Rules of Critiquing (borrowed from the Schrodinger’s Petshop writers’ group)
- Critique the writing, never the writer. Never say, “You are…” or “You should…” Instead say, “The writing is…” or “The story should…”
- Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
- Don’t say, “This is how I would write it;” how you would write it isn’t the point.
- Remember that subject matter is personal. You don’t have to like a story to give it a fair critique.
- Remember what your biases are and critique around them.
- 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)
- 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.
- Wait until everyone has finished critiquing before making comments.
- Explain only if necessary. Don’t rebut.
- Take notes.
- Realize that everything can be improved.
- 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.”