A Good Critique is Not an “Atta Boy!”

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………………………………………………………………(Cartoon: D. Ohi)

When critiquing a fellow author’s work — remember to keep your comments constructive.

That does not mean just ladling on empty praise. (Ask your mom to read it for that. Well, maybe not all moms!)

Empty praise is not useful to the author who is wishing to pinpoint the weak areas of the work — the areas that can be improved.

How to critique:

“Read the submission . . .

Read it the first time as a reader.

After your first reading write down your general impression from a reader’s perspective.

Did it makes sense?

Did you enjoy it?

What kind of reader would enjoy this piece?

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The second time through, read as a writer.

Begin making notes to yourself.

Start with the main focus of your critique.

Remember that your purpose is to give feedback on what needs changing and how to make it better.

A “that’s nice” or “enjoyable read” comment alone is not constructive. The writer has submitted this work for critique because he believes there is room for improvement . . .

Begin your notes with something you really liked about the piece.

Describe for yourself why you liked it.

The more specific you can be, the more it will help the writer, and the more it may help your own writing.

Focusing on what you don’t like about a piece is usually a dead end. It annoys the writer. It is perceived as an attempt to make the critiquer appear superior. Superiority is something a good writer can rarely afford to feel, without doing violence to his/her own writing. Honesty without compassion is cruelty.”

More here:

http://www.cod.edu/people/faculty/bobtam/website/guidelines_for_writing_a_critiqu.htm

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Today’s Assignment:

1. Find a critique partner.

2. Critique each others work.

2. Be honest — but constructive.

3. Don’t try to make yourself look superior.

4. Don’t give empty platitudes.

5. Be specific.

Read this from Maggie Stiefvater about finding a critique partner:

http://maggiestiefvater.com/blog/2015-critique-partner-love-connection/

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Don’t be a lemming.

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………………………………………………….( cartoon: Deb Ridpath Ohi — Inkygirl)