Thoughts on critiquing

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

We all do it, every time we leave a comment on someone’s work on a blog or in a forum.  But how can we do it helpfully and without offending anyone?  The rules of most prompt sites, however, usually stipulate that unless a critique is asked for specifically, comments should always be positive – or words to that effect.

But is that a good thing?  Bland and banal words or false enthusiasm do nothing except feed the writer’s ego.  They cannot help to improve/ the piece of work, and hence add to the writer’s  development.     In addition, the art of critiquing well  aids the critiquer to view his/her own work objectively, growing in the process.

I recommend heartily this article, to be found at: .  It begins


                          By Rich Hamper

     Critiquing can be tough for both the critiquer and the
author of a story.  It’s often not just the content of a
critique, but the way in which the critique is delivered or the
author’s reaction to it which can make or break the critiquing
experience for both parties. Let’s take a closer look at
critiquing from both the critiquer’s perspective and the author’s
perspective and see what can be done to turn this experience into
a positive one for everyone.  First, let’s look at critiquing . .

and gives some very helpful advice.   This advice applies equally to poetry, prose, life writing etc.

  1. trisha says:

    Shubho bijoyadashami (Happy Vijayadashami)! May the blessings of the Goddess shower down on you and your loved ones forever.

  2. 1sojournal says:

    I just spent some amount of time reading through the ‘tips’. And then added the essay to my blogroll, under How To Critique. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to use some writing of my own to give people a chance to try this on for size. Just a thought, but Viv, you have found a gold mine. Profuse thanks, and I rather like your solution,


    • vivinfrance says:

      Thanks Elizabeth – I thought it more dignified! Good idea to try a practice session for people. Tilly and I are used to it, as giving and receiving critiques was an important part of our coursework. There was one assignment where we had to assess a piece by another student and its development right through from drafting to final version in relation to the peer group critiquing process. The marks were a significant proportion of our final course result.

  3. vivinfrance says:

    I’ve done all you say, but no blogroll appears – though I’ve managed to add a “subscribe to this blog” thingy.

  4. Tilly Bud says:

    Add a link to your blog.

    dashboard>links>add new>c+p address from top of screen>web address>save

  5. jinksy says:

    Viv. this should be sent to every blogger who ever blogged! Namby pamby niceness needs to be seen for the disservice it does to writing in general. Helpful hints are worth their weight in gold, if the reader can take them in the way they’re meant, which is seldom anything other than a spirit of friendship, and wish to help.

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