I hate critiquing! There, i said it…but do you know why? Not because i can’t be arsed. Not because i’m far too busy, and not because i don’t want to be helpful to my fellow writers. No, the reason i hate critiquing is because i don’t really know how to critique lol
I can point out the odd spelling mistake, the need for a comma (I’m comma happy so thats not always a good indication lol), the fact that the tenses are all over the place. But so often i find myself saying “Really enjoyed this.” or “Well done, can’t wait to find out what happens.” PAH! Thats not exactly helpful is it? lol.
Im currently doing the Start Writing Fiction course on the Future Learn website. Its run by the Open University (so its got some pretty well known writers involved) and this week they gave us a pdf entitled “Commenting on the work of fellow writers” which in my case, was much needed ;)
Do go give the article a read, but, if you haven’t got time…heres a brief outline:
- If you’re asked to focus on a specific issue, don’t forget to address it.
- If you think an aspect of the writing works well try to analyse why, but also look for its faults.
- If you think an aspect doesn’t work, again, analyse why, but also look for the parts that are working better. Focus on positive aspects.
- Always comment on the idea and its implememtation.
- Bear in mind that its probably a WIP. Assess where it might go and what tactics could be used in its development.
- Show evidence of any claims you make, the part of the writing you are talking about.
- Suggest there may be other opinions “I wonder if anyone else thinks this?”
- Think about how well the writing is geared to the target readers.
- Be honest, but not dismissive.
- Point out the good bits! :)
So when i sat down yesterday afternoon to do the critiques for my writing group with my red pen (it has to be a red pen doesn’t it?) i felt much more confident (having the OU sheet next to me), but I’m not promising i’ll ever be able to give a detailed analysis ;)
Are you confident when it comes to giving critiques?