As children at school we hand in our homework and pray that on return there will be few red marks, and with luck a Well Done! at the bottom of the page. I had a few not so well dones in my time, and while these occasions were not my finest, I got over it and moved on. After all, I was there to learn, but more so because I had to be.
But my pet hate were times when we handed our work to our peers for their comments. My peers, after all, were nasty little buggers with spite and devilishness mixed with the ink in their pens.
As an adult, I thought the spite and devilishness would no longer be present. But how wrong could I be. It doesn’t matter what age people are, put them on-line and they become nasty little buggers again.
I’m now at the end of two on-line writing courses, which I have enjoyed immensely. Part of the course work is to have your submissions reviewed by your peers, which is a great way to share your writing abilities and learn from valuable feedback. And that is where it gets interesting. Very quickly you find the one or two who you just know are unkind just for the sake of it. The sort of, well I can write and I’m here to let you all know and you can’t possibly be at my level. I’m sure you’ve met the likes in other areas of your life.
And then you get the little clique who review each other’s work and only say good, when sometimes constructive criticism is needed. And heaven forbid anybody out of the clique offers a viewpoint that is less than positive. Then you get a bit of ganging up and harsh words.
I thought I’d share a couple of comments from the course. The first extract is somebody responding to a review of their work. The review incidentally was polite and pleasant. The second extract is somebody reviewing a submission. And the final extracts were given to me, by a gentleman who for some unknown reason took a dislike to me, which was curious as I’d never met him, or reviewed his work before.
Thanks for your “review”…. a question: Do you always follow instructions to the letter? I’d bet you have never ever done anything just for the sake of it! I would tell you to get a life, but that would be rude. This particular assignment was done in jest and I did not think anyone would take me too seriously…. especially not my reviewers. It was done more to catch attention which I think it did!
Dear fellow ‘student’,
Please consider the following advise, before I make a decision to critique this piece or not. We have a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to be critiqued by a successful author and lecturer. The peer reviews are also an excellent opportunity to get feedback from fellow students, who are proud to be part of this course.
English is not my first language and sometimes I even question if Afrikaans is my mother tongue? So, I would understand it if someone struggles with an assignment!
But, there is something in your writing that I’ve seen before in many Forums on the Internet, and it is called “trolling”. But you should know this already! Although you might still need some exercise!
Here is a definition of trolling, so you can read and study the nuances of successful trolling.
Definition of Trolling:
Trolling is to deliberately and secretly pissing people off using dialogue (in your case ‘creative-writing?’).
Trolling requires deceiving; any trolling that doesn’t involve deceiving someone isn’t trolling at all; it’s just stupid. As such, your victim must not know that you are trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccessful troll.
I hope this helps!
Oh, I almost forgot, I won’t critique this piece, or have I already?
And these are mine
Whey would I want to read any more about such unpleasant characters in your memoir (albeit a very one-sided picture). And the narrator does not come across as an appealing character…a seemingly discontented person, no will of her own.
I can assure you that had I given your story to my language students at a teacher training college in Limpopo in the Nineties, they would have responded very differently – with hurt and outrage
It saddens me to read that reviewers find your anedotes ‘funny”, ‘humourous’, ‘endearing’, ‘delightful’
You say in reply to a reviewer ‘I’m usually the one trying to hide behind a large plant keeping myself to myself. But I might just have to come out for a while.” Please do so!