Jun 3, 2011

Dealing with critiques

Hilary Smith recently posted a great tip article on how to make the most of the notes someone who critiques your work gives you. I wish I knew some of this stuff before! I've been critiqued loads of times before, in my creative writing classes, at my writer's group, reviews of some of my derivative works, from friends, from profs or GSI where are willing to help me out...I just realized that's a pretty decent list.  Well, we can't get somewhere on our own right? And I'm sure it'll grow larger before I'm published.

But, regardless, it's good advice.  Especially the mulling things over part. For two reasons.  One, I want the people I critique to do that because looking back I tend to critique pretty harshly (I fail to mention all the positive aspects I should).  Two, because I never do that XD

I haven't really had much time.  For my writing group, I take the comments I get, polish up the 6-8 pages I read for the group, and then write another section for the next group.  For my classes, I took all my notes (which were a lot more extensive and in depth, but we did spend 3x the amount of time on a story in class than in the group) and had two weeks to edit it and turn it in.  So I usually just look at notes, fix up my story/story part, and then continue on.

Which probably isn't the best way to go about things :/ As I'm sure it results in little things getting corrected, but not big things.

That being said, I have yet to apply this process to a novel length work.  (Though I did try.  I had 50K, sent it to a beta reader, but was really slow at editing and she only sent me the first two chapters :/ That was a failed adventure.)  I don't know if the process is that much different for short stories or novels, but I'm sure the time commitment is a lot more for a novel. And there'll be more mistakes, simply because there's the room for it.

As I'm always interested in what works for others to get some pointers from the fabulous people around me, how do you guys deal with the critiques you get? Does it depend on who gave it to you?


  1. Very helpful article - thank you. Particularly the bit about changing the character's reaction in a boring scene. Mx

  2. That is a really helpful article. The advice to read through your whole manuscript is really good advice, especially after a lot of chopping and changing!