Today’s episode is part two in our series, An Insider’s Guide to Critique Groups and we’re talking about techniques you can use to give helpful critique to your fellow writers.
Giving critique that is helpful and direct is something you have to practice. Whether you’re working with one critique partner or with a group of writers, or beta-reading a manuscript, these five steps will help you give meaningful feedback. Let’s dive in!
5 steps for giving critique
- Once you’ve finished the piece you’re supposed to critique, take some time to think about what you just read. Ask yourself the following questions: Was there any moment where you were pulled out of the story? Was the character compelling? Does the piece hit all the major landmarks (i.e., inciting incident, developing conflict, crisis, climax)? Does the character change?
- Start with a compliment and end with a compliment. Find at least one nice thing to say at the beginning and at the end of your critique. If you’re having trouble finding something nice to say, get really specific.
- Ask questions. This shows the author you are engaged. Your questions will help the author clarify elements for the reader.
- Offer suggestions for change. If you think something doesn’t work, give the author suggestions for how they could make it better. Be proactive.
- Remember, the ultimate goal is to make the piece better. You and the author are working together and on the same team. This is a partnership, not an adversarial face-off.
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.