Disclaimer: What I’ve come to understand over the course of my writer’s journey is when it comes to critiquing another writer’s work, there is no magical one size fits all formula, nor anything new.
Then why, you might ask and yes you may, read yet another article on the subject? Simple. In helping others, we help ourselves. Giving thoughtful feedback can help a writer’s growth while further strengthening our own writing skills.
To Begin: Start by first printing out a hard copy. Refrain from marking or commenting until you’ve given all pages a thorough, thoughtful read through.
Ask yourself questions. Did the story’s narrative draw you in? Are the characters interesting, compelling? Is the dialogue realistic? Yes. No. If you find yourself not connecting with the material, read it again.
Words Matter: Constructive feedback should strive to convey honesty yet maintain a positive tone throughout. Keeping in mind the overall goal is to encourage not discourage. Provide feedback that is helpful and guides the writer into critical thinking while enhancing strengths.
Less is More: Avoid overwhelming the writer with too much feedback. Focus instead on key areas where the story can be improved upon and polished for the next draft. Unless asked to proofread, don’t nit-pick at every spelling, punctuation, and grammatical error.
Do No Harm: Imagine this is you. How once upon a time an overly critical critique affected your psyche? Yeah. Really sucked. Which is why as writers we all should strive to provide feedback that motivates fellow writers to keep on writing while continuing to hone their craft. And finally, be an encourager. The world already has more than enough critics.
About the Author:
A.M. Wells writes contemporary womens fiction with romantic elements. She is also on RWF’s board, as Treasurer.
Her story ideas are inspired from a life of observation and inspiration, but mainly flow from an overactive imagination. Susanna’s Heart, a novella, was her first published work released in 2010 with Red Rose Publishing. A few years ago, she took the plunge into Indy publishing. In addition to writing A.M. is an artist, web designer, and graphic artist.
You can find her website at www.amwells.net.