the three categories of critiquers
When you surrender your precious work to criticism it’s helpful to know the strengths of your assailants–er–writer pals. I’ve been the critiquer and the critiqued for a good while now, and I have come to believe that critiquers fall into three categories:
THREE CATEGORIES OF CRITIQUERS
1. