construction guide

Survive, Support, Resist

Prioritise your own survival using whatever ways and means are at your disposal. Your life is valuable and deserves to be preserved above all.

If you have the ability, do what you can to support those equally or more vulnerable than yourself but with less means to affect their own survival. Build and sustain networks and communities of support.

Where you have the ability, actively resist systems of injustice, dehumanization, and physical or institutional violence against vulnerable people and communities. Leverage any privilege you possess to lend strength to resistance while being mindful to not expose people without those privileges to more danger from your resistance.

Constructing a head

First thing’s first, constructing a head. Possibly the most common thing tutorial-ized on the internet and in books. I’m going to try and make this simple and to the point.


Like always, I start at the very beginning, the source, the skull. The main thing to note here is the shape of the skull, which creates the entire structure of the head. The easiest way to look at it is to see a sphere shape, with a protruding angular face, and below that a jaw bone. Separate things into the 3 simplest forms.

Start with a circle, then a triangle/beak shape that forms the front plane of the face and the jaw, and lastly two lines to form the neck. This can also be used to position the head if you started with the shoulders. Although on a side note, I always start with the circle that forms the head.

Notes:

  • Follow the jaw line around to find where to place the ear.
  • The ear roughly always lines up at the top to the eyebrow line, and at the bottom just above the mouth.

Next, the face. The face shape can be drawn roughly the same way, first with a circle. Then a few other contours (shown here in coloured lines), which are the same for every face, but change varying on appearance. For example, the blue line might be smaller to make a pointier chin on a woman, or very wide, to make a manly square jaw.

Notes:

  • Using this technique is useful, as the nose usually rests on the very bottom of the red circle.

Above; Differing jaw types.

Where I am after drawing the circle, jawline, neck and ears.

To find where everything should be on the face, I find it helpful to see everything as a series of small lines/arches. This helps further down the line understanding anatomy too.

These little map lines can be skewed in any way to make different types of faces.

The technique below is also useful, and it’s the one most used to show students how to draw faces.

The first (top) horizontal line roughly cuts the whole head in half. This is the eye line. The second horizontal line cuts the bottom section in half, this is the nose line. The third horizontal line cuts the last section in half. Every section is 50% smaller. This works in theory, but in reality it only helps you draw a generic face from a perfect front angle.

Where I am after adding in the framework for the features:

Notes:

  • The edges of the nostrils line up with the tear ducts/the inner corners of the eyes.

After adding detail:

Drawing a face from a side profile is more difficult.

You can use the same small angles/lines to map out the contours. There is always the same indents in a side profile too, which I’ve drawn here in purple. For example, one indent right in front of the eye, where the nose meets the forehead. The forehead is always slightly convex.

Michael S. Schneider - Three-Part Harmony, “A Beginner’s Guide to Construct the Universe”, 1994.

With three points we have for the first time, Dimension. Three was considered to be the first number whereas one and two were looked upon as the parents of numbers. Although three becomes the first number, it only exists in the
2-dimensional World. No matter how you configure the points, it will always produce a flat plane of undefined thickness that does not exist in the
3-dimensional world.

Life-forms in general have a three-part Structure. From the body parts of an insect (so named because it’s “in sections”) to the hunian body’s head-torso-legs with their own subsequent tripartite subdivisions and the three layers of
heart muscle, all express the same principle. The Geometry of fruits and vegetables will be tripartite when they begin as three-petaled florniers. 

It’s interesting to note that many Sacred Structures feature a Triad shape, from Pyramids to LDS Temples. The triangular shape hearkens to the Divine Unity as well as a mountain which is a place where God has often communed with man; Temples are also referred to as the ‘Mountains of the Lord’. It seems clear that God works in threes and when we see the number three, we are perceiving something Divinely Harmonious and Complete. With the number three we can also see a Reflection of our own selves, our Past, Present and Future State that will be brought back to one in a Future Glory to come.

Curtain’s guide to ‘Critiques’

Hello everyone! <3 This is more of a post directed at things that have been brought up recently within the Undertale fandom, by friends and others, but this can apply to critiquing almost anything in most cases. I hope this helps for anyone who is looking for ways they can express what they want to within the fandom, who want to critique to help encourage and make content creators better, but maybe don’t know where to begin!

This is a guide compiled of the do’s and dont’s I have learned over my schooling career (including 5 years of college) of critiquing all kinds of work, writing, performing, visual art, etc. (I don’t say this to brag, but to give you all an idea where I’m coming from in all of this.) You are under no circumstances required to treat this guide like laws written for fandom etiquette, like I said, this is a guide, this is simply what someone with experience recommends.

So, why make a guide to critiques?

