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Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 10:01:14 PM
Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 7/12/2010
Posts: 1,045
Thanks to Alan for the following link. It contains some helpful suggestions on how to go about critiquing the work of others.


If anyone has any other tips to add, please feel free to post them here. icon_smile
Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 7:56:08 PM
Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 1/3/2013
Posts: 38
Location: United States
I posted this in another part of the site, but now that I'm a member of the Critiques group, I think it's most appropriate for this section.

“What you say is worth a dime. How you say it is worth a dollar. Why you say it, is worth a fortune.”

“Play the sunset."
― Mr. Holland (played by Richard Dreyfuss) on "Mr. Holland's Opus"

Find my fan page on Facebook "Diana Shallard" and follow me on Twitter too! https://twitter.com/DianaShallard
Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 1:55:49 PM
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Joined: 7/12/2010
Posts: 1,045
Good advice, Diana. Welcome to the critique groups!
Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:04:34 AM
Rank: Story Moderator

Joined: 8/24/2011
Posts: 998
Location: lost in the ozone west of Apache Junction

The following is from, The Self-Appointed Grammar Police site. I'ts a LOL funny take on writing and related subjects. Sorry I can't link, but Google it and enjoy.

This is excerpted from their "How To" section. Imagine you've been called upon to crit, Pride and Prejudice. If following the SAGP "How To" guidelines, your crit might read something like this:


suppose you were asked to provide a constructive critique for the opening of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

``My dear Mr. Bennet,'' said his lady to him one day, ``have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?''

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

``But it is,'' returned she; ``for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.''

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

``Do you not want to know who has taken it?'' cried his wife impatiently.

``You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.''

This was invitation enough.

``Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.''

``What is his name?''


``Is he married or single?''

``Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!''

You might critique it as follows:

What a crock!
I tried to critique your Pride and Prejudice but I couldn't get past the first chapter. Talk about density! Ridiculously long sentences, antiquated subject-matter and endless waffle.

If this is ever going to be any good, you're going to need to trim ruthlessly, and move the plot along much more quickly. Look at the opening: an abstract, philosophical statement. How does that advance the plot? And it's not even true - it's not a truth ``universally acknowledged'', is it? Perhaps you should try thinking before you write.

The characterisation is hopelessly unconvincing. No wife would address her husband by his surname. The Mrs. Bennet character is completely over the top, and your story would work much better if you cut her out completely. Her lines could be given to the cipher that is Mary.

You really don't have a clue how to write dialogue, do you? You have six consecutive speeches here without so much as a single tag to tell us who's saying what. You should intersperse the spoken words with ``action tags'', like this:

``What is his name?'' Mr. Bennet tapped his pipe thoughtfully on sideboard.
``Bingley.'' His wife's face had turned red with excitement, and she couldn't keep still.

``Is he married or single?'' Mr. Bennet stifled a yawn as he walked across the room to draw the curtains.
See how much more naturally it flows like that?
I could go on, but frankly there's so much wrong with this that there's really no point in picking nits. It needs a complete rewrite before it's worth spending any more time on.

One final point: you absolutely must change that title. Pride and Prejudice? How does that tell us anything about the story? You should use something vivid and evocative like First Impressions instead.

Now just think how much much better P&P could have been if Jane Austen had had the benefit of good, honest critiquing like that.



It happened at a church summer camp so it must be true, right? ;)

OF WAR, AND PEACE, AND MARY BETH: my contest winner, honest

For Whom the Good Tolls an 'RR' and it's short, no kidding[/url]

Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 12:52:02 AM
Rank: Rest in Peace

Joined: 10/12/2010
Posts: 3,396
Location: Earth, for now..., United States
Rumple_deWriter wrote:

suppose you were asked to provide a constructive critique for the opening of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

Believe it or not, I actually read that book...and I probably shouldn't admit it, but before I started writing myself, I could count on one hand the number of novels I've read...

Yeah, I think the general consensus is that a lot of the classics would never make it past an acquisitions editor these days, for various reasons...

We'd probably accept them here on Stories Space though...the mods here are pretty nice that way, from what I hear...

But yeah...I have a strong feeling that someone like James Joyce would have died an unknown if he was born 50 years later...heck, we might even reject his stuff over here...just sayin'

I once knew a drinker who had a moderating problem...

Posted: Monday, April 29, 2013 10:31:05 AM
Rank: Administration

Joined: 10/12/2010
Posts: 2,502
Location: On the ragged edge of disaster
Lisa wrote:
Thanks to Alan for the following link. It contains some helpful suggestions on how to go about critiquing the work of others.


From the same website, excellent advice on how to accept a critique: http://www.writingforward.com/better-writing/critiques-make-your-writing-better

Here is the article in its entirety, but I would advise visiting the link and reading the comments as well.

