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WRITERVANA

How to Give a Good Critique

How to Give a Good Critique

writervana.com

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Overview

When critiquing a peer's work:

  1. Understand That Critiques are for Improvement
  2. Start With Something Good & Relate It
  3. Remove Personal Remarks
  4. Reflect Your Own Thoughts
  5. Don't Critique Something you Dislike
  6. Avoid Critiques of Word Choice
  7. Have ...

Understand That Critiques are for Improvement

Instead of saying: "This is confusing."

Try: "I don't understand how your character got from Point A to Point B. It will probably be better if you elaborate on how they got there in the story, so it's clearer for your readers."

Expla...

Start With Something Good & Relate It

Instead of saying: "The main character's dialogue was good, but the side characters all sound the same." or "The main character's dialogue was good, but the side characters all sound the same. But you did a really great job on the main character's voice!"

T...

Remove Personal Remarks

Instead of saying: "You lack creativity."

Try: "The plot about the character's parents being dead is an overused trope." (and then, of course, adding ways that this person can change that, such as, "How about changing it so that their parents a...

Reflect Your Own Thoughts

Instead of saying: "No one is going to understand why your main character ran away."

Try: "I don't understand why your main character ran away."

Instead of saying: "The last scene needs more description."

Don't Critique Something you Dislike

Every critique is an opinion, but it's also important to make your critiques objective, when it comes to letting your personal enjoyment of a genre, or liking of the writer themselves, factor into your criticism. Furthermore, it's also nice to enjoy the critique process as well. It's difficult to...

Avoid Critiques of Word Choice

  • Unless the author has specifically asked for it, don't get hung up over word choice or line edits.
  • Sticking to the bigger picture is the best choice.

If you must make comments on their word choice, instead of pulling every single faulty error out, select a few examples a...

General Questions to Think About : Language & Plot

Language

  • Was the piece easy to read and/or understandable?
  • How was the flow of the writing style overall?
  • Were the sentences too long or short?
  • Were words used correctly?
  • Were some words, punctuation, and/or syntax patterns overused?
  • Were ...

General Questions to Think About : Characters & Overall

Characters

  • Did the characters act realistically in the situations that they were in?
  • Did they have distinct personalities and/or voices?
  • Was the POV for the story consistent?
  • How well-written was the dialogue?
  • Can you sympathize and/or empathize w...

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created 3 ideas

Constructive criticism assumes that the person giving it has chosen to talk about it because it wants to help the other in reaching the good or help to progress.

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