Part 4 Giving and Receiving Critiques: Respectful Behavior


Part 4 Giving and Receiving Critiques: Respectful Behavior

By Natalie Bright

The personality of your group can dictate the overall benefit you receive from participating. The members may be the most creative writers you know, but they may not be who you need critiquing your work. You may need a “brainstorming” group. You may need a group with several grammarians, who are experts in the rules of English. Or, you might consider a “genre” group, in which all members write mysteries, for example.

Your ideal group might be one beta reader or an online group with hundreds of members. The critiques you receive might be via email or a weekly face-to-face meeting. What do you want from a writers critique group? Identify your goals and share them with the group.

Essential Keys to a Successful Critique Group:

  • Leave your personal feelings at the door and listen with an open mind.
  • Don’t use up valuable time explaining away and defending your work. In reality, this would not be an option when reviewed by an editor or agent. Just listen.
  • Establish ground rules.
  • Critique the work, not the author
  • Be respectful of all work and individuals.
  • Share professional goals: critique with the idea of moving each participant closer to their goals.
  • Your work is not another writer’s work, and their work is not yours.

Happy writing!

Natalie Bright

4 thoughts on “Part 4 Giving and Receiving Critiques: Respectful Behavior

  1. Seven rules everyone should memorize.
    Too often I see people who can’t stand a critique arguing and defending their work without noticing how critiques are there to help.

    And, on the other hand, criticizing is an art with its own rules and techniques.

    Beautiful post, bookmarked!

    • There are so many times in our critique group that with giving their insight it becomes clear that I should have zigged when I zagged or vice versa. I also realize that my story and their voices had tried to keep steering me in the right direction if I had only listened. It isn’t until sharing at critique night that I understand how I continue to foolishly and stubbornly dig myself deeper down sacrificing the heart and soul of the story as I go. A dedicated and kindly critique group is priceless and truly saves us from ourselves.

  2. Finding the right critique group is very difficult. I’ve had bad experiences with them in the past. I am finding that I prefer a smaller group of fellow writers that I have gotten to know on a more personal level over a so-called “professional” writer’s group. It really is all a matter of personal preference though.

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