At one writing meeting I was told repeatedly about this new member who was amazing at critique their works. I was excited. While I had nothing to present this was still a win win.
The meeting began and this member showed up and sat down while everyone tried to engage with him. After a few moments to chit chat we started. The first presenter read a few pages of their manuscript. Starting with the person next to them the critiquing began. The highs and lows were discussed as we went around the table.
It was this member’s turn to speak. And spoke he did. He spent a lot of time tearing down what was wrong and smiling as he did it. He didn’t mention one thing this writer had done right. Instead he basically gave a laundry list of what they did wrong. Looking around the table it seems people were appreciating his brutal honest.
I did not. The face of the writer I could not really decipher.
Sadly there are people who relish in tearing down a person’s work and label it critiquing. For some reason my group translated this as wonderful. I translated it as someone who enjoyed tearing people’s work while feeling their work is amazing.
When it came to my turn I gave the writer three things that she had done well. I told her that one of the critiques she had received from the member could be readily fix and not as extensive as first describe.
Her smile was worth it. When I critique I always give positive and negative. Don’t get me wrong I will be honest when I give a review. But it can be done in a way that is constructive not destructive.