Slash*

Up to date info can be found here: http://www.otakon.com/events_workshoproster.asp

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