By k | February 20, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Yesterday, two writers asked me
to critique their short stories.

Giving a good critique is tough.
(And I must be okay at it
because the stories I critique get published
and the writers return for more critiques).
The writer usually knows
there is something not working
with the story.
That’s why she wants a critique.
She also believes in the story
enough to save it
(otherwise it would go into the trash bin).

So the feedback has to be critical
yet not destroy her faith in the work
(it is challenging to sell a work
you don’t believe in).

In a critique,
I first tell the writer everything that
I love about the story.
This outlines what doesn’t need changing.
It tells her that “Yes, the story is worth saving.”

Then I tell her
what I believe could be added
to make it stronger.
I’ll say something like
“As a reader, I expected…”
or
“As a reader, I wanted to see more of…”
or
“I didn’t expect the heroine to do…”
or
“Is that the ending you TRULY wanted to write?”

I don’t provide solutions.
Solutions belong to the writer
(it is HER story,
and she has to retain ownership of it).
I point out problems.

It is the opposite of what a project manager would do
but then…
I’m NOT in the project manager role,
I’m giving a critique.

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