Critiquing is hard, it truly is, and like any skill, it is a learned one. When used correctly, it is ‘constructive criticism’ because it improves and encourages content creators, as well as improves the communication skills and encourages more helpful feedback from readers. When used incorrectly, it is ‘deconstructive criticism’, because it discourages content creators and encourages unhelpful feedback from readers. One harbors a community of positivity and constant encouragement, the other harbors a community of negativity and tearing-down of others. (guide continues under the cut)

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Common problems you'll very likely face in recovery - and how to deal with them (part 1)

A short, simple guide, by Amalie. 

1. Bingeing. No worries my friend, we’ve all been there. This is nothing to be ashamed of, it is normal and will not last forever. You are undernourished and/or underweight (for your body) right now, and your body is not happy about this. It wants you to eat. A lot. It loves you! Don’t be scared to respond to your hunger, even if you are hungry but not hungry. Eating is your job right now, and there is no such thing as too much food in recovery. You will not develop binge eating disorder and binge into infinite obesity. Give it time and trust.

2. Bloating and digestive problems. It sucks, but it is a part of the process for many. Your tummy and whole digestive system is not used to this new way of eating, but it will be. Just wait and see! Your body will thank you later. It is working so hard on re-learning how do eat and digest, please don’t be angry at it.

3. Water retention (edema). I know it is not fun when you feel like a balloon about to burst and the number on the scale sky-rockets, but you should appreciate this temporary state. The water retention is a sign of repair, of healing, of RECOVERY! It means things are heading in the right direction! How awesome is that?! Once again, don’t be angry at your body for this state, it is doing its best to help you are all it have, and vice versa. Staying alive and repairing itself, even in hard times, is your bodys only purpose, and you doubt its ability to do so? Nah! When you wear too-thigh shoes and get a blister on your toe filled with water retention, do you get angry at your body? No, you get like “YEAH”, because if your body did not heal your toe you would have been in deep shit in your everyday life. Relax, eat, don’t exercise, don’t relapse, don’t try to make the edema go away, stay on track and give it time, time and time. It is normal. It will pass. 

4.  Ambivalence and disordered thoughts. Things tend to scream when they get killed, right? If you feel something, it means you are doing something right. If your recovery is like a dance on cotton candy covered roses with sunshine and rainbows all the way, it means you are either a very rare unicorn, or not pushing yourself hard enough. You need to recover. End of story. What your disordered thoughts tell you is irrelevant. Would you ask a blind man what color your sweater was? Or a person who don’t speak a word english to correct your english essay? No? Then why do you trust yourself, a person so unable to stay in touch with reality concerning food and body that is is called a mental illness, when you believe you ate too much or weigh too much? It gets easier. The thoughts does fade over time. Hang in there, soldier.

5. Quick weight gain. You are not weird or damaged. Most people in recovery experience this, especially in the beginning of recovery. Then your metabolism is still very slow. It will speed up with time and more food. I promise. It might sound illogical that more food will often make you gain slower, but recovery is very logical - but you don’t have to understand it to do it. Just surf of the wave. Other causes of quick weight gain is water retention (see no. 3) and food in your stomach/system. 100 g apple still weighs 100 g when it is inside you. You are not the apple. You have a lot of weight from food and liquids inside you now, and that is great. Your digestion may be slow too, which means even more food weight. The weight gain will slow down, and eventually stop. Your body will find its natural set point weight range, and you’ll maintain a weight that is good for your body. Don’t fight it! Thats no way to spend a life. Don’t start a war. Make peace with your body. 

My Candy Love - Episode 24 Guide

  Notes:

-      Negative result for LOM

/       Neutral result for LOM

+      Positive result for LOM

Illustrations: There are 5 Illustrations in total. The illustrations do not appear to have any connection with the LOM, but I haven’t proven this yet. Each person has the opportunity to get an illustration with Nathaniel or one of the other boys and it is determined with multiple dialogue. There are several ‘steps’ or 'dialogues’ one must go through to get the illustration they want. I will mark these with: (towards illustration) and (Illustration) for the last dialogue. So to get the illustration you must complete 4 to 5 dialogues as well as pick the right date outfit.

Hidden Items: Clean up the Science Room. There are five items you must find to clean up the room. I have a picture of the hidden items at the end of this guide.

Auntie: Gift is a robotic cat or dog. Auntie found during 'date’ at the pet shop. The pet is given randomly. Keep going back and forth between the 'register and accessories’ and 'rodent aisle’ page before you go to the 'cat and dog aisle’ page.

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Virginia Tech Freshman Guide

Hey Hokies! I know you’re all super excited about your first year in Blacksburg but maybe you’re a bit nervous and don’t quite know what’s what just yet. Well luckily for you I am a rising sophomore with way too much time on my hands so I constructed this little guide to hopefully help you guys feel better about life at Tech.

