Critique Tips

Before offering/receiving a critique, here are a few guidelines I try to keep in mind.

Photo Credit: Flickr by tsuacctnt

Photo Credit: Flickr by tsuacctnt

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.

Click here to see an article from The Search Guru with critique tips.

12 thoughts on “Critique Tips

  1. Dear Elsie,
    Great Post. I personally want to extend positivity in my comment. In all honesty if I read material that I might not care for, I will still provide the Author with a positive for their was a driving force for them to compose the material. I would then indicate that “For me” and give my 2 cents, my honest opinion. I could and would never just leave a negative comment. I believe Authors are entitled to be respected for their art whether I agree or disagree.
    Your Friend,


  2. thank you for that. I belong to a writers group and sometimes it is difficult to express what I want to say but more importantly for me the info about making distinctions in the stage I am up to in my writing which I can then convey to those critiqueing me ..
    and how about this I have a daughter called elsie not many of them have we come across.


  3. Critiques have been extremely important in the writing group I’m a part of on FB, to the point that we now have an anthology that requires all submissions go through a critique process. I did find a story today that I could not find anything positive to say without feeling trite or insincere, so I chose instead to not comment… it’s a very rare occurrence, but it does happen. Great tips!

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan, participating in Blogging A-Z April Challenge.


  4. Pingback: Writing Critique with Manuscript Critique Services Group - #K8chat Thursday 4/24 at 9pm EDT! -

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