STOP! You’re Helping My Writing to Death!

I have a hot and cold view of critiques.  Yes, they are helpful when you have the right people.  The issue that I think plagues us all is, who are those people?

I had someone actually ask if I meant a synonym of the word I used.  My answer was “Yes I did mean that.” If you don’t know what a word means Google it!  That sort of feedback isn’t useful.  Taking and changing a word every other sentence because you personally feel it sounds better doesn’t help.  After receiving my last round of critiques from an online group I am using only 1 of the 3.

So in my mind only 33% of critiques are useful unless you find a great group of people who have your best interests at hand.  Finding awkward sentences, missing details that make you question what is going on, adding a word or using one that might make a stronger impact, and even telling someone their character isn’t likeable.

The key is, tell the author what they did right too.  If you don’t like something, say why. Don’t re-write someone’s story purely because it wasn’t the way you would write it.

So my opinion is, if someone is going line by line and doing personal edits instead of subjective, perhaps you learn to thank them and move on.  Don’t let someone ruin your story!

For now I still hope to find others that like romance of any kind to form a new critique group.  Have you had any luck?

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6 thoughts on “STOP! You’re Helping My Writing to Death!

    • M. Ziegler says:

      Lucky!! I used to have two i thought I could trust and liked but one is now “too good” for us. The other woman is great – but she never tells me if I did something wrong. Ahhh learning curves.

  1. Kiersi says:

    I am a critiquer. I love critiquing–the right kind of author. It’s funny how both critique-givers and critique-askers need to screen each other. It takes a certain kind of person to be a good critiquer (the compliment sandwich, as you pointed out–it’s important to say what is good as well as what needs work) just like it takes a certain kind of person to be an author 😀

    • M. Ziegler says:

      I think the screening part is something my critique partners missed. They started letting anyone and everyone join to where at some point we had to disband for being useless. Now I am trying an online group and that is even more disastrous. I don’t mind critiquing at all, as long as the book falls into a genre I like. I can’t critique a political memoir any more then I could a medical journal. I don’t think a lot of people embrace the art of critique – granted there are some writers that miss the writing boat too. So subjective isn’t it.

  2. deborahbrasket says:

    I’ve had the same kinds of experiences with critiquers, and also with critiiquing–it’s hard to give a good critique unless you really like what they are doing and they are far enough in the writing process to warrent a line-by-line. But I agree, you have to give your honest opinions, and you have to be able to say what you like–what’s working for you–as well as what doesn’t work.

    • M. Ziegler says:

      I agree that it is so hard to critique if you don’t like a story-line or genre. But at the same time if you like the genre and the storyline just needs help a critique could point out what went wrong. I also don’t mind helping other writers grow, I mean heck I had to learn a few things along the way. It is harder with someone who thinks an adult novel is 24,000 words and never did a single edit might not warrant more then a few tips and tricks at the moment. Thanks for your input. At least I am not alone in my expectations.

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