I’m going to break this into sections for you:

·        Dorm life

·        Football games

·        Food

·        Classes

·        Getting involved

·        Campus life

Dorm life

So I know the first thing you’re worried about is where you’ll be living. Unfortunately, the new cadet dorm won’t be finished in time for this semester so that means we have a housing shortage on campus. They are offering $2,000 to all upperclassmen to move off campus just so they’ll have more room for you guys! This means that some of you might be tripled or even placed in a lounge converted into a room (that especially sucks because I don’t think you’ll have a sink then).

              My freshman year I lived in Lee hall which I would say is a pretty average. Some are better (like the AJ’s) and some are worse (like Slusher). You’ll each be given a closet, dresser, desk, desk chair, bed, and you’ll have one sink. The sink and closets pretty much take up an entire wall so you essentially have 3 walls to work from. I recommend both of you at least half lofting your beds (I full lofted mine and my roommate half lofted because she’s scared of heights). This will give you more floor space and open up the room in general. Here’s what my room looked like back in August before we fully decorated and it became a total disaster.

             As for roommates my number one tip is to be honest with each other. My roommate and I have a ‘no shit’ policy meaning that we’re both extremely honest with each other about any issues that might come up. I regularly yell at her to take out her trash and she yells at me to clean up under the sink. We are the only roommates I know that haven’t gotten in some weird passive aggressive fight because we stick to being straight up with each other. We’re rooming together this year too so clearly it works.

               The building itself won’t be bad either. In Lee the floors are separated by gender but honestly living on a co-ed floor won’t be an issue either. I have seen boys walking to the bathroom in just their towels and they have seen me doing the same. Think back to those first couple of days in 7th grade when you had to change for gym for the first time. Everyone was super self-conscious and you changed in a bathroom stall so no one would know that you’re on your period. Now think about the last day senior year when girls strutted around the locker room in nothing but thongs and it wasn’t weird at all. That’s what walking to the bathroom to take a shower will be like. It’ll be weird at first but you’ll turn into that thong wearing senior in no time I promise.

Protip: They don’t clean the bathrooms on the weekends so if it’s Sunday night wait until tomorrow to take that shower. Trust me.

              You’re RA is not some scary person out to get you! They’re actually the nicest people in your building and if you’re cool to them they’ll be cool to you. If something is bothering you in the building (roommate issues, gross bathrooms, loud neighbors, broken elevator, etc.) they are the people to talk to. Contrary to popular belief they’re not out to get you either. As long as you’re not disturbing everyone around you and you’re not a danger to yourself or people around you they most likely won’t write you up for being drunk. It’s only when they see alcohol with their own eyes or you’re throwing up all over the place that they HAVE to step in. I’ve gotten an RA to let me into my room at 3am while I was visibly wasted and my roommate and friends waited in the bathroom for the all clear and they didn’t care. Be responsible, respectful, and coherent and they won’t write you up.

Protip: If an RA hears you throwing up in the bathroom they HAVE to call an ambulance by law so if you have a little stomach bug (or knocked back one too many drinks) your sink is your best friend.

Football Games

              I’m going to write this section as if I was writing to my past self. I knew how to play football and I regularly watched NFL games (fly Eagles fly!) but I didn’t know people got so excited over college sports (I’m from the north I’m sorry!). So here is your basic northern girl’s guide to Beamerball.

              First off this man,

Frank Beamer, is the most winningest active coach in college football and if you don’t love him now you will by the end of the season. Hokie football is regularly referred to as Beamerball because of his unique coaching style. Personally, I love him most for the creation of the Fantastic Frank, but that’s a story for the food section.

              Our quarterback is Michael Brewer

He threw the most interceptions of any quarterback in all of college football last season but he did beat Ohio State and he kind of looks like Zac Efron so people have varying opinions about him. Apparently we just got a freshman that will be a lot better than him so fingers crossed!

              Your first game is going to be a bit insane because we were the only team to beat Ohio State last season and you guessed it, we’re playing them first! Plus Sands is giving us the next day off so if nothing else be excited over that!!

              Now for Lane Stadium… The side with the scoreboard is the North end zone aka the student section. If you’re in the student section (which you want to be) expect to never sit down. People have shirts that say “you can sit when you graduate” and they mean it. This is the section that’s always on TV and is the representation of our school. If you’re not going batshit crazy then are you really a student here? In front of the students in this end zone is the Marching Virginians. They have set songs for each situation on the field and you will know all of them by heart by the end of the season. South end zone is home to the cadets and their marching band (yes we have 2 marching bands). When we score they’ll do pushups on the hands of other cadets. They get to wear fancy uniforms and is probably the most fun they have all year to be honest. You will love the cadets.

