I met with fellow authors Dianne and Jonnie in the Park. A joy to be outside in October. They help with critiquing my work – as do I hopefully help them.
Luckily the weather is being kind. The backdrop of the Victorian bandstand, and over hanging oaks waiting to allow their clothes to fall slowly to the ground is something I love and hate at the same time. The colours can be rich, vibrant and intoxicating, but it means winter is on its way. Winter doesn’t usually mean the snowy pasts I remember. Deep drifts of white waiting to be turned into snowmen or lobbing snowballs at friends. Nowadays it is just wet, followed by frost, ice and more wet. Cold, always cold, but not Siberian cold, thank goodness. Just bad enough to want to hibernate
Today I wanted to bring along a piece I was getting stuck with on my second novel. However, I decided against it. I think I know what the problem is and need to work on in alone, first. Then I will ask opinion.
Critiquing is a skill. It must be delivered kindly, with thought, empathy and above all constructive. There is simply no point in being rude about anyone’s work. You may not initially think you are being rude but STOP and THINK before you say anything. Ask yourself how you may feel if the same words were delivered at your door. After all, they took time to write and were brave enough to present their work. It can only serve to destroy a person’s confidence. If you can’t offer a thoughtful, kind and constructive feedback, then don’t do it!
Imagine yourself being the recipient.
Think about from a readers point of view. Does it flow. Does it have action, and do the actions have consequence. That is life. Life is full of action and certainly full of consequence.
Do the characters feel real. How well does the writer know their characters. Is it clear.
Is there a point to the storyline. Is there an arc. Get the writer to talk more about what they want to know to help them see what adjustments, if any, can be made.
Use your critique partners in the same way. Be clear about what you are looking for.