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I blog, I LOVE it when people comment, it gives me some validation as well as feedback as a writer. The question is, what type of feedback should I be looking for? Are comments on a blog truly the validation I need or are they just the fun candy of blogging? In Pep Talks for Writers, Grant Faulkner leads us to understand what type of feedback we should seek, and from whom to seek it.
Critique is a part of writing. It shows us what we did right, and what needs tweaking. A good reader can point out how we can improve our writer whether it be a weakness in a character, or a line of poetry that just doesn’t read right, a fatal flaw in a story sequence, or an explanation that makes no sense. Critique also shows the good in a piece, such as excellent pacing, a good battle scene, humour at just the right moment, great explanation or an intriguing character. Sometimes, a readers enjoyment of a character can make that character take on a greater role. Those who critique help shape the work we do, either while we are still in the writing stage, or when we reached the editing stage.
Some questions to ask when submitting a work for oversight. This is not an exhaustive list, and it would change depending on the work being critiqued. You definitely don’t need to ask all of these questions either.
- What is working well and what is not. Why?
- What would you cut?
- What needs to have more added? Why?
- If you had written this, what would you edit?
- Is anything confusing?
- Is the work balanced?
- Any word changes that need to be made?
- Adjustments to subplots needed?
- Does it read well?
- What expectations were you left with?
Where to find Readers to Critique
- Writer’s Guild
- Fellow authors
- Professional reviewers
- Professional editors
- Writing workshops
- Beta Readers who are members of your target audience
Don’t choose people who are close friends or family. It’s too easy for them to love everything that you write, and harder for them to say “this needs to be changed”. You want that impartial reader, who is reliable, who will honestly tell you the good and bad of your book.