Critiques Make Your Writing Better, So Grin and Bear Them
Posted by Melissa Donovan on April 26, 2013

How to accept critiques with grace.

It seems like every writer wants someone to read his or her work and provide feedback so they can make their writing better.

Trouble is, many writers want nothing more than praise. When they hear that their writing could actually use some work, some writers freeze up. Others go through the feedback and argue it point by point. A few will even launch into a tirade of sobbing or screaming.

Critiques are designed to help writers, not to offend them or make them feel unworthy. But the human ego is a fragile and funny thing. Some folks simply can’t handle the notion that despite all their hard work, the project they’ve written is less than perfect.

As a writer, you have to decide whether you truly want to excel at your craft. If you do, then you need to put your ego aside and learn how to accept critiques graciously. If you can’t do that, there’s a good chance that your writing will never improve and your work will always be mediocre.

The Importance of Critiques

Critiques are not tools of torture. They are meant to help writers. If the critique is put together in a thoughtful and meaningful way, it should lift the writer’s spirits by pointing out strengths in the piece, but it should also raise some red flags by marking areas that need improvement.

Usually, critiques sting a little. That’s okay. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and your suspicions about what is weak in your writing will only be confirmed. Other times, you’ll be surprised that the critic found weaknesses in parts of the work that you thought were the strongest.

With practice and by following the tips below, you’ll learn how to overcome your own ego, how to obtain a beneficial critique and evaluate it objectively, apply it to your writing smartly, and for all that, you’ll be a better writer.

Tips for Accepting Writing Critiques, and then Writing Better

- Find someone who is well-read, tactful, honest, and knowledgeable about writing. If you can find a critic who possesses all these traits, then you have overcome the first hurdle.
- Polish your work as much as you can before handing it over. Do not send a rough draft to someone who will be critiquing your work, otherwise much of the feedback you get may address problems you could have found and addressed yourself. The point of a critique is to step beyond your own perspective and abilities. Note: some writers use alpha readers who read the rough draft and then give feedback on the content, usually the story. This is not a critique in the traditional sense. It’s more for testing general ideas.
- Don’t harass the person who is critiquing your work by calling them every day, especially if they’re doing you a favor. If you are working under any kind of deadline, plan accordingly.
- If possible, do not review the critique in the presence of the person who prepared it. The best way to first review a critique is to set aside some time alone.
- You may have an emotional reaction. Some of the feedback may make you angry or despondent. Know that this is normal and it will pass.
- After you review the critique, let it sit for a day or two. In time, your emotions will subside and your intellect will take over. The reasonable part of your brain will step in and you’ll be able to absorb the feedback objectively.
- Revisit the critique with an open mind. Try to treat your own writing as if it were not yours at all. As you review it, ask yourself how the suggestions provided can be applied and envision how they will make your work better.
- Figure out what is objective and what is personal in the critique. Critics are human. Some of their findings may be technical, mistakes that you should definitely fix. Other findings will be highly subjective (this character is unlikable, this dialogue is unclear, etc.). You may have to make judgment calls to determine where the critic is inserting his or her personal tastes.
- Decide what you’ll use and what you’ll discard. Remember that the critic is not in your head and may not see the big picture of your project.
- Thank the critic. After all, he or she took the time to help you, and even if you didn’t like what they had to say or how they said it–even if the critique itself was weak–just be gracious, say thanks, and move on.
- Revise. Now you can take the feedback you’ve received and apply it to your work. Edit and tweak the project based on the suggestions that you think will best benefit the piece.
- Long-term applications: you can apply the feedback to future projects too. Take what you learned from this critique and use it when you’re working on your next project. In this way, your writing (not just a single project) will consistently improve.

In some cases, you may not have any control over who critiques your work. If it’s published, then anyone can assess it. If you’re taking a class or workshop, then peer-to-peer critiques may be required. In cases like these, it’s essential that you keep a cool head. Even if someone is unnecessarily harsh or rude in their (uninvited) delivery, respond tactfully and diplomatically.

If you can obtain useful critiques and apply the feedback to your work, your writing will dramatically improve. Critiques are one of the most effective and fastest tracks to making your writing better. But they won’t help you one bit if you can’t accept them graciously.

Good luck with your critiques, and keep writing.

Connect with Maggie

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Posted: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 9:04:16 AM
Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 11/10/2013
Posts: 180
Location: Sinning
Lisa wrote:
Thanks to Alan for the following link. It contains some helpful suggestions on how to go about critiquing the work of others.


If anyone has any other tips to add, please feel free to post them here. icon_smile

Oh this is helpful.

Her courage was her crown and she wore it like a queen -Atticus
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