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Guidelines [MUST READ]

Here at earnest writes, we take the growth of writers very seriously that is why we have given you guys the platform to help each other out with constructive critiques and feedback. Please do read the following guidelines before asking a critique or giving a critique. 

Do check back once in a while for any additions. 



To ask for a critique or feedback,

1. Create new topic in the forums marked "Critiques and Feedback"

2. Use 'I need critique on + [title of poem]

EXAMPLE: I need critique on "Life"

whoever sees this and feels they would want to help will come in to assist.

3. Do well to specify if you have a particular place or aspect you want the critique to be focused on.

4. No spamming of requests. This means that each person can request for a critique on a particular piece 2 times in a week. 

5. No hate comments or insulting a writer's work. 


With that said, read the "5 Keys to Giving Constructive Writing Critiques"

Read thoroughly.

There’s probably nothing worse than giving someone your writing and having them provide you with comments that show they really only skimmed your work. Things like, “I liked it. It was good. You’ve obviously worked hard on this,” don’t really mean anything to a writer.


Or, if the reader makes comments or suggestions for improvement that show they really didn’t understand the story, that will also be frustrating to the writer. (Not understanding a part of the story is perfectly fine if you’re reading thoroughly. Just let the writer know where and why you were confused).

If you don’t have time to critique someone’s work, or if you’d just rather not, let them know you don’t think you have time to right now to do it justice. If you do accept, read thoroughly so you can be sure to give helpful, relevant feedback.


Take notes as you go.

Don’t rely on your memory to hold onto all those comments until you finish reading. Instead, take notes as you go.

Ask the writer whether they want you to take notes directly on the manuscript, or on a separate piece of paper. I’m taking notes by hand for this particular manuscript, but I’ll type them up at the end to make them easier to read. Doing this shows that you really did give thoughtful attention to the whole book.


 Praise, but don’t sugarcoat.

After handing me her novel, my writer friend warned, “Don’t be TOO nice!” That’s actually great advice.

There’s not much benefit for a writer in having her work unconditionally praised. Yes, every writer wants their work to be enjoyed, but they also know there’s always room for improvement. But, do offer praise for the things you liked, the ideas you thought were well-realized, and the parts that engaged you emotionally.


Be constructive, not harsh.

Tearing apart a writer’s manuscript will not make them thankful for your critique. It’s more likely to make them shelve the book indefinitely, or take to their room for a month.

The objective of constructive criticism is to be constructive, which means any feedback you offer should be actionable. That doesn’t mean you should gloss over problems, but do point them out in ways the author can understand and fix, like “I was confused here because… or “I didn’t think this character’s actions were in line with her motivations because…” or “This sentence was a bit long and convoluted. Is there a way to simplify it?”


Put aside your personal preferences.

You might not read and write within the same genre as your critique partner. In that case, don’t ask yourself, “Do I like this?” Instead, ask yourself, “Is this writer accomplishing what she’s set out to accomplish?”

I might not read science fiction or westerns, but that doesn’t mean that those genres are any less loved by readers than the genres I prefer. As much as possible, I have to put myself in the position of the book’s target audience so I can properly assess the writing.


Cruel to Be Kind?

The purpose of critiquing someone’s work is to point out the flaws in order to show them where they can improve. But it’s also about encouraging and supporting others in their pursuit of writing.

When critiquing, you don’t have to be cruel to be kind—be constructive to be kind.



How to receive a writing critique

1. Check your ego

No one receives purely positive feedback, and  this helps because once you begin working with editors regularly, you will need the thick skin you’re developing.

We are all on a journey towards improvement in our craft. If you receive feedback from a defensive posture, it will take longer for you to see real improvement in your writing. If a critique leaves you feeling inadequate, remember we all struggle with imposter syndrome.


2. Remember critique is subjective

Your fellow writer and your future readers come to your work with their own set of values, experiences and preferences that color how they read your words.

If a critique doesn’t resonate with you in any way, you’re not compelled to make the recommended changes. You decide how far and how many of the changes will make their way into your work.

Trust your instincts. You, the writer, have the final say.

3. Rely on more than one reader

Because feedback is subjective, you will need more than one critique, as well as different types of readers.

Beta readers provide comments based on their reading experience, rather than a place of expertise. Fellow writers are able to read as practitioners, and provide a critique on your skill as a writer.

Both are important to the development of your craft. Take note where similar themes emerge between readers. If more than one reader recognizes the same weaknesses, it’s a sign you should address them.

Writing is a solitary occupation, but our work becomes stronger when we include others in the editing process. We need the writers who have gone before us and the writers who work alongside us to propel our work forward.

To grow and cultivate our craft, we need to sit down and do the work, but we also need each other.

Have fun improving!

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