Thinking Thursday: How to Critique

So you written a story and would like a fresh pair of eyes… in exchange for you doing the same.

ideasBUT how do you critique a story?

While there is no Do THIS and DO THAT instructions, I have found people give the same advice and this is what I tend to do when critiquing a picture book manuscript:

  1. Read the story through twice
  2. Put it down for a day
  3. Read story out loud, while making notes
  4. Read again to myself, while making additional notes (if any)

What notes do I make you may ask?

  • flow pattern
  • pov shift
  • grammer
  • spelling
  • suggestions on how to improve
  • comments on what I think (love this line, etc)
  • add or delete word(s) or phrase
  • anything I think will help improve the manuscript

How do I format my critique? I like to think of  it as a sandwich. You get two pieces of bread and then the good stuff in the middle.
The first piece of bread is me giving some basic instructions and an overall feel of the story. *I make a point to stay positive. FIND something you like*
The middle is where I include my notes, suggestions, and comments. *This is the meaty part. Yes, there will be constructive criticism here, but you are wanting it to get better. VERY rarely will you run across something that is absolutely ready with nothing to comment on*
The last piece of bread is where I go into  my overall comments of the story. I may also comment about marketing, submitting possibilities, and other things that may pop into my head.

Critiquing is like writing though. You get better with practice. BUT even someone who is new can see things that others may overlook. The best thing is to take the plunge, jump in feet first, and enjoy the water.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know if you have some other great tips when critiquing.
ALSO… I offer a critique service for non-rhyming pbs. You can click on the tab at the top of this post to read what my fees are and how to contact me.

 

DON’T FORGET:

SUMMER SPARKS Writing Challenge sign-up is still on going. Click HERE to comment on the correct blog post to be eligible to win some great swag!

Happy writing!
~t

 

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2 thoughts on “Thinking Thursday: How to Critique

  1. Tracey: Just now noting and reading this post from earlier this summer. This post is very helpful. I feel as if I am growing and learning when I share my pb ms with my critique group and additionally I acquire new knowledge when I critique my writerly friends’ work. Initially, I did not want to offend anyone and was somewhat uncertain, reminding everyone that I was not an expert and was growing and learning along with them. A critique should offer construction criticism for revisions and editing that makes the story the best it can be, ~Suzy Leopold

  2. Suzy, I felt the same way. I still do at times. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning and growing, which is aggravating and rewarding in the same breath. I’m glad you liked it.

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