Yesterday I talked about beta reading a book, which got me thinking about the critiquing process in general. So today I wanted to start with a series about critiquing.
When I first joined a critique group, I thought that critiquing meant giving your opinion on the work. The person being critiqued would have to sift through all the different opinions and figure out what to discard and what to keep.
This was painful for a myriad of reasons, and looking back at the novella-length critiques I gave, I can only shake my head and thank my lucky stars that the works being critiqued were by authors at my same level. Neither of us really understood what a good critique means.
Just giving your opinions on a work can be beneficial, when the author is rather stuck in a certain direction to go, but most of the time, something the author writes can cause you to be irritated at a turn of phrase, punctuation method (Oxford comma,) it can be political, or maybe the person just doesn’t like something you did from a moral standpoint. I killed a dog in the first story I ever submitted to my critique group. I learned that day that some people don’t like animals being hurt in stories.
Having been on the giving as well as receiving of such critiques, I’ve since evolved my methods. Since I am an author, I’ve broken my critique styles into the main phases of writing.
In the next few days, I’ll go over these in greater detail.