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When critiquing a peer's work:
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."
Explain why changes need to be made, why lines need to be cut out, why parts are confusing.
On the other hand, critiques are not for blind flattery as well. Some may approach a critique channel with a desire to just receive pointless flattery. However, the majority are here to improve.
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!"
Try: "The main character's dialogue was great. However, it's important to make sure that the side characters have just as distinctive of a voice."
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 aren't dead, just distant to the character?" so that it is constructive!)
Instead of saying: "You make a lot of grammar mistakes."
Try: "This excerpt has lots of grammar mistakes."
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."
Try: "I think the last scene needs more description."
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 find fun in critiquing something you absolutely abhor reading.
If you must make comments on their word choice, instead of pulling every single faulty error out, select a few examples and make a general comment, such as:
"The body language in this piece tends to be expressed by lots of basic facial expressions, like frowns, smiles, scowls. I think it would be better if there was some variety, such as replacing an occasional smile with "lips curved upwards" or scowls with "clenched jaws", and so on, so forth."
she/her | Cybersecurity Professional | Writer | Sharing what I learn to help others :)
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