Critique Rules

Rules of Critiquing (borrowed from the Schrodinger’s Petshop writers’ group)

  1. Critique the writing, never the writer. Never say, “You are…” or “You should…” Instead say, “The writing is…” or “The story should…”
  2. Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
  3. Don’t say, “This is how I would write it;” how you would write it isn’t the point.
  4. Remember that subject matter is personal. You don’t have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
  5. Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
  6. Remember that real people wrote this stuff, and real people have real feelings.

Things you may not say while critiquing:

  • “That’s awful.”
  • “That’s stupid.”
  • “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag.”


Rules of Being Critiqued (also borrowed from Schrodinger’s Petshop)

  1. Listen. The person who is speaking has taken the time to listen to your work, and wants to help you find ways to make it better.
  2. Wait until everyone has finished critiquing before making comments.
  3. Explain only if necessary. Don’t rebut.
  4. Take notes.
  5. Realize that everything can be improved.
  6. Be willing to make changes. Conversely, don’t change anything you feel must remain in order to make the story yours.

Things you may not say when being critiqued:

  • “You’re wrong.”
  • “You’re an idiot.”
  • “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.”

1 thought on “Critique Rules”

  1. Elaine Elkins said:

    I think I would like this group. Any group that makes reference to Monty Python’s Holy Grail is alright by me.

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