“ As for their critiques–they have saved me from overwriting, underwriting, and no writing. They have encouraged me and instilled courage in me when I needed it. Stopped me from making a fool ofmyself with editors. Theycan be ruthless with their criticisms and yet couch it in the terms of love.”
As a writer, I have learned not only from being critiqued, but from critiquing others. I have had the opportunity to critique with different sorts of writers including non-fiction, adult thrillers, romance, poetry, picture books, sci-fi/fantasy, graphic novels and I have learned different, unexpected things from each. Writers learn by engaging in the active process of critiquing.
Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto (Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins) The experience of writing a novel is like reading your favorite book 100 times in a row. - You memorize parts of the book - You skip words and stop reading critically - You forget which passages are still in the manuscript and which ones you've deleted - The surprises stop being surprising - The jokes stop being funny Put simply, your brain becomes mush!!
Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets (Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins) The same thing happened!!
Everyone needs to work hard at helping everyone else. Stress that critiquing is not a personal attack; Rather, it must always remain constructive. And, it's something even the most veteran writers do! Author 'First Page' Critiques 1. Get a panel of 'experts' in the room. 2.Have a neutral reader read the first page of a story aloud. 3. It is important the writer is anonymous. 4. Have the panel respond with a "compliment sandwich." - compliment - constructive suggestion - compliment