I remember the first time I met for a critiquing session with a fellow novelist, a long time ago it seems now and before the novelist critique group became what it later developed into. I met with a writer I knew was experienced in critiquing and I felt slightly apprehensive. I even Googled what I needed to look out for and what critiquing entailed. Funny to think now how I offer that service professionally. I have attained my MA since of course and worked with so many writers!
Looking closely and analytically at someone’s work is a skill you also need to refine and develop. I am quite certain working with other writers helped me to be a better writer and as I have said here before you have to know it and I mean know it well to teach it. I also read many books on writing and editing as well and this helped. It’s now part of what I do and the part of the editing business I love the most.
I think there are different components to critiquing and I will include on here some notes I’ve made for my writing group, after this evening’s session, that people might find useful.
Initially, it’s getting an overview of the work and then it’s getting down to the nitty-gritty of grammar and formatting. So in a group people will pick up on different things which is useful to a writer who then decides whether all of it needs to be addressed.
I think the lesson is to not be precious about the work, so precious that it stops you learning. Done well a critique is the most useful think you’ll have done and at some time in every writer’s life I think it’s worth considering.
So more on this tomorrow…
Welcome to Monday! Have a great week everyone!