Forum
Community Forum
Today's Posts
FAQ & Rules
Members List

Writing
Writing Forum
Recent Posts
Critique Guidelines

Groups
YWO Social Groups
Facebook
Myspace

Chat
 
YWA

Register

Store
Support YWO
YWO Merchandise
The Book Despository
Amazon.com (US)
Amazon.co.uk (UK)
Amazon.ca (Canada)

SBS Mag


Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 11-07-2007, 01:35 AM View Post #1 (Link) How to Critique
Andy (Offline)
Administrator
 
Andy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: At home
Posts: 2,478
Points: 32
Times Thanked: 99
Critiques are the most important part of this website. A critique is like a review. If you point out what you like and don't like in another person's work, that person will be able to fix any mistakes they made, and become better at writing.

And in return, that person will hopefully return the favor and help you improve your own writing.

The main purpose of critiques: To identify the weak points and give constructive advice in a way that will help improve both the writing and the author's ability to write.

There are right and wrong ways of writing a critique, and this guide will attempt to teach you all of them.


1. Don't Read Other Critiques Before You Write Yours

Before you even write your critique, DO NOT read any other critiques of the same piece. If you do, your critique will be biased. You'll likely end up pointing out the same things as the other critiquer, and what good are two critiques which are nearly identical? Not much. Your critique should be your observations and opinions, not someone else's.

As Shaun noted, it's okay if you point out or suggest the same things as another person, as long as you did it without being influenced. Don't go deleting stuff from your critique because someone else said something similar.

2. See What The Author Wants

Also noted by Shaun: Sometimes writers specify what they want in a critique. Maybe they only want help with descriptions, or maybe they want to know your thoughts on something in particular. If this happens, go ahead and follow their request. You'll save yourself work commenting on stuff they don't need, and it'll help them improve what they're focusing on.

3. Write Down Weak Points

If something sounded awkward, or if something doesn't look right, say so. Critiques are all about finding weak points in the writing. For example, you might say something like these:
You misspelled "receive" in this sentence.

Here, it says Bob was left-handed, but later he uses his right hand to write.

This sentence is a little confusing.

There's not much description here, so it's hard to visualize what's happenning.
4. Offer Suggestions About How To Improve the Weaknesses

Your critique will be even more helpful if you give suggestions on how the writer can fix a problem. It's also helpful if you give specific examples of how the author could change it. For example:
I think you should make this sentence shorter. Instead of saying "The letter was written by him and it took a long time," say "He wrote the letter slowly."

I think you should describe what is happenning in this paragraph more.

Can you tell me what this character is thinking? What she sees is very unusual for her, so there should be a reaction.
5. Give Praise When The Author Has Earned It. Don't Sugar-Coat

If the writer has written a beautiful description, or if a conversation is very well-thought-out, don't hesitate to say you loved it! Then the writer will know to do that more often.

At the same time, don't overpraise it. If you're giving praise every single paragraph, then it will seem like your praise is earned too easily, and it won't be taken as seriously.

"We all need to be told where we are very good as well as where we are very, very bad. We cannot grow, otherwise." - Pete Murphy


6. Be Polite

Critiques are tricky. You need to point out what you feel the writer did wrong, but in a way that doesn't anger or offend them. Remember that a lot of new writers aren't used to being criticized, and if you really hurt them, they might give up writing or leave.

Follow the green examples. Don't do the red:
I can't believe you actually bothered to post this rubbish.

This part is pathetic.

Throw this away and start over.


I think you could improve this part a little. Here's how...

Maybe instead of doing this, you could write ....

I love this part! Don't change it!
7. Do Not Give One-Line Critiques

These critiques will not help the author to fix flaws or improve at all. Would you be able to IMPROVE your own work if you got one of these?
This is the best story ever!!! Write more!

This is the worst poem ever! Yuck!

I thought this was okay. Could be better, but it's okay.
8. Conclusion

So there you go! Now you're ready to start critiquing! (Sorry, I can't think of anything else to conclude.)

If you're interested in learning how writing critiques can benefit YOU, read this thread:

The Benefits of GIVING Critiques
__________________

  
						Last edited by Andy; 07-15-2010 at 10:16 PM.
					
