Before offering/receiving a critique, here are a few guidelines I try to keep in mind.
Every writer is a human being with feelings. Start the critique with positive observations. When a writer shares their work, it requires a level of vulnerability most people would avoid. Respect their efforts.
Writing requires time, effort, and talent. And while the amounts of each of those vary by individual, the end goal is similar—a book, poem, or story worth reading. Flagged items in your manuscript are opportunities for improvement. Treat them that way.
Be clear when describing what type of feedback you want. If you’re in the draft stages, you probably don’t need a line edit. I understand now that there are stages of editing, just like there are stages of writing. Why slip on your veil if the wedding isn’t until next month?
Be honest. I said start with a positive. I never said lie. You’ve been asked to critique their work because they want to improve. Help them.
Have more than one critique partner and understand what each offers. Does one have an eye for plot holes while the other practically smells dangling participles? Does one’s voice soften the harsh realities of the second? You need the cheerleaders and the ass kickers. But better yet, the ass-kicking cheerleaders.
Giving and getting critiques are important parts of the journey.
I wrote a short blog about critique partners in December. https://elsieelmore.com/2013/12/06/dont-go-it-alone/
Click here to see an article from The Search Guru with critique tips.