I think you are making great progress Ben and one day the publishing fairy will alight on your essays and the incunabular oyster will be prised and you will be NO 1. Forget the maestros; It will be Ben vs the word and the world. I bless thee and wish thee well in thy print all ordained for the Ben. Might I join you in the sup of a teaspoon of proposed ink to inaugurate this marvel of mind rendered into print? A tasty penfull…Prithee a preview of the opus?
Thank you for your kind and thoughtfully worded review.
As a beginning writer I rely quite heavily on the reviews and critiques of this site and so your encouragement is much appreciated.
Critique is quite a difficult skill to master, especially for the beginner.
You may find that you like or dislike a piece, or even that you only like part of a piece, but explaining the reason why without seeming patronising, pedantic, or even insulting can be quite difficult at times.
Sometimes it is better to leave a comment such as, 'I like this' or 'I don't like this' just to let the author know that you have the read his/her work and have an appreciation one way or the other but decline to comment further.
This could be through a lack of knowledge regarding critique or even a lack of time to make a proper critique, in which case you could add that you will return at a later date to expand on your comment. It could even be that you don't fully understand the work but have already made your judgement based on immediate reaction.
In this case you could ask the author for a further explanation of their work regarding the parts that you don't understand or decline to comment until you have read the piece through a few more times and have gained an understanding of it, maybe even through the thoughtful comments of others.
I'm sure that you will agree, as an amateur writer yourself, that a polite and thoughtfully worded review, whether positive or negative, can go a long way towards helping and encouraging a writer, amateur or experienced, in their development towards their publishing or personal goals.
Light hearted banter can be appreciated at times, the odd poetical response or joke can keep things rolling along nicely and build a sense of good fellowship with other writers, afterall, it shouldn't all be hard slog.
Time is also another potential problem for the would-be critic and writer.
Do you spend time working on your own work and disregarding the work of others?
Or do you spend time trying to trying to learn the art of critique in order to, hopefully, benefit and encourage other writers?
A balance has to be created and an appreciation of the learning process.
Spend time learning how to create a proper critique and you will also begin to read differently, understand more of the works that you read and you will be able to critique better.
Personally, I've still got a long way to go regarding both critique and creative writing.
I need to build a larger vocabulary, including the use of words in their correct context, gain a better understanding of grammar, how to use past and present tense, the list goes on.
All of this takes time and time is the one thing that all writers, amateur and experienced, are short of, given the constraints of work, college, personal lives etc.
This has taken me time to write but I have chosen to write it in the hope that will encourage a honing and sharpening of critique skills (including my own) which, when applied correctly, can be of benefit to both critic and author.
Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.