Friday, June 5, 2015
Your Own Personal Critic
~ Have your critic read the manuscript with a pen in hand and write his or her views in the margins. Don’t expect the critic to censor himself, but simply write down whatever comes to mind.
~ The most useful feedback is what doesn’t work for the reader.
~Tell your critic not to worry about hurting your feelings. You want candor, not kindness.
~ You’re not asking for solutions because repairing what’s wrong is your responsibility.
~ However, if your critic has ideas about how you can handle something differently, you should be receptive to suggestions.
~Ask that your critic note her emotional responses to the story, both positive and negative.
~ Ask that notations be made if a passage is boring. All your critic has to write in the margin is “Ho, hum,” or if confused, “Huh?”
~Did your reader skip parts or an entire scene? Have him note it in the margin.
~Did anything in the story contradict itself or seem inconsistent?
~Were any of your characters or events unbelievable?
~ Were there any factual errors?
~ Ask that any words or punctuation marks be circled that don’t quite ring true.
And because criticism is much easier to give than take, ask that your critic write you a letter that points out and explains the most important observations and overall responses to your story. When you receive your marked-up manuscript, give yourself at least a week to absorb the comments. Then, if you feel like screaming, hopefully no one will hear you.