Matt Tuckey is a writer from Oldham, England. Follow him as he tracks down celebrities, fires out fiction and poetry to magazines worldwide, gets himself into an array of absurd, terrifying and sometimes fantastic situations, and reviews the bars and restaurants of Manchester. Power is a State of Mind is also home to the elusive and inimitable fauna communicator, Fluffy Oakes and a good place to look for info on Manchester's literature scene.
criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an
acquaintance, or a stranger. -Franklin Jones, US journalist
Constructive criticism is
about finding something good and positive to soften the blow to the
real critique of what really went on. -Paula Abdul, Singer
I used this writing review website, as planned here. I stuck it out for a week. I uploaded my work to writing.com, and
dished out a load of reviews. The site let me down. It let me down badly.
what I liked:
is some good poetry being displayed. Some.
what I didn't:
the list of items to be reviewed, there are an awful lot of pieces
labelled “Interactive Story”. I thought this would be a kind-of
choose-your-own-adventure type affair, with the reader making
decisions at the turn of every page. I was wrong. These items are
actually unfinished stories that the original author is inviting you,
another site user, to finish off. Now, I think this is an interesting
idea- getting other contributors to provide your twists and turns
would spur your creativity and force you to write something that you
might not have thought you were capable of. The thing I don't like
about this is that these projects are listed in the same area as the
finished stories and poems that are waiting for actual reviews.
People like me, who are specifically looking to give and receive
feedback, have no way of filtering out the interactive content that
doesn't help us. So looking for finished pieces to review becomes
hard work. Oh, and the one interactive story I checked was crap.
email system within your writing.com homepage inundates you with
message after message featuring random tips on writing. This is all
good advice, but this is mixed in with all of your reviews and
feedback on reviews you've given. It makes it very hard to pick out
the type of message you want to read. Surely each of these
notifications should be found in their own section within the site,
is a feedback page that allows you to see reviews written by other
writers on other people's work. Some of these reviews are atually
good quality, but here's the problem: the actual articles that the
reviews relate to aren't listed there! So the reviews are totally out
search functions generally aren't brilliant. I searched the static
items (standalone pieces like short stories or poems) for poetry in
particular. This gave me a list of poems waiting to be reviewed.
Rolling the mouse over each item reveals a little more information,
including genre, item type (poetry obviously) and item size (bytes
and approximate word count). I couldn't filter to get poetry of one
genre, like erotica (the genre I'm working in, so it makes sense to
say you submit a review for a piece of writing. You then go back to
the list of items to be reviewed. The piece you've just critiqued
should ideally have disappeared from this screen to avoid confusion.
But it doesn't. When you review a number of pieces, You're likely to
forget the names of the poems or stories, and only remember the
content. Writing.com makes things difficult by keeping these pieces
on the review page, meaning you have to search out your next piece to
reviewed a piece of Glee-based gay erotic fan fiction. The content knocked me slightly sick- partly
because of the association with a dogshit TV show and partly due to
the depictions of hardcore homosexual sex. Regardless of content, it
was still terrible. I pointed out to the author that the Glee fanbase
is probably a bit young to be reading graphic gay erotica. He agreed,
but then admitted “I only really write things I post on here for
the sake of writing them” and that he doesn't care if nobody reads
it. It feels like there are a lot of writers on writing.com who are
equally as “dedicated” as the Glee guy was.
later reviewed a story about a vorophile
being shrank and eaten by his wife. It was truly awful, although an
interesting introduction to the fetish. I explained to the author
what I liked, what I didn't and how good it could be with a few
adjustments using the Compliment Sandwich technique.
replied with “This was by far the most thoughtful and detailed
review I've ever had.” Now, by telling you this my intention is not
to brag. I'm still seeking feedback, and I'm not making a living of
writing. So I can't be totally awesome. Not totally. I'm trying to
point out that people are not giving constructive criticism to each
other on writing.com. When you mention “criticism” to people on
this site, as I did over their Facebook page, they hear it as a dirty word. They imagine it as a callous call-out
against their work. My response: If it's not constructive, it's not
real criticism. It certainly wouldn't relevant. The Glee guy seemed
to be the only person on the site to understand that if you don't
have any criticism at all toward your work, you will NEVER improve.
Everyone else seemed completely naïve to this, and for that reason
I'm not going back to writing.com.