Friday, August 2, 2013

Writing Friday: Critiquing

Well, I asked you all in last week's post what you would like to see in my weekly "writing" posts.

The majority of commenters said that you'd like to see both posts filled with tips on writing and also posts highlighting my novel, "Swept to Sea".

So,  for today, I will share some writing tips, and later on in the month I'll talk about "Swept to Sea". Okay? Okay.

As a writer, whether you like it or not, you spend a lot of time critiquing. Critiquing your own work, or others' work, you critique nonetheless.

You may have a critique partner or be a member of a critique circle, or you may just want to self-edit your own writing. First of all, you may ask how you get a critique partner or circle.

I've tried many methods and there are more than the ones I've tried.

You could...

  • Join an online critique circle in your genre 
  • Become a member of an online writers' association like ACFW
  • Join a blogging/ Facebook writer's community like Go Teen Writers
  • Google local writer's groups (perhaps there's one at your local library or bookstore)
And there are probably more that I'm probably forgetting to mention.

So, once you find a critique partner, what do you do?

Settle on an expected time for completing critiques if you're with a partner, or learn the group's rules. You may be able to produce and critique one chapter a week, or one chapter a month even.

Next, decide how much of a critique you want to receive or give. Full critique? Critique on writing style, or story ideas? Or just an extra eye for grammatical and spelling errors?

Then, critique. Give your honest opinion, but be polite about it. Make sure your partner knows you are saying your opinion only, and don't say anything too negative. Writers can take comments on their work very personally. Never say "YOU" when referring to the piece, rather say "this scene" or something of the like. Balance your "negative" comments with some "positive" comments. Nobody likes to hear nothing but negative about their novel.

Also, when receiving a critique, do not get defensive. If you don't like a comment you got, set it aside for a while and come back later. You don't have to agree with everyone. If three or more people comment on the same thing, consider changing it.

Well, that's all I have for today. Do you have any questions about critiquing? Have you critiqued before?Did you enjoy it or dislike it? Next week I'll talk about critiquing your OWN work.  


  1. That's really interesting!

    I never thought about avoiding saying "you" when you critique someone's work.

    I've mainly just critiqued my own work and the work of people at school or people in my family who I'm comfortable working with.

    The groups you mentioned look very helpful. I've heard about some of them before.

    I'm looking forward to the rest of these posts this month!

    1. Thanks, Cortney.
      Yeah, some people can get defensive, so you have to be careful. And I don't blame them! :)
      I've used most of the groups that I mentioned in this post, and they were helpful.

  2. I need to find some sort of critique group. I have had my WIPs critiqued before but I do not have a partner to work with yet.

    1. Yeah, a critique group can be very helpful. If you have the money to join something like ACFW, that's an amazing group and a great help.
      GTW is also great. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Very interesting stuff, good advice. Great post!


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