Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Being a Responsible Crit Partner--Are you Experienced?

I have been critiqued a little (Hi, Mary!) and have done a little critiquing, but all of us are kinda new to the whole process, so I have some questions of those of you who are more experienced with this whole procedure. 

When ya'll are reading each other's stuff, how much editing do you do vs. big picture critiquing?  I have found it extremely helpful to have my CP (Hi, Mary!) pick out all the little style and grammar things that might seem okay to me because I tend to write like I talk, but are really not correct. And then, of course, she tells me if she gets where I am going with something, if my characters are sympathetic, if I have too many dead husbands, or if there is even a hint of emotional intensity in my work.  And of course, we are both on the look out for instances of purple prose.  eeeuuuw.  Keep your Throbbing Love Muscle away from my Garden of Earthly Deights. 

I'm asking because I critiqued a few chapters for a friend last night, sent them back with my comments, and haven't heard back from her.  Maybe she's sick. Maybe she's on vacation.  Hopefully she's not diving off the roof because she thinks I think her work sucks, because I really don't (and I'm pretty sure I'm not that powerful), I actually thought it was great...but I did suggest alot of little word changes. 

You'd think that someone who spends so much time blathering on the internet wouldn't be so worried about how my opinion might come across, but I'm almost as messed up worrying about her response to my response as I would be if I had to stand up and read my NaNo project right now, outloud in front of a whole RWA convention. In my underwear. 

Anyway.  Are there guidelines for this sort of thing?   I know that the whole "trying to be nice because I like you thing" is something I have to get over, but how do you know when enough is enough?


  1. Hey Teri Anne,

    You may not have a lot of critiquing experience, but I've always appreciated your input on the stuff I've sent you. Maybe your friend is just digesting your comments and is working on some changes to see what you think. Or maybe she's just busy today.

    I think it's important to be honest when you look over someone's work, but I think it's also important to be gentle with your criticisms. There can be a right way and a wrong way to get the same point across.

    I'm interested to see what people say because I'm new the writing scene myself. And I don't want to be a lousy CP! ; )

  2. well I normally ask what kind of crit they are looking for b4 i go ahead and do it, it also helps if you guys really get to know each other that way they already know you are goofing around when you say something snarky like i am wont to do during crits.

  3. I've had no experience of this, so please take this with a pinch of salt!

    I'd have thought that what you did was exactly the sort of critique someone would want. Obviously, I haven't seen what you said, but you don't strike me as the sort who'd say "Sheesh, woman, this is a pile of poo, what were you thinking?"

    I could be wrong :p

    If you'd discussed it previously, as to what level of critique was desired, and you followed that then I'd have thought you were simply worrying too much.

    But I'd be the same... which is why I should probably never venture into this!

    The advice above sounds spot on to me... and they said it better, so I'll go now!

    Hope it all turns out well :)