On this week's Nonfiction Ninja blog, Stephanie Bearce talks about HOW TO TAKE CRITICISM AND USE IT. One of the more important lessons a writer needs to learn. Steph specifically talks about getting a critique from an industry professional and how to use that information.
I'd like to add to the convo by focusing on giving a critique. Another skill that every writer should learn. Here are just a few pointers you can start with.
1. Read the manuscript twice. I like to read through once as a reader would, just for fun, and get a first impression. And then read it again looking at key components like the lead - did it grab my attention. The flow of information - was it in a logical order? Did I get confused? Scenes - did they support the main idea? Were they vivid?
2. Start with a positive comment. It is just as important for a writer to know what they do well as what they need to work on. Explain, briefly, what you liked about the manuscript. Maybe you were impressed by the the way the writer used quotations, or wove in details to make a scene pop. It isn't helpful to just say, "This is amazing."
3. Be specific. Point to places in the manuscript that you felt needed attention. Being vague never helped anyone. So, if you felt the ending didn't work for you - explain -- was it too abrupt? Did it go off topic? Did it lack closer? And why?
4. In an oral critique, mention 2 or 3 elements and then let another member of the group speak. In a written critique, you can elaborate.
I'll add more to this list in the weeks to come. But basically, be nice, be helpful, and pay it forward.