Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Critiques Are Important

After writing, revising, and polishing your work-in-progress, you lose your ability to see it with fresh eyes. Putting on your thinking cap no longer helps. At that point, you need feedback from someone else. A good critiquer or beta reader can help make your story the best it can be by pointing out things like:
  • Places that need more clarification
  • Places where you've overexplained instead of trusting the reader to get it
  • Problems with pacing
  • Failure to maintain tension in a scene
  • Passages where your voice shines through (so you can deliberately add more of these)
  • Telling vs. showing
  • Choppy transitions
  • Questions about character motivation and whether their actions fit the situation

Chris Eboch's critique of my novel opening is up on her blog, Write Like a Pro!  Chris is the author of the Haunted series--delightfully spooky paranormal novels for middle grade readers. Check out her thoughtful comments. You can also submit the first 300 words of your own novel to Chris to win a free critique.

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on


Anonymous said...

"you lose your ability to see it with fresh eyes"

That is definitely my problem. I can read something and think something else is there that I meant to be there and find out it's not. And I don't mean a word or punctuation--it's usually something major! Love my critique group!

anna said...

I agree - critiques are just invaluable. Still, I wish there was a kind of equivalent for writers of coffee beans for perfume shoppers - something to let us start afresh when looking at our work!

Ruth Donnelly said...

Catherine--I know what you mean. You've thought about it so many times it makes sense to you... but maybe not to an unfamiliar reader.

Anna--coffee beans? I've never heard of that! I guess it's like wine tasters cleansing their palate with plain bread and water. Cool analogy!