					Reply With Quote
Old 11-09-2007, 11:20 PM View Post #2 (Link)
Zuzy (Offline)
Idea Scribe
 
Zuzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 53
Points: 10
Times Thanked: 4
I have to applaud you for number one, it's something I strongly believe in. Go Andy!
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2007, 12:02 AM View Post #3 (Link)
Nyx (Offline)
Wordsmith
 
Nyx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,737
Points: 26
Times Thanked: 142
Nice guide. I read through once but I think I'll go back to it when I crit the next piece of work
__________________
PM for critiques and help? Yes, you may.
~~~~~~
Originally Posted by Diocletian View Post
What I don't like about this site is that there isn't enough social drama.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2007, 02:55 AM View Post #4 (Link)
Shaun (Offline)
Dead Person
 
Shaun's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Gainesville, FL
Posts: 5,691
Points: 11.33
Times Thanked: 142
You might also want to add that it is perfectly fine if you repeat what someone else said as long as it was from your perspective and not from having read what they wrote. That might seem obvious, but wanted to clarify. If you and Bob crit Jim's story, and both of you say "I think the character is too mean and needs more development", it's fine, as long as you wrote it having ignored Bob's crit .

Good stuff on here though .

Another point to take notice of:
Listen to the author. Sometimes authors ask for very specific things in a critique. Pay attention and give that to them.
__________________
The Viking Amoeba Army is here! Run for your lives!

Tumblr!

Read my published fiction and non-fiction!

And check out The World in the Satin Bag novel podcast. Help me become rich and donate!

My Random Stuff:
--The World in the Satin Bag: My science fiction, fantasy, and writing blog!
--Check out Cheese & Crackers Original and Cheese & Crackers Superheroes
--The Skiffy and Fanty Show
--Duke and Zink Do America (Political Podcast)

YWO Stuff:
--Buy Survival By Storytelling Magazine (Issue One is available!) Support fellow YWO writers!
--And don't forget to buy something from YWO's Zazzle Store!
--Follow YWO on Twitter.

Spoiler:
This is a call to arms, gather soldiers,
Time to go to war.
This is a battle song, brothers and sisters,
Time to go to war.
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2007, 03:09 AM View Post #5 (Link)
Andy (Offline)
Administrator
 
Andy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: At home
Posts: 2,478
Points: 32
Times Thanked: 99
Thanks, Shaun. I've added your suggestions to the guide.
__________________

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2008, 05:04 PM View Post #6 (Link)
Beautiful (Offline)
Abstract Thinker
 
Beautiful's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 19
Points: 10
Times Thanked: 1
I like thsi giude. I'm definatly going to Crit more.
__________________
Let me know if you would like me to Crit something!

"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2008, 08:25 AM View Post #7 (Link)
Beautiful (Offline)
Abstract Thinker
 
Beautiful's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 19
Points: 10
Times Thanked: 1
I got crited really badly. It may be my last day here.
__________________
Let me know if you would like me to Crit something!

"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2008, 08:41 AM View Post #8 (Link)
Rafael Domination (Offline)
Maker of Worlds
 
Rafael Domination's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: If I told you, I'd have to kill you.
Posts: 3,085
Points: 30
Times Thanked: 76
Where was this incident?
__________________
Permission to create a Pokemon Cookbook?

PLEASE? PRETTY PLEASE?

  Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2008, 02:40 PM View Post #9 (Link)
Litharukia (Offline)
Idea Scribe
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 52
Points: 9
Times Thanked: 0
I remember critiquing something, and I was extremely gushing about how good it was, simply because I couldn't find more than one or two flaws in it.

The writer felt so highly complimented-they were used to harsh, 900 word critiques which pointed out every little flaw-it was awesome. But I think you have to build up a reputation, at least with the specific writer, before you can gush over it.
  Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2008, 03:34 PM View Post #10 (Link)
Carraka (Offline)
Freelance Writer
 
Carraka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Little Montenegro, down on the Adriatic Sea.
Posts: 1,948
Points: 30
Times Thanked: 121
Even when I gush over something, I still have suggestions. I have yet to read something perfect, thank goodness. Otherwise, I'd quit and become an accountant.
__________________
Corkscrewed alienation, rocking red. A kill. Joys again.
-- Alex

My mother is a fish.
  Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools

 


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:43 PM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 - Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
All writing Copyright © its author(s). All other material Copyright © 2007-2012 Young Writers Online unless otherwise specified.
Managed by Andrew Kukwa (Andy) and Shaun Duke (Shaun) from The World in the Satin Bag. Design by HTWoRKS.