Critiquing: Are you one who is constructive or destructive?

 

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.

Are you a panser or a plotter?

 

According to Goggle: Panser: This  is someone who writes the story as it unfolds before them, with no real plan or direction Plotter: This is  someone  who is very organized and plans out every step of the book they was to write from being to end.

At a conference a few years ago this was a question from the key-note speaker. It was a term I had never heard before. A writer friend behind me said later when she first heard him say that she thought of me, I was sitting near her, and said panser as far as I was concern. At a conference this year the keynote speaker, the same man, said even if you do a little bit of planning that you were a plotter.

I know that I don’t plan every step of my book out. I have a general idea in my head but as far as writing it down that isn’t my style. I know how I want to do it but I let the characters run a muck so to speak and help me with the direction of the story line.

I only bother to work on an outline when I get stuck or I need to do a character bio that will help me with my story line. I tell people I can’t be bothered to write down an outline when all I want to do is write. But I need to remember that it is okay to plot if it helps advanced the story in the end.

But until then, I will be a panser to my heart content until the need to plot arrives.