              If all you care about is being a good spectator, all you need to know is jump for Enter Sandman, don’t sit, yell like crazy whenever the other team has the ball, shake your keys on “key plays” (when the other team is on 3rd down), every 1st down and touch down we get you will chant “H-O-K-I-E-S Hokies!!”, Skipper (the cannon) will be fired every time we get a field goal or touch down (don’t be scared it’s fun), and if you hear “LET’S GO!” you respond by screaming “HOKIES!” at the top of your lungs. Also we love horses on treadmills. Don’t ask just cheer.

Food

              Apparently they don’t do a good job at teaching you guys about this stuff. Basically the bigger your plan is the more money you have to spend throughout the semester. Everything is bought using that money. It is not a swipes per week system. If you buy steak 24/7 you’re going to run out of money pretty dang quick but if you live off of nothing but coffee you’ll have extra money left over at the end of the semester. Everything is 50% off with the meal plan so that $10 steak will only take $5 off of your meal plan. Every dining hall has these little cards that tells you how much money you should have left by what date so you can tell if you’re on track or if you should lay off the sushi for a couple weeks. Try your hardest to stick by them. I get the smallest meal plan because you can always add more at the end if you need it.

              I’m going to break down all of your food options by dining hall here so this section may be a bit long.

Owens

 Although it’s not the fanciest looking dining hall it still has amazing food. Here you have stands for smoothies, sandwiches, locally grown organic food (closed on the weekend), Chicken and mac and cheese, pasta, Chinese food, burgers, Mexican food, “cheesesteaks” (I use the term very loosely), sweets, and a salad bar.

Personal favorites: Fantastic Franks from Frank’s Deli, Buffalo chicken sandwiches from Flips, and of course chicken parm from the pasta place (this is a special and is only offered every other Wednesday and Friday. People actually go nuts for it I once waited a half hour for it and I have zero regrets).

Warnings: I’m from South Jersey and let me tell you that “Philly style steak sandwich” is NOT a cheesesteak. If any variation of a cheesesteak has the word “Philly” before it do yourself a favor and don’t get it. I could go on an entire rant about how bad this “cheesesteak” was but let’s just leave it at I almost threw up and I became very homesick and craved the real thing for 3 months until I finally went home and got a real cheesesteak. No one should try it but if you’re from the Delaware Valley I’m sorry but you can kiss cheesesteaks and Wawa goodbye for as long as you’re in town.

Hokie Grill

               Attached to Owens is Hokie Grill. There’s not much to say about this place. There’s a Chick Fil A, bbq place, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin Doughnuts. Protip: doughnuts are only 49 cents on the meal plan.

West End

              West End was the world’s first pay for what you get dining hall in the world and is what earned us the #1 spot in food. Here you can get burgers, sandwiches, wraps, steak and lobster, salads, sweets, smoothies, pizza and pasta.

Personal favorites: Steak from JP’s, chicken Cesar wrap from Wrap World (best bargain on campus if you ask me), hot wings from the Fighting Gobbler, and the Cajun cream sauce special at the pasta place.

Warnings: Super crowded from 5:30-7pm. Go early or late if you don’t want to wait ages for your food.

D2

              This is the only all you can eat dining hall on campus. Because of that it’s a bit more on the pricier side. Don’t go here unless you’re really going to get your money’s worth. Definitely go here if it’s a themed day (CHOCOLATE DAY IS A REAL THING AND IT’S GLORIOUS) and be sure to stop by at least once for Sunday brunch (which lasts until 3pm).

Personal favorites: Everything on chocolate day, eggs benedict on Sunday brunches at the Chinese place.

Warnings: This is probably the worst dining hall on campus which means it has pretty good food. If this is your worst food than you are in the right place my friend.

Dx

              Located on the first floor of D2 is Dx. Basically take a crappier version of Wawa and shove it into a hallway and make all the customers drunk and you’ll have Dx. Since it is the only food option on campus after midnight (it closes at 2am) it is a popular place to go after a night out. You will find yourself stumbling through here at one point.

Personal favorites: Corndog nuggets and the butterscotch pudding with Heath bar crumbles.

Warnings: The sushi is gross and a lot of people get sick from the food here (I never have so I don’t know what their problem is). Basically this is what normal schools have as their actual food and this is your crappy late night place so be happy.

Deet’s

              This whole building is basically all dining halls. Deet’s is your typical little coffee shop. They have ice cream, coffee, baked goods, and even paninis. It’s open until midnight and there are lots of chairs so I usually find myself there late at night working on group projects with people.

