To Critique or Not to Critique…

Being Critiqued

Deciding whether or not to have your work critiqued is a tricky thing. My advice is to not rush into critiquing if you’re not ready to hear that your work could benefit from changes or that you’ve made some mistakes. From my perspective the number one rule is don’t ask for your work to be critiqued simply because you wish to hear someone tell you how good it is. More often than not that road leads to disappointment.

Ask for a critique because you’re at that stage in your writing where you’re ready for not only constructive criticism, but an acknowledgement of what you are doing right.

Listen to what your Critique Partner has to say. Don’t take offense and justify what you’ve done. Refrain from arguing. Sure, have a friendly, lively discussion, (my CP and I go at it with a fine tooth comb and that’s the way we both like it) just don’t adopt the attitude that you’re right your CP is wrong. Remember, you asked them to check for faults/ways to improve your ms. You don’t have to agree with everything your CP proposes, but do consider they may have a point. The final decision always rests with you.

Certainly don’t be afraid to explain your reasons for writing a particular scene/character the way you have. The problem is, you know what your characters mean, what their motivation is. If your CP has a problem with it, it may be that some crucial point is missing or that you have not clearly explained the driving force behind their actions.

It may transpire that while you’re clarifying, the simple act of discussing that scene will bring to light something you have not included. Or your CP may have a suggestion or two that will keep your idea and make it more apparent to the reader – or inspire one in you.  If your CP found it a stumbling block in your story there may be something to their criticism.

If you don’t understand your CP’s point ask politely for clarification.


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