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February 1, 2005
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Okay. So you've written something. Part of a story perhaps, or a description. A prologue or a novel chapter. You want to post it as a deviation on dA.

Fair enough.

You want comments? You want people to take your writing seriously?

Show us you take your writing seriously then.


1. Proofing and Polishing.

If you apply for a job and your CV is full of typos, spelling mistakes and poorly worded sentences, you won't get the job. Your application will go in the bin.

Most people on dA don't know you. If they randomly find your work and it looks like you dashed it off, wrote it between lessons, and submitted it just as it is, most people won't bother to read much beyond their discovery of the first typo.

And why should they? You obviously don't care enough to spend a bit of time polishing your work, so why should anyone waste their time reading it? Really?

No one cares about how on-the-spur-of-the-moment your writing was done. Saying "I wrote this at 3am" or "I was high" doesn't excuse you at all. It takes very little time to use a spell-checker, and there are grammar-checkers for those who need them.

If you have a valid reason for uploading shoddy work, tell us (see point 2). Bottom line: if you're lazy and can't be bothered, don't expect anyone to take you seriously, or spend time giving you a well-thought-out critique.


2. Artist's comments.

When you submit a deviation, you get a nifty little box where you can tell us about your creation before we read it.

Use it.

If you struggle with grammar and sentence structure and want some pointers then say so. That helps, and you're less ikely to be ignored. If you're trying to make a point by using l33t, typos and other errors and so on, it helps to let people know (unless you're sure they'll pick it up from the context).

If your work is a first draft and you only want opinions on content, not grammar, tell us! (although even a first draft should be edited if it's not going in your scraps – it shows commitment, and how much you value your work)

If you want specific feedback on certain elements – style, narrative, dialogue, emotional content, reader reaction… it helps if you request such things directly.


3. Editing

Editing seems to be the bane of most people's writing life. That's understandable. Everyone has their own writing process, and just getting words on paper can often be a big enough task. Having to then edit your work can be a daunting additional necessity.

But it is a necessity.

I'm going to be brief here, because even a quick, general edit is better than none. Basically, before you submit a deviation, read it at least once as if you were going to critique it. After all, if you're thinking of asking someone else to do it, you, as the author, should have a go first.

Check for obvious mistakes like typos and spelling errors. Concentrate on little things, like making sure when you say "your" you don't mean "you are" (you're), and so on.

Look at the words you've used. Have you used any clichés? They're fine in dialogue, but generally not in narration. Have you said what you meant to say? Are there long sentences or paragraphs that you can shorten – perhaps by using more appropriate words? Have you said the same thing twice? Do you need to?

There are many other things to consider – point of view, characterisation, plot, tone, tense, dialogue, narrative voice, description and so on. Some of these are decisions you should make within the writing process, rather than when editing, and I don't mean to get complex here. All I'm trying to do is to convince you to take pride in your written work.


4. Submit Art

The point is a simple one, but I'll make it again. When people who don't know you look at your writing they judge your writing on what they see. They don't judge you because they don't know you, which is why making excuses for a piece of bad writing never works.

Writing is as much an art form as painting or photography. Anyone with a camera can take a picture and submit it, but there is a world of difference between a snapshot of your cat and an artistic photograph of a cat. In the same way, anyone who has a computer can type anything they like and submit it. But there is a world of difference between writing about your feelings because you're sad, for example, and creating a well-crafted piece of sad poetry or prose.
By all means grab a paintbrush and paint. But if you want to be an artist, learn about painting: different media, paper, tools, colours, styles. The more you know, the more you can create your own style and technique.

It's exactly the same with writing.

Happy editing!

MinorKey
On submitting prose to DA

Or, do you care about your prose?
Because if you don't, why should anyone else?

by *MinorKey

I browse a lot of prose. I rarely comment. Why? Because it's obvious from the moment I lay eyes on the writing that the deviant doesn't appear to care about their work – so why should I? Before you think about asking for a critique, read the following...

(the grammar nazi, by *Windy999 [link] used by permission.)
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:iconlululolo:
lululolo Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013   General Artist
Thank you, thank you.
Reply
:iconhpfan-atic:
hpfan-atic Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
YES. THIS. :|
Reply
:iconilluminatusdarksoul:
IlluminatusDarksoul Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2010   Writer
Hi there, I was wondering in an effort to make my work more presentable how you get a picture at the top of the page?
Reply
:iconratterrierluv:
RatTerrierLuv Featured By Owner May 28, 2009
That is so true! I like to read the literature here on DA also, and I rarely find a well edited one. I think that my two literatures here on DA are "polished" peices.

[link]

[link]

Would you mind reading them? Hope you like it!!!
Reply
:iconcolin-b:
Colin-B Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2009
Probably, my worst mistakes are too many commas, and mixing up words. For example, I might write 'did she', instead of 'she did'. A bad mistake, and the reason I re-read my work two or three times, then have a friend read it, before posting it. All out loud.
Reply
:iconfaithlessrurouni:
FaithlessRurouni Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Hm...I'm glad I stumbled on this. I think I'll take this little tidbit of info to heart and crack down on my own writing.

I do value my work a lot, I just never give it the time it deserves.
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:iconatomicalyssa:
AtomicAlyssa Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008
haha, wonderfully said.
but i don't see why people don't edit. when i edit my prose, it just turns into something 209348230948203948209384203948 times better! lol, still isn't much, but we're working on it. (me and my creative side). (:
Reply
:iconkingtut98:
kingtut98 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Well said, and well written. :-)

I can be a bit of a grammar nazi, though. ^^; But mostly only if the something is unreadable due to spooling and gramer errers.
Reply
:iconclaytonwoolery:
claytonwoolery Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2008  Student General Artist
There is a typo in point two, so i didn't read any further.
Reply
:iconwiseoldhobbit:
Wiseoldhobbit Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2007
:sniff: This advice you gave me was really helpful, but the sad part is it makes my writing fell like complete crap! :cry: I’ve been writing since I was seven and I love doing it, but my largest problem is I tend to get words mixed up. Mainly it happens when I trying to write a word that I don’t know how to spell. I think this happens to everyone, or at lest I hope it does. :sniff:

(I’m sorry about any spell and grammar mistakes in the comment!)
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