by Adam Huddleston
Although it’s (regrettably) been some time since I’ve met with them, I’m a part of a writers group that gets together to read and critique each other’s work. It is extremely beneficial to gain both positive and negative feedback concerning the craft that you’re working so hard on improving. Recently, one of the members asked me to critique a few pages of her writing and it got me to thinking: What would be considered good etiquette when it comes to this process.
- Always be truthful. It may sound like something you would teach a child but it still rings true to the critiquing process. The writer may be your closest friend and confidant, but you won’t be doing them any good by lying about what you feel could be improved upon.
- Try to include positive reinforcement with the negative. Tell the writer what they are doing right, what you enjoyed, and how it makes you feel.This will go a long way toward encouraging them and making their work stronger.
- Make sure your advice is clear. Plainly state what you don’t understand and if you are critiquing by hand, make your notes legible. Insertion arrows, punctuation changes, and paragraph signs should be easy to see.
This list is far from exhaustive. Hopefully it will help you if you find yourself facing the rather enjoyable task of helping another writer with their work.