I want to talk about critiquing. I have never done it before and admit at first was quite daunted at critiquing another writer’s work. The dictionary defines it as ‘an act or art of criticising’, which is rather scary. I remember in a lecture at uni about teaching students you must consider the child’s feelings when marking work and be constructive in your comments. Provide useful information the student can learn from. I think the meaning of critique should include the word ‘constructive’. Soften the blow so to speak.
Since November I have been involved in critiquing. There’s only two of us and we meet once a week to discuss chapters we’ve critiqued. I have never done it before so did not know what to do or expect. It is hard to hear someone, a complete stranger, point out the weaknesses in what you’ve written. I was a bit tentative with how critical to be with their work but it’s getting easier. I have also learned a great deal from this person and that is to be more critical of my own work. She has opened up my eyes and forced me to look at what I have written more objectively. Very hard to do when you have spent years lovingly crafting a story you ultimately want published.
This process has been helpful in preparing me for the day when I am published and when the story under scrutiny. However, one will really never be ready for the sharp words of literary critics. I will let you know.