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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Getting Your Work Critiqued

After you've written your story, polished it and think it's "ready to go," that is the time to have your work critiqued.

Find at least two, better yet, three people who have experience in the same area of writing, be it picture books for the very young or non-fiction for the most serious adult readers. You might find these people in person or online, through writing groups, word-of-mouth or online searches. They might be other writers (aspiring or published) with whom you can do a manuscript exchange.

Or you can find a former editor or agent or author who does professional critiques. You'll have to pay for these, maybe as little as $30, maybe more than $300. Again, check with friends, writing groups and/or online searches.

Be open to the criticism, but remember that it is feedback and the story is yours. If everyone says your main character is weak, you'll really need to consider that. If you get three widely different opinions, you need to decide which, if any, resonate with you and your story.

It takes courage to ask for criticism, but it will help improve your writing.


  1. Yes, be open to feedback. To this I'd add- remember who the author is. Early on too much conflicting feedback could distract me. Now I remind myself that I’m the one at the driver’s seat.

  2. Yes, you can't just automatically change something without thinking about whether the advice/critique fits or not.

  3. To me, the worst critique you can get is the one that tells you everything is wonderful. That's not helpful. Everyone can always improve. Constructive criticism helps us do that.

  4. Critiquing is so helpful, and the great thing is that we learn from both giving and getting critique. Sometimes, though, I find it a bit weird in that when you critique, you are "supposed" to find something wrong. Yet sometimes the answer has got to be, "You're ready to submit," because sometimes we actually do reach that point where we are. :)

  5. True, Marcia! It's the same with our kids--they may not be "perfect" (though, of course, *we* think they are!), but one day they have to be ready to go out into the world.