Tips & Warnings
Critiquing the work of others requires balance. Being too nice will not help your fellow writers develop their work; being too harsh can crush a writer’s ego (particularly new writers, who tend to be shy about sharing their work). How can you achieve the right balance? Here are some tips:
Take care to point out both what works, and what doesn’t. It's a good idea to start with the positive.
Whenever possible, be specific when pointing out things that you didn’t like (don’t just say “I didn’t like this part” or “I’d cut that,” say “I didn’t like this part because…” or “I’d cut that because…”).
Try to offer suggestions when you think a change is needed. Suggestions, even to the point of an offered rewording, can be very helpful; even if the suggestion isn’t exactly right for the author to use, he or she may get a good idea from it, or at least a better understanding of the point you are trying to make.
Be honest and direct, but in a polite and caring way. Holding back your feelings about a piece because you’re afraid to share your thoughts isn’t going to help anyone.
How you handle critiques you receive is just as important as how you give them to others. It’s natural to want to defend your work, but it isn’t a healthy thing to do in a writers’ group. Why stifle what people really think after reading your piece?
Don’t argue with someone’s critique of your work. If you don’t like the changes he or she has suggested, just say “Thank you,” and move on. After all, a critique is an opinion, and we’re all entitled.
Feel free to ask questions. Sometimes, asking a person to clarify what he or she has said in a critique will help you to see why that suggestion was made.
You’re the author, and you have the final say. As you receive critiques it is your prerogative to accept or reject any suggestions made. This is useful when the group is pretty evenly divided on a point. Don’t feel like you have to change something just because someone in the group didn’t like it; but also don’t make any overly hasty judgments about critiques. Sometimes they make more sense when you go back and look at them later.
If everyone has the same reaction, there’s probably something to it.
You can save time (and add value) by having members provide printed copies of the work to be critiqued. Then, rather than pointing out each typo, the group can simply discuss larger issues, and the author can take the handouts back to check for line edits later. Avoid repetitious comments (if a member has already said what you were thinking, simply say “I agree with…” and continue to the next point). Having printed copies with members’ notes also reduces the author’s need to take notes as the critiques are received, allowing the author to listen more carefully and ask better follow-up questions.
--Here begins a 2nd article on the same topic of: critiquing--
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|Critiquing Tips (growing frequently)||March 4, 2016 3:11 PM||anonymous|
|About The Stuffed Owl Louisville Fiction Group||June 15, 2016 9:21 PM||anonymous|