Better Critiques


Better Critiques

By Rory C. Keel

 

Recently I re-examined a few rules on critiquing other writers’ works. Occasionally I have to do this because I tend to get caught up in the stories. There’s nothing better than someone reading a story to you, right?

First, when you give a critique, start with praise. The most fearful thing about having your work judged is the fear of mean spirited criticism. Find something that you like about the piece, whether it is the overall story idea, plot, character or phrase in the writing that touched a cord with you.

Second, examine the overall piece. Does it make sense? Will it fit within the stated genre or purpose for the writing? What is the plot or premise? Does it have a reasonable conclusion? Does it read smoothly? Does it show rather than tell?

Third, check the details. This is the time to check the facts, note any phrases that seem to be odd or out of place. Mark grammar, misspelled words and punctuation errors.

Finally, critique another writer’s work with respect. Have an attitude of helping them improve their skills, not tearing them down.

Follow these simple rules and you will give and get better critiques.

roryckeel.com

Better Critiques


Better Critiques

By Rory C. Keel

 

Recently I re-examined a few rules on critiquing other writers’ works. Occasionally I have to do this because I tend to get caught up in the stories. There’s nothing better than someone reading a story to you, right?

First, when you give a critique, start with praise. The most fearful thing about having your work judged is the fear of mean spirited criticism. Find something that you like about the piece, whether it is the overall story idea, plot, character or phrase in the writing that touched a cord with you.

Second, examine the overall piece. Does it make sense? Will it fit within the stated genre or purpose for the writing? What is the plot or premise? Does it have a reasonable conclusion? Does it read smoothly? Does it show rather than tell?

Third, check the details. This is the time to check the facts, note any phrases that seem to be odd or out of place. Mark grammar, misspelled words and punctuation errors.

Finally, critique another writer’s work with respect. Have an attitude of helping them improve their skills, not tearing them down.

Follow these simple rules and you will give and get better critiques.

roryckeel.com

First Chapters


First Chapters

Natalie Bright

 

First chapters are important for various reasons, with the main one being you want readers to keep reading. You get one chance to establish a connection through empathy for a character or a curiosity of what happens next. Hopefully you’ll hold the reader through that first chapter and then they can’t help but go on to the next.

For children’s writers, we’re talking a few lines. An elementary school librarian told me that her kids read the first 5 to 6 lines and then say, “I don’t like it.” That’s tough for authors.

NO Second Chances

If you’re new to writing and have chosen a more traditional route to publishing, you want your first chapter submission to electrify that agent or editor. You want them to choose your story over the slush pile of submissions they’ve been reading that week. If you’re a self-published author, you want readers to buy your future books as well. You want satisfied, happy readers because they rarely give you a second chance.

I spend lots of editing time on the first chapter. I read it a gazillion times, and take it to my critique group several times, and then send it out to other friends as well. That first chapter sets the tone and theme for your book. It’s a solemn promise and your guarantee of adventure!

Here’s Your checklist on First Chapters:

1)    Put a lot of thought into that first sentence.

2)    Establish the where and when. Don’t confuse your reader at the very beginning.

3)    First chapters may change once you’ve written THE END. Be prepared to keep rewriting, polishing again, and then some to clarify your theme.

4)    Don’t begin the story too early. Avoid too much background, start with the human voice, and action. RICHARD PECK

5)    Get ‘em by the shirt front and pull that reader into your book. Your job as the writer is to intrigue people. DUSTY RICHARDS

 

TAGS: first chapters, story craft, writers, children’s writers, first chapter list, editing

 

Better Critiques


Better Critiques

By Rory C. Keel

 

Recently I re-examined a few rules on critiquing other writers’ works. Occasionally I have to do this because I tend to get caught up in the stories. There’s nothing better than someone reading a story to you, right?

First, when you give a critique, start with praise. The most fearful thing about having your work judged is the fear of mean spirited criticism. Find something that you like about the piece, whether it is the overall story idea, plot, character or phrase in the writing that touched a cord with you.

Second, examine the overall piece. Does it make sense? Will it fit within the stated genre or purpose for the writing? What is the plot or premise? Does it have a reasonable conclusion? Does it read smoothly? Does it show rather than tell?

Third, check the details. This is the time to check the facts, note any phrases that seem to be odd or out of place. Mark grammar, misspelled words and punctuation errors.

Finally, critique another writer’s work with respect. Have an attitude of helping them improve their skills, not tearing them down.

Follow these simple rules and you will give and get better critiques.

roryckeel.com