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Getting critiqued well

October 8, 2012

What writer-type stuff do you want for Christmas (or your holiday of choice)? Let me know. We’re compiling a Holiday Gift Guide for publication in early December. 

When I took Jamie Morris’s writing group, one of the best things about it–and there were many–were the critiques. In my previous critique life, I passed out my stuff, people read it, and they gave feedback. Sometimes, the feedback was helpful. But sometimes, there were things I knew I wanted feedback about, but didn’t get anything from the critiquers.

Jamie’s approach fixed that. I got to request that they pay attention to certain things. If memory serves, I could also ask them to ignore certain things (useful if I’m getting ready to get rid of a story approach or character, but they’re still around for the work being critiqued.)

Today, with some help from Writer’s Digest, we present some tips on getting critiqued well. The WD piece suggests that you ask three questions:

  • When did you put it down?
  • What characters did you feel the most strongly about?
  • What parts did you skip?

All three are excellent questions that I intend to include in any future critiques, should I run across them. Here are some additional tips to make your process of being critiqued useful for you and for the people providing the feedback.

  • As listed above, what should the critiquers concentrate on and what should they ignore? You should let them know.
  • Do you think your characters sound too much alike when they talk? Ask critiquers to pay attention to the dialog.
  • What parts of the story could they envision in their minds eye? What parts were hard to envision?
  • If this were perfected would you spend money to buy it? Why or why not?
  • How did you feel at specific key points?

And of course, to make the critique experience the best possible for everyone involved, never argue with any of the feedback you get. As a critiquer, nothing motivates me less for future critiques than someone who asks my opinion then argues with me after I meet their request.

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One Comment
  1. October 8, 2012 3:07 pm

    Reblogged this on F3WSINC.

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