You will probably wish you had kept your mouth shut the first time you offer your work up for critique by your romance critique group. That is just the nerves talking. When you peer into the faces, eager to hear your words, you’ll take a deep breath and begin reading with confidence.
Offering a Romance Writing Critique
Here, we will be discussing how to give a critique to another romance writer. Most people don’t like to receive any type of criticism so they are reluctant to give it. They tend to sugar coat it or stumble over their words depending on the body language of the person that they are talking to.
This is not the goal of a critique group. Here, all feedback must be totally honest or it is useless. Do you think that agents and editors will gloss over your manuscript faults? Surely not! They are out to make money and anything less than exemplary work is frowned upon.
A critique from a group of your romance writing peers is a prelude. If you get the help you need at this stage, hopefully you can avoid it at the other end. So, here are some tips for rendering a critique to another romance writer whether vis-à-vis or online.
- Read their manuscript thoroughly. Try to give it a first read when you receive it. Put it away for a day or so and then read it again. Write down anything that struck you as good, bad, off or spot on. Readers will work from the impression of their first read as to whether or not they want to keep reading or put the book away.
- If your group asks the writer to read a portion of their work aloud, listen closely to see if you get the same impressions that you did when you read it silently to yourself. If not, make not of the differences.
- Never get personal. The comments are not dependent on the writer’s personality (or lack of it) or their comments to you when your work was being examined. It is all about the honing the craft.
- Stick to the facts. If the paragraphs are too long, then say so. Use simple words that state what you mean and that’s all.
- Offer suggestions for improving the work. A good rule of thumb for critique groups is never introducing a problem unless you can also propose a possible solution. That way the writer is not left hanging, but has hope that their manuscript can be improved.
As a member of a romance critique group, you owe each member the same courtesy and dedication that you want from them. Use the five tips above to help you fashion your critiques of other’s work.