Personal Favorites: Blacksburg sunset (get lemonade for sour, sprite for sweeter) and the southwest chicken panini.

Warnings: No outlets for your computer so come charged up if you plan on staying awhile.

Squires

              Although mainly the student center Squires still houses Burger 37 and ABP. It’s all a bit pricier but it’s on the meal plan and you won’t find a better burger or milkshake on campus.

Personal favorites: B7 burger and the chipotle mayo for the fries at Burger 37, free refills of lemonade at ABP.

Warnings: Super crowded most of the time but worth it.

Turner

              The only dining hall on the academic side of campus! It’s closed on the weekends but here you can get bagels, convenient store stuff, coffee, crepes (crepe guy is super attractive), sushi, hibachi, salads, Qdoba, southern fare, steak and fish, smoothies, and pizza. Check out the cadet room on the first floor it’s one of my favorite places to study.

Personal Favorites: Beef at the hibachi place (only at lunch), custom salad at the salad place, taco salads at Qdoba, and salmon from Fire Grill.

Warnings: closed on the weekends and always packed between classes.

Classes

              Now the part you all hate: actual learning. This is more going to be little tips and tricks than anything since I don’t know your major. I am majoring in Mechanical engineering with a minor in Biomedical engineering so if you happen to be doing one of those feel free to ask me about more specific questions!

              Please don’t be afraid to go to office hours! Your teacher will help you I promise and sometimes they’ll even give you little tips or benefits that won’t be offered to other students. I’ve gotten extensions, extra credit, news before everyone else, and candy just from dropping by my teacher’s offices. Trust me it’s worth it and a whole lot better than failing and feeling alone.

              Do your work as soon as you can. Life happens and you will have unexpected events come up that you didn’t plan for. Would you rather fall to just 4 days ahead of schedule and go out and play bumper soccer with your friends or stay up until 3am doing that chem lab you haven’t looked at since lab day? You will have so much more fun (and sleep!) by staying on top of your work.

              Plan out your next semester schedule early. Look up your proposed degree path and see what you should take in the spring. Go to Hokie Spa and sift through the timetable of classes for the spring until you’ve found that perfect schedule and request those classes. When you don’t get any of the classes you requested, use coursepickle to tell you when the classes you want are open and get your perfect schedule. Protip: schedule free time for 8am and never be scheduled an 8am ever again!

Getting involved

              This one is the most important if you ask me. Classes are one thing but being a part of the Hokie nation is another. Every year in September we have this thing called Gobblerfest which is basically this event where almost every club on campus comes out to the drillfield and tells you information about their club. This is a great time to explore your interests and find where you belong at school. Thanks to Gobblerfest I’m now a sister of a sorority, on a design team, public relations officer of the Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Society, and vice president of Engineering World Health (and all of this in one year!). I met some of my best friends from these clubs. If nothing else you’ll get tons of free things at Gobblerfest (all of the sunglasses I own are from this event) so make sure you go and check out clubs!

              However, clubs aren’t the only way to get involved. In the spring Tech has The Big Event, the largest collegiate Relay for Life in the world, the 3.2 for 32, and so much more. Get a group of friends together and spend you weekends helping people and having fun. You don’t have to commit to a club, just one day. It’s a lot of fun and I promise you you’ll come out feeling like you were really a part of something bigger than yourself.

Campus life

              As a freshman you’re guaranteed campus housing. But what is campus like? Are there traditions I’m not aware of? Are there shortcuts to places I’m not aware of? Don’t worry! I’ll break it all down for you here!

Traditions

              By this point you probably have seen the drillfield and know the two distinct features in front of Burruss and Torg Bridge.

The pylons each represent Virginia Tech’s principles. In the center sits a cenotaph, DO NOT TOUCH THIS!!! The cenotaph is there representing all of the Hokies who have received a purple heart. We don’t touch it as a sign of respect to them. If you see someone touching it (or using it like a coffee table like I once saw) kindly tell that person why we don’t touch it. Hokie respect people.

              This is the April 16th memorial. After the shooting that took place on April 16th, 2007 a group of students were sitting on the drillfield wondering how they could honor their fallen Hokies. They decided to go to the quarry and take 32 Hokie stones (one for each live lost) and place them in a semicircle in front of Burruss. These makeshift stones were eventually given to the families of the victims and were replaced with today’s Hokie stones (which have each of their names engraved into them). Every April 16th a memorial service is held here and cadets guard each stone with pride. It is easily the prettiest place on campus during that week.

              The next tradition occurs on the first snowfall of every year. The cadets vs. civilians snowball fight happens on the drillfield and is easily the most epic snowball fight you’ll ever be a part of. Last year I saw people with lab googles, Captain America shields, American flags, and even the Hokiebird took part in it! Keep a look out on Facebook when it snows because that’s where the date and time will be announced.

