Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Your Role in a Critique Group – Part 1 – Critiquing Others

It’s easy in a critique group to sit back and let everyone else do the work, but the truth is, it doesn’t work that way. If you want someone to give you a critique you can work with, you need to be a present, contributing member. You should put just as much effort into their critique as you would want them to put into yours.

Here are some helpful suggestions:

1)      Let the author know if you usually don’t read their genre. This will help the reader differentiate which parts of your critique are helpful for them.
2)      Give feedback that can help the story grow. Saying that you disliked the story doesn’t help anyone. Why did you dislike it, specifically. What parts worked for you?
3)      Don’t be afraid to say what you like. Praise is not a bad word, as long as it’s genuine. We’ve all been critiqued, and telling the person what their doing right can be just as helpful as telling them what they’re doing wrong.
4)      You’re critiquing the manuscript, not the author. Don’t criticize the author, not only is that unhelpful, it’s also very rude.
5)      Lastly, follow the golden rule, critique others as you wish to be critiqued. What is helpful to you as a writer? What is unhelpful? If you figure that out, you’ll make a great critique partner.

Tomorrow; Your Role in a Critique Group – Part 2 – What to look for in someone else’s work.


  1. Great post Demitria! The things you listed will also help people be a good beta reader. I'm working on a post - called What You Should Know About Beta-ing (Part 2 - mind if I include this link?


    Becky (www.whatsyourthoughtonthat.blogspot.com)

  2. I totally agree with your post - especially with the point about criticizing the manuscript not the author. If your critique is intended as constructive any remarks ad persona are the last thing you should do. I am looking forward to part two!

  3. Becky, sure you can post a link...I'm following your blog now btw.

    Colene & Anachronist, thanks...hope this helps some people save a bit of time when they're doing research on writing, editing, and critique groups.

  4. Tell me where to send my most recent revised query. I'd love your opinion!

  5. I totally agree! I tend to follow the praise-criticism-praise model—sandwiching constructive criticism between pointing out the bits that really worked for me.

  6. This is wonderful! I'm hoping to find a crit group that will be so helpful. I love editing other people's work and want to find others like that. Will have to keep these rules handy!

  7. Excellent post Demitria and thanks for being a new follower on my blog:) The role of critique groups is so powerful, but of course as you mention. . .it takes honesty to make it work.

  8. Great list and great advice! I hope I can be a good CP one day, and this is very helpful :)