Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Critiques

There are a lot of steps to work through as you are editing your manuscript. I like to look over plot points and character arcs and then I either send out to a critique group or I pass the manuscript to my beta readers. either option I choose, I will be receiving critiques back. And after all that is the point, to receive critiques so I can better my writing and the over all story. So, thought I would go over how I critique, as there are differing views on the subject. I'm pulling these guidelines from a conference I went to and feel like they sum it all up nicely, so here goes. . .

First: The purpose is to share encouragement, insight and useful suggestions. To improve our understanding of the writing process--and to improve our finished work. Specifically, a critique session might help the author see how future reader might 'see' the story/characters. The goal of a critique session IS NOT to criticize or belittle another person's work or them as a person. You know, treat others the way you'd want yo be treated.

To the Author:  You are the final authority on your story. The critiques are suggestions that you can incorporate or ignore as you see best. Writing is HIGHLY subjective, if someone doesn't like your work it doesn't mean everyone will feel the same way. Do not argue with the person giving a critique, you asked for their opinion after all.

To the Critiquers: Begin with praise. Helps soften the blows.  :) What did you like, where did you laugh, what spurred you on to continue reading. As you move to constructive criticism, start sentences with
 I. . ."I was unclear about... Encourage the writer, like: "I really like the setting, I would like to hear more about it." Remember that any comments you write are taken seriously, so be careful, thoughtful, and kind. Balance your remarks, tell what worked and you liked as well as the places that need work and bothers you. Fell free to line edit, but make the marks clear enough to be noticed by the author.


How do you critique? How much of others comments do you incorporate? Do you write a first draft then critique or wait until you have revised over and over before letting others review it? I would love to hear other's processes.

Happy writing!!

7 comments:

Krista said...

I give my honest reactions to what I am reading. If something seems unclear or takes me out of the story I make note of it and offer suggestions. I also like to point out what I am thinking - questions I have. And of course what makes me laugh or prose that especially strikes me.

I incorporate most line item type comments. Or at least address the cause for the concern. High level plot or character comments I am less likely to take. Also, I usually wait and see if multiple people have the same feedback.

I write my first draft - send to alpha readers. Revise then send the second draft to beta readers. Revise then send the third draft to my editor.

M.R. Buttars said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

readers and critique partners? I've been trying to do so for over a year with no success.

Anonymous said...

This is great, thanks! I have a quick question. How do you find reliable alpha/bet readers and critique partners? I've been trying to do so for over a year with little success.

Gussie said...

I edit my chapters many times before sending them out to be critiqued. I belong to an online critique group now and I appreciate the comments they've made. Annonymous might find critique partners if he/she connects with the writers in the chat room.

Deanna said...

Two of my beta readers are family and friends that are avid readers. They know I'll have thick skin and they tell me how the story is. I give them a stack of mini post-it notes with the manuscript to flag pages they write on and I get literally one hundred flags back. I love it though! Some are places I need to fix, others are just things they like or questions they have as they read. They don't write and I think that helps sometimes too. As writers we see things different than readers.

Canda said...

When I have my critique group read it--they read from a perspective of a writer and normally read it a chapter at a time. When my Beta-readers read it, it is from a reader's perspective and they get the whole book at once. Both groups give lots of feedback. I have thick skin too and would rather hear it all and not have it sugar coated.