              Each and every class at Virginia Tech creates their own class rings. After the rings are given out there is a huge dance to celebrate it. It’s kind of like the college version of prom except you’ll actually have fun at this dance.

              Similarly, the Military Ball takes place every year. Cadets HAVE to bring a date so get out there and find a cadet to dance the night away with!

Getting around

              So now you know some of the traditions on campus but how do you get around easily? Well you can’t go wrong with walking. If you have a crazy schedule like me and you need to go to Litton Reaves to Randolf in 15mins (good planning on my part I know) you might want to invest in a nice bike. Make sure you register it! It’s free and it will stop you from getting a ticket with VT parking services or will help VTPD track down your bike if something happens to it. If bikes aren’t your style I’ve seen people on skateboards, longboards, scooters, unicycles, tricycles, you name it. If you plan on bringing your car make sure you get a parking pass and be careful where you park! Getting a parking ticket is on the Hokie bucket list because it happens so often. When in doubt don’t park there.

              If you need to go off campus Blacksburg Transit is your best friend. Download the BT4U app to see which bus will take you where and at what time. Below is a list of places I went to often and which bus will take you there. I know it’s scary at first. (Note: there are 2 Krogers in Blacksburg. “Ghetto” refers to the smaller, older one next to the math empo; “Gucci’ refers to the bigger, newer one on South Main (no I didn’t make these nicknames up.))

University Mall- Ghetto Kroger, Math Empo, the “mall” (like 4 stores and the empo lol), Panera Bread, Wells Fargo, Starbucks, and Macado’s.

University Boulevard- Literally all the same places as U Mall you might just have to walk like 3 feet extra.

South Main- Gucci Kroger, Cookout, Our Daily Bread, and downtown (if you’re super lazy).

Two Town Trolley- CHRISTIANSBURG, Walmart, the hospital (only on week days), the Christiansburg mall (aka the closest thing to civilization you’re going to get down here), and the movies.

Originally posted by vtdsa

I hope this whole thing helped someone out there and I can’t wait to see you all in Blacksburg in just a couple weeks!

i get a lot of messages asking how to get into streaming/for streaming tips so i decided to make this really informal SuppyGuppy’s Guide to Streaming for any streamers or prospective streamers out there who are interested! i’m definitely not the authority on streaming or anything but i think i’ve learned a lot from my experiences these past few years and want to share!

The Handy Guide to Constructive Criticism, Criticism, Critique, Opinions and Flames

Fanfiction makes for a very large part of fandoms – and written works are so much easier to access than ever before. With platforms such as fanfiction.net, AO3 and Tumblr, writers can post their work, get feedback on it – and improve. Likewise, readers can enjoy amazing works of fiction with a simple click, and leave a review for stories they’ve read.

Reviews motivate writers, and constructive criticism (ConCrit) can help writers improve – meaning better quality works for readers. This seems like a win-win situation, right?? But how do we, as readers, or fellow authors, write a helpful review (and in extension, write good and useful ConCrit)? What is ConCrit? What does it entail? What kinds of criticism are neither constructive nor helpful? At what point does criticism devolve into flaming?

Okay, so today, we’re going to talk about Constructive Criticism. What it is, how to write constructive criticism, what it’s not,  and other terminology associated with it. Why ConCrit is different from opinions and should be treated differently. While we’re on the subject, we’ll also cover what flames are, and what it looks like. Hopefully this post can help shed some light for writers and readers alike on writing and receiving feedback.


What is Constructive Criticism?

According to Dictionary.com, ConCrit is “criticism or advice that is useful and intended to help or improve something, often with an offer of possible solutions.”

According to Wikipedia, ConCrit is “…the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. The purpose of constructive criticism is to improve the outcome.”

So it is important to keep in mind that intention as well as execution is important in writing ConCrit. ConCrit needs to be helpful, well-reasoned, and for it to be useful, it needs to be actionable. The writer should be able to know specific areas to work on if they so choose to.

Remember these words: helpful, well-reasoned, actionable.

The presentation of ConCrit is also as important as the content itself. Your intended message may be lost in translation if not communicated effectively. Criticism can be hard to receive depending on the recipient. Therefore, being courteous when writing ConCrit goes a long way.

That is not to say that negative feedback is bad. Negative feedback can be good when it meets the criteria for ConCrit (helpful, well-reasoned, actionable). Works are not without flaws. It is alright to provide criticism of someone’s work as long as you suggest ways for the content creators to improve. Remember, your intention is just as important as the content and presentation. You want to help the author.


How do we actually write ConCrit?

