Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wicked Wednesday - Critiques (part 4)

This is the final part of my critique series. I'm talking about critiques because we're giving some away to the lucky winners of the MORE THAN JUST A KISS blogfest on September 9 - 15. You can win some awesome ebooks too! You can check out the other posts in this critique series here: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Once I've gone over the details, I look at the overall story. All the chapters could be fine on their own, but everything needs to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. A story can have all the technical parts correct with everything in its right place and still fall flat.

Here are some of the things I take into account:
- does the story engage me and hold my interest?
- are all the loose ends tied up neatly at the end?
- am I satisfied with the ending, or does it need something more?
- is the voice consistent throughout the manuscript? If there is more than one POV, does each one have a unique voice?
- does the tension build realistically and reach its height at the climax?
- the plot should have its ups and downs, but are there any places it drags? Or perhaps goes too fast?
- does the conflict(s) add to the plot or are they there simply to entertain?

Remember that critiques are subjective. Everyone is going to feel differently about the various aspects of the story. I've had my critique partners tell me two different things about the same part of a story. In the end, it's up to you to decide what you want to change if you want to at all. The critiques make suggestions. They are not follow-by-the-letter orders. You are the author. You must do what feels right for your story.

How do you wrap up your critiques?

13 comments:

  1. Great tips! I agree how critiques are subjective, so it's good to learn to trust your intuition. (Something I have trouble with sometimes, I must admit!)

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  2. Good checklist.
    I had one paragraph in my upcoming book that got three different reactions from my critique partners - no reaction, very awkward, and very awesome. I left it as it was.

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  3. Critiques are great. Sometimes they point out things wrong with a certain section, that I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong. Great list of tips here.

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  4. The great thing about critiques are the very different responses. And Alex is right three different responses are not unusual. But it's the odd question about something I may have glossed over that can make the difference. I have three Beta readers that I treasure! But the critiques of a writing group always point me in the right direction first!

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  5. Yes, conflict has to be organic to the plot, never there just to shock or entertain. Well-stated.

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  6. Great tips, Christine. I'm always excited to get a critiqued piece back - there's always great insight.

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  7. Great checklist for critiques. I tend to get too deep on a first read. Oops. I need to borrow your list here and drill it into my brain. ;)

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  8. I'm careful to point out what the author got right. And if they get too defensive, I back off and say they can read my notes at their leisure. Luckily, our group has been together a long time now and we don't have that issue so much anymore.

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  9. I have had that happen where you like individual parts but the story does not hold together. Frustrating.

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  10. I've enjoyed your posts about this. You are very good at what you do!

    Heather

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  11. Thank you all. It can be frustrating reading a story where each section is good, but they don't fit together. I've seen a few people that got defensive, but I've always had good experiences with critiquing.

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  12. I love how you do your overall approach. I tend to do a wrap-up too. And it's so true that critiques are just suggestions.

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  13. I've really enjoyed your critique series. I feel like these tips are helpful not just for doing a critique for someone else, but also for my own revisions and editing. Thanks for sharing your process.

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