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Thread: How to give a good/helpful critique?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    1

    How to give a good/helpful critique?

    I'm very bad at critiquing stories, and my sister wants me to read and review her stories still. Do you have any tips on what to generally look for in a story that needs fixing? Or any advice at all? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    3,818
    I think find something positive to say, then any helpful suggestions can be somewhat neutralised. If she's actually asked for your opinion, you have a licence to give it .... but gently.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    118
    I think you might be able to get some more specific advice from a forum/website that treats about story-writing rather than a painting oriented forum (just saying, in case you don't get an answer that satisfies you!).

    It might depend what sort of advice she is looking for - is it about the plot? the characters' depth? the grammar/style of writing? the structure of the whole piece? it's balance? whether it's targeted at a correct audience or targeted correctly if she has an audience in mind?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1
    I love to write also and I personally hated asking family and friends to read my stories because I found their opinions almost useless. While they were great in telling me about the good parts, they'd hold back on the worst of it and collectively they almost always summed it up with some variation of 'Oh, that was a really good story!'. They made it seem like my stories were ready for publishing, which I knew wasn't true, so I went online and found several critiquing communities. My the favorite is a site called the Critique Circle. It's free to join and participate. To post a story, you first have to critique the submissions of 3 or 4 other people (you receive points for each critique and the value of the critique is based on the story length). They give you helpful tips on how to politely critique others and you can even go back and read critiques others have given. You should tell you sister about it. Even critiquing others helped me improve immensely and I'm sure it will help you sister too.

  5. #5
    I'm a writer, too. And so's my older sister.
    Whenever I ask her to read my stories, I also ask her to critique them, so I might be able to help with what your sister would want to hear.
    Personally, I get offended really easily when it comes to my writings.
    So, when I ask her what she thinks and what she would recommend, I don't really want her to tell me what's wrong with it as she reads, I want to print it out and have her read it all the way through first, and then come to me with critiques.
    If she tells me what's wrong, then I feel discouraged. Try telling your sister what you like about it first. That way, you can build up the story first, saying how wonderful it is before you begin the criticism.

    Sorry if all of that was needless rambling. I just know that I'd want my sister to build up my stories.
    And, I know that, for me, criticism from my sister is pretty harsh since I look up to her and... ... want to be just like her... so I'll be joining an online program called Critique Circle (IT'S FREE!!!!). My sister's on it, and although the critiques can sometimes be harsh, I go over them with her and she'll go over them with me so that neither of our writing 'spirits' are dented.

    I really hope I helped.
    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    66
    Many years ago I learned to use the positive-negative-positive approach.

    Start off with stuff you like. Then point out stuff that could do with some fixing. Then you go back to stuff you like.
    Most people respond very well to this type of critique, because then it's not all negative. Actually you end up feeling it's more positive, because you start and end the way you do.

    Break it up into different sections, if it's a longer story. Look at every problem in the storyline, and go about the problems as described above.
    Round it all off saying some thing like; It's comming along very nicely.

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