It helps to be specific when writing your ConCrit. ConCrit is highly focused on a particular issue or set of issues, as opposed to providing general feedback on the item or organization as a whole. Pay attention to content, intent and presentation.

Let’s start with positive feedback. The following examples, while they might be positive, aren’t Constructive Criticism. They’re gushing. Admiring. Fangirling. It’s different.

  • “I like it.”
  • “It’s amazing!”
  • “ The way you write Character A is sooooo good! I love them!”

ConCrit, on the other hand, requires more thought and analysis. What can be helpful is instead pointing out a certain aspect, phrase, paragraph, dialogue, prose or part in the writing that you find relatable, affects you, that you find brilliant (or lacking). And write why.

  • “I loved how you described their interaction, especially in the making up scene. You captured the subtle underlying tension of two people with big egos trying to make up, in contrast with their previous actions.”
  • “The way you wrote Character A is very good. Despite her acts of kindness there’s, like, this undercurrent of dissatisfaction and need for approval. Reading this I could see the built-up between her and Character B, and how it showed through her actions and thoughts. I particularly like the … scene.”
  • “Oh my god that line is just brilliant. ‘ … (quoted line)’ Is that an intentional throwback to their first meeting? And how much they’ve changed since then? Because if it is, then I absolutely loved it.”

Moving on to examples of negative feedback now; negative feedback is not necessarily a bad thing – in fact, well written negative feedback in ConCrit can be very helpful for the author.

The not-so-helpful-possibly-bordering-on-flaming examples:

  • “I hate this chapter/I don’t like it.”
  • “Character B is so boring/characterization is horrible.”
  • “Plot is boring and pacing is bad.”
  • “You’re appropriating a culture/racism/discrimination/hurtful ideas!! Do your research!!!”

Why is it bad? Because there’s no value in it and it offers no insight nor help for the author. No direction. What might be more helpful is pointing out a reason why the plot is boring. What didn’t work for you? Why is the characterization bad? Was there something character A said that didn’t fit in how they are described?

  • “This chapter is a bit off continuity-wise – it doesn’t pick up well from where the last chapter left off. I got confused halfway reading the (….) part”
  • “Character B’s dialogue and actions in this chapter doesn’t match up with how you described they’re supposed to be. Is this intentional? Is character B a jerk or are they just putting up a façade? Right now Character B sounds more like they have 2 different personalities.”
  • “I find the plot in this chapter a bit slow, more on the side of a filler chapter. The built-up of tension from the last few chapters feel like it’s crashed and plateaued here.”
  • “Your depiction of Chinese culture was not entirely accurate. (specify why it’s not accurate and give examples on what you know is accurate).

By being specific, the writers can know what they have done right and what can be improved, and if it’s something they can address. Of course, the author always holds the final say to make changes (or not) for the bits that the reviewers referred to for plot/personal/writing-related reasons.

All ConCrit is subjective to a degree – the reviewer can quote from the story and add examples, but how they feel about them might be subjective. Just remember that the readers don’t know what you, authors, know.  If they point something out, it’s because they noticed it.


I’m not a writer and don’t understand specific writing terminology, can I still write ConCrit?

Yes, why not? I’m not a chef and I can tell if a dish is good/bad and which parts I liked/disliked when asked for comments. I might not be as helpful as a fellow cook, but it helps to be specific. Did a certain part bother you? Did certain actions/ideas in the story bother you?


What other things do we need to keep in mind to write ConCrit?

Being specific aside, how a ConCrit is worded may affect how the writer receives it. Keep in mind everyone has different perceptions. Written media does not allow tone or social cues to come out as clearly as in spoken conversations, so place due care on that. Try using a more positive approach and pair the good with the bad.

The “Feedback Sandwich Method

A popular method is called the ‘Feedback Sandwich Method’. In short; construct a ConCrit in a positive-improvement-positive form. This helps in getting the message across that we are not here to attack the writer and find their faults, and makes everyone happier and more receptive to your ConCrit.

What does it look like?

  1. Focus on the strengths, the positive aspects of the writing.
  2. Provide the criticism – be specific, well-reasoned, and actionable (meaning the author can actually do something about it).
  3. Reiterate the positives – end the concrit on a high note instead of leaving a sour taste in their mouth.

The Feedback Sandwich Method is preferable especially since we are strangers to each other on the net, and we are criticizing someone we don’t know and who doesn’t know us.

This method is not intended to give empty praises or praising for the sake of doing it, but informing the writer what we think their strengths are and what they are doing well. What we praise may well have been a new technique or a new style that the writer is experimenting with, and it lets the writer know that yes, they’re doing it right.

Don’t make a personal attack. Dont make a personal attack. We are reviewing a story, not the author. Don’t make assumptions on what the author’s personality is like and masquerade it as criticism for the writing.

