The Art of Critiquing

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Dana Nuenighoff

If you’re a writer, you know that critiquing is one of the many important steps in the process. You don’t just sit there and write out the perfect novel in one go. It takes months, even years, to form a manuscript.

Your first draft is the block of marble. It took you a while to haul that block back to your studio, to get it set up. Inside it, you can see the masterpiece it’s going to be. But editing is how you create that work of art, and critiquing is your chisel, your tool.

ART21 art sculpture contemporary art art installation

Having a fresh pair of eyes reading your work helps to pick up on plot holes and grammar mistakes. Critiquers can point out when something doesn’t make sense even if, in your mind, it does. It’s not that your critique partners are trying to be mean. No, they want to help you…

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Writing Feedback, Critiques, and Criticism

JACKIE LEA SOMMERS

???????????????Writing feedback. I have a love/ hate/ love/ love/ hate/ appreciate/ dread relationship with it. I imagine most writers do.

Of course we dread it. Which artist wants to pour their heart and soul and energy into their creative work and then have someone tear it to pieces? Even though I know– a thousand times over– that my editor is on my team, I still have major moments of panic when I read her feedback.

Yet the love/appreciate part is very, very important. Without critique, my writing hits an early apex. I can’t push through to a higher, better, superior level of writing without the much-needed push from feedback.

This is what feedback looks like in my own life:

Writing group. Every month, I meet with three other novelists. Each of us are working on our own projects, and they’re all very different from one another. The week before we meet, we…

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