Saturday, July 30, 2016

Critques are not for Cowards

Irene Latham on left and Patricia Weaver on right. Writing buddies
We've all heard the phrase: "Parenting is not for Cowards." Well neither is critiquing.
Here are some tips whether you're giving or receiving.

For the Giver:
Give your reaction to the story not YOUR opinion.
Avoid saying things like this was weak. Instead give some constructive feedback like:
I'm having a hard time picturing this.
I'm confused by...
Also give some positive comments on what you thought the writer did really well.

For the receiver:
Find a group with like interests. Where do you find them? I suggest writing conferences or local writing groups. If there isn't one in your area, start one. SCBWI is a great organizations that puts writers and illustrators together.

Ask yourself if you are ready for this? You have written what you hope is a perfect story or article.
First put on your helmet and a shield wouldn't hurt either unless you have a thick skin.

What you need to remember when getting feedback is "Did I get my message across?" Listen for the responses.
Did your character show the expected reaction in this scene?
Was the character's action predictable or out of character? There can be a fine line here. You don't want to be too predictable.
Did it make sense?
What expectations did you want the reader to have? Did you accomplish this?
At what point did the reader lose interest?

Did you feel the urge to explain why the character did what he did when getting feedback? Don't say anything just make a note of it and revisit it later. If your not sure of some of the comments ask them to clarify.

For example I am taking Allyson Levitt's online picture book class, and in lesson two our assignment was to write a question and answer for our manuscript. If you have someone that can read your story, ask them what they think the question and answer is. Mine did not answer the question I was asking. Taking the feedback I was able to focus my story more where it needed to go.

So that leads me to the next tip: Be flexible. Perhaps your story is many layered, and you could break it down into more than one story. Yippee! Now you have another project to look forward too.

This was excerpted from the article by Steven James in the Writer's Digest September 2016 issue.

Tomorrow is the last day to enter for the July book giveaways. Leave a comment or use the Rafflecoptor to enter.

Next week the winners and August books will be announced. If you know of a good craft book, let me know. I do know that Janice Hardy has some coming out that I'm looking forward to reviewing soon.

See you next week!

1 comment:

Joyce Lansky said...

Good advice.

Thanks so much for Rita's book. Winning was a pleasant surprise!