Critiques (UNDER CONSTRUCTION)

This page will be updated by August 2019.

Thank you for your patience 🙂

Below are some of the key points I identified and presented in our May 2019 meeting. Following the text, you’ll be able to find links to the sources where a number of these tidbits come from. Happy critiquing!

How to ask for, and receive criticism on your writing.

  • Smile and receive all feedback ~ but evaluate it against industry standards. (The Write Practice)
    • People will generally mean well when they give you feedback, but you should compare what they are offering against the criteria for your genre.
  • Ask specific questions! (The Write Practice)
    • What tone is this scene setting?
    • How vivid is my character?
    • Am I using commas correctly here?
    • Where did you have to reread for clarity?
  • Know who to ask.
    • Someone familiar with you genre.
    • Someone published? A professional communicator? Training in your style of work?
    • Post excerpts on sites / forums.
      • Some require “credits” whereby in exchange for having X reviews, you must have reviewed Y other pieces.
      • Is the site a “workshop” or a more informal “group”? Which is better for your needs?
  • Prepare for feedback. (Helping Writers Become Authors)
    • Polish your work into ‘good shape’!
    • Provide a deadline for your reviewer.
    • Approach multiple people, in case someone cannot come through.
    • Offer something in return.
      • Cookies? Review their work? Pet sit for them? Offer to take them to the airport?
  • Sort “Good” versus “Bad” (see the first bullet on this list)
    • If several reviewers are making the same / similar comments, listen a little more closely.
    • Does their feedback fit with your intentions?
      • “Why can’t characters X & Y fall in love?” They ask… “Because they’re mortal enemies…” You reply as you ignore the idiotic idea.
    • Beware of critiques / advice that looks “good” but could drag your novel in the wrong direction.

How to give another writer feedback.

  • Your feedback should be constructive, not crushing. (Grammarly)
    • They’re not just a writer, but a person as well.They may suffer from Imposter Syndrome.Read it all. Thoroughly. More than once… Avoid the compliment sandwich. It’s a terrible concept (this one’s all me).Ask them questions to lead the writer in the right direction.
      • “This is interesting, did you mean to contradict your world’s entire magic system to bail the hero out of a bind?”Don’t nit-pick the little stuff!
      • Ask them if they have thought of asking someone to do a line-edit.A critique is not a review.
      • You can like it or not, as a piece of fiction ~ but that shouldn’t weigh on your critique of their technical skills (unless they asked you to evaluate how invested you were or if you would keep reading).
  • How to give feedback (Change Media Group)
    • Be specific!In addition to giving them a direction they can go to, tell them WHY you’re making that suggestion.Your edits MUST add something to their work.
  • Effective feedback (Writers Cookbook)
    • Be objective.
    • Look for plot holes.
    • Are they being too wordy?
    • Are their characters consistent?
    • Did they go on a journey?
    • Does the dialogue read as ‘natural’?
    • Be a fact checker for them (yes, even in fiction / fantasy).
    • Give your feedback in depth.
    • Be nice about it!