Examples of personal attacks:

  • “You’re very ignorant in matters of  self harm and mental health / consent for sexual acts/ BDSM dynamics/ chicken wings/ice cream(……)!
  • “You’re not an asexual/sexual ‘minority’ if you think that all sexual ‘minorities’ act this way!”
  • “Are you sure you are a feminist if you portray women in this light?”

On another, related note – if you are an author, don’t make a negative remark on your writing personal. Don’t make a negative remark personal.

Constructive criticism is about the work in question.


What is NOT ConCrit? What is critique? What is criticism? How are they different from ConCrit?

Let’s go over this one by one by definition.

cri·tique

noun: critique; plural noun: critiques

1.    1. a detailed analysis and assessment of something, especially a literary, philosophical, or political theory.

verb: critique;

1.    1. evaluate (a theory or practice) in a detailed and analytical way.

So critique is not necessarily directed at the writer and not always with the intention of improving. It’s a detailed analysis and assessment of something. Some synonyms of the word critique are evaluation, appraisal, appreciation, and commentary. It’s like the things you write back for English class on Shakespearean plays.

You might highlight or discuss the general themes, the characters and their interactions, or other things related to the work, but you are not providing feedback to the author on whether you liked the work/ how to improve.

crit·i·cism

noun: criticism; plural noun: criticisms

1.    1. the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.

2.    2. the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work.

In the second definition/usage, criticism can be said as being similar to critique, but generally criticism is more easily perceived as the first definition, but neither are necessarily directed at the author, because the intention is not to improve/help.

So now we are moving to opinion territory. What is an opinion?

Opinion
noun

1.  a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.

2.  a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.

Subjectivity is what separates opinion from ‘facts’. It’s important to keep in mind that to a degree, everything is subjective, but an opinion is a personal view. An opinion can be hateful, neutral, or positive. An opinion is that – an expression of what a person thinks of something.

Writing an opinion piece (possibly in the form of critique, or criticism) is different from writing ConCrit in that opinion is usually not directed at the writer. Take opinions with a grain of salt, because people have different opinions all the time. Don’t take opinions as criticism/hurtful things. Often it’s not a personal insult because an opinion is an opinion. People are allowed to have opinions. We have opinions on everything all the time because we are capable of thinking. There are 7 billion people in this world. There’s always someone with a different worldview than us.

Now this is delicate territory especially on the realm of the internet, but let’s just agree to play nice, shall we?


Hate/Flames

Now this is one part that is not okay. Flaming is loosely defined as hostile interaction that includes insulting and degrading the other party, or intentioned to aggravate the other party. Personal attacks are part of flaming.

It is not okay.

Hate, on the other hand, depends on context.

Disliking a certain aspect of a character, or a show, or a dynamic is okay. It’s a personal opinion. We’re all allowed opinions.

Flaming/insulting/degrading people for liking that character, show or story is not okay. Flaming people for not liking a character, show or story is not okay. Flaming people for having opinions is not okay.

Flaming sounds something along the lines of, but not limited to:

  • “Character B’s eyes are green, not almond! Read the original material before you write fanfiction, stupid!”
  • “Well your opinion is bullshit! I know for a fact that Character A deserves to die and you have to be blind to miss it!”
  • “Of course everyone who has a brain would understand but you can go on prattling about this from behind a computer screen in your parent’s basement.”
  • “This work/art/fanfiction/show is the best and I’m sorry you can’t see that with your mindless hating. Why don’t you go out and pet a dog instead of spewing toxic in other people’s lives?”

Let’s try not to return hate with more hate. An eye for an eye makes the world go blind.

Still with me? Okay. Now this is sort of important.

TL;DR: To wrap it up, what differentiates ConCrit, criticism, critique and opinions are how they are expressed, intentions of expressing, to whom they are directed to.

Generally, ConCrit is helpful, well-reasoned, actionable, and written to help the author. Critique or criticism is more of the opinion territory, and an author doesn’t necessarily need to address every single one. Of course, they are perfectly capable of overlapping (as in, to an extent ConCrit is still an opinion, etc.)

But when you want to write ConCrit, keep it as specific to the work as possible. Keep personal feuds out of ConCrit. Likewise, learn to accept opinions as opinions, ConCrit as ConCrit and live and let live.

Oh, and don’t flame.  Like mentioned above, an eye for an eye makes the world go blind. Thank you, and have a great day.

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Also big thanks to the people I’ve conulted and who’ve helped me with examples, structure, etc. when writing this, and if anyone wants to add onto this PSA, or dispute the contents, discuss anything, feel free to message me through my askbox, or the submit box for longer messages. I will reply in private if you so wish.