Tag Archives: Writers help writers

Critiquing an author’s work: Do you say yes quickly?

When a fellow writer asks you to critique their work, do you say yes quickly? I used to, but now I pause. I tend to ask the author if they want me to be as neutral as possible or do you want me to tell them what they want to hear.

I will turn that person down to look at their work if it is the latter. It is not easy critiquing others, especially if you know them personally.

It can cause hurt feelings or negative comments back onto you, or in one case, a negative review of one of my books. Yes, she went there.

Can you tell the author a piece of work has many issues? You can lessen the blow, but it still comes down to the fact it just does not work.

A new author asked me to review his book. When I read it, it was clear they had not used an editor or beta group to help them smooth out the multiple errors. But the story had meat on the bone where it was good. Contacting the author, I told them as kind as I could my opinion. I brought up positive points in the book. That way, not all they heard was negative. The author appreciated that I took the time to tell him instead of putting up a low-grade review. I was happy too. The book was good.

Joining a critique group is helpful. There are times when members would only give out the negatives. They didn’t think about how it made the author feel and not telling the author where they got it right. I always make sure I find positivity in the section we read. I know how it feels to get negatives making me wonder at times if I got anything right in the chapter I had submitted.

Looking over a piece of writing, especially if you know the person is not easy. One has to decide for themselves if one can handle the critique one will get back. One also has to ask themselves, can they give an honest review, even when the book has little going for it? Or perhaps the question is should I review at all?