Monday, April 6, 2015

How to LOVE critiques

First things first -- I LOVE my critique partners. They are awesomeness incarnate. They trudge through my WIPs with smiley faces, great suggestions, and most of all with a red pen!

SO if you're struggling to understand someone's red ink or comments, here's how I learned to appreciate critiques.

1. Realize you are receiving someone else's opinion.

A great quote to go along with that -- "No two persons ever read the same book." ~ Edmond Wilson. This might seem difficult, but really, it isn't. Take everything with a grain of salt or sugar! You are not required to follow everyone's advice. The story you're writing is, above all else, yours! That said, if three CPs say the same thing, it might need changing. :)

2. If you don't understand a comment, ask!

Don't be shy to chat with your CPs. They want to explain their suggestions, I promise. If something is making you scratch your head, send an email or call them up. Or if you're in a group with time limitations, ask if you can talk to them after all the critiques are finished.

3. Take a deep breath and realize you don't know everything.

This goes for everyone! Even if you've written three thousand books, you can still learn something new. Humility wins out over pride every time. Take a break from your WIP, whether it be a nap or a good night's sleep (or a month or two!) and look at it with fresh eyes. Then you might see what others are saying.

4. Be willing to revise. Or not...

I think all writers understand that we can revise and rewrite a story to death. And sometimes over-revising kills voice and originality.

5. Say, "Thank you!"

With or without the exclamation point. :) Saying thanks is not only good for you, but lets your CPs know that you truly appreciate the time they spent reading and critiquing your words.

6. Pay it forward.

Do your best when critiquing the words of others. And remember to sandwich! Compliment-> sage advice-> smiley face.

As always, thanks for reading! We love hearing from you! Share your wonderful ideas on critique partners or horror stories. :)


  1. Henry McLaughlinApril 7, 2015 at 7:05 AM

    Great suggestions, Diane! Thank you.

  2. Love this post Diane! I'm pretty partial to my critique group. :-) Great quote by Edmond Wilson. And this, "sometimes over-revising kills voice and originality." So true. Finding that balance is a real trick.

    1. Thanks, Rina! I love that quote by Edmond Wilson because it's so true. And we need invent a magical balance finder. ;)

  3. This is a great post and so important. You hit it on the head (as did Rina and Edmond) over-revising can kill voice. Also, the point about taking feedback with salt and sugar is great advice. I always do my best to give my best feedback on critique, but there are times I'll be reviewing my thoughts and think - what the heck was I talking about? This was great as it was!

    1. Thanks, Marlana! I always enjoy your feedback!!

  4. nice post..
    i love reading ur post

    Bookmarked ^^

    Judi Bola