Monday, January 17, 2011

What Writers Want From a Critique

Here are a few things that my fellow facebookers would like from a critique... (Names have been removed.)
  1. Suggestions, encouragement, obvious corrections, always a critique, never a criticism
    -We had someone early in the writers group give criticism and made the writer cry - the group basically verbally tore them apart, since then, we always said with a smile of remembrance - only say what you are willing to get back. I find most, just want the encouragement and pointing out of particulary good part - that 's fine
    in fact that should always be a part of any critiqueand most writers i know do good critiques.
  2. Rita, when I ask for input on the things I share, I tend to include a list of specific questions, things I want to know: "Do you care about my main characters? Do her actions make sense? Does that creepy magical scene seem to happen in the ...right place? Is the style too conversational?"

    I'm a little thin-skinned, so I'm grateful when people start with the positive, also specifics. "I really like the way you described her by showing the way she walked into a room." or "That scene creeped me out so much I had to sleep with the lights on after I read it."

    But I also really, really want honest feedback. If something doesn't work, I want to know it. If the way it's written makes a person secretly snort with laughter when it's not supposed to be funny, I want them to find a gentle way to tell me. If something sucks, I want to know. But gently, kindly.
  3. I want to be told anything wrong or how it would be better this way or that. I would even enjoy hearing it is terrible if someone has a reason why it is terrible so I can make great or at least good enough.
  4. I want to know about sentence structure, grammar, etc that's wrong, but I also want to know if things are going to fast plot wise, if the chara's make sense, if it's realistic. And I don't mind hearing about the good or bad things. I also like speculations, like in my last story, The MC male had a nickname in the prologue and a real name in the rest. When I had other people read it, I wanted to know if they thought that 'carson' and 'axel' were the same person or not.
  5. Good advice I was told is to always start and end with something positive. Rita, check your email. I sent a couple things about it to you.
  6. I like to know what people get out of my story, to know if the idea I'm trying to convey is coming across. I also want to know if some thing doesn't make sense, or if people have questions--if I'm being clear. It is also nice to hear some encouragement and a little praise once in a while.
  7. I want people to get to the deep stuff. Don't just tell me you didn't like the way she said a sentence, tell me what you thought of the tone, the flow, the character arc, the building tension, and the release scenes. Get above the superficial and delve in to the story. Don't give me the answers you gave your 9th grade English teacher, dig deeper and speak to me as a professional writer.
  8. I believe an understanding that not all writers write the same with the basics of writing being the main focus. if a person chooses to write about vampires and such, and the critiquer writes romances, a mindset acknowledging the differences in genres and keeping to the fundamentals of writing can insure a positive. When you critique somebody else's work, don't try to make it your own.
  9. If anyone uses the words, "I think you should change this" they should be prepared to explain why, and offer suggestions. A set of rules, or questions to be asked should be considered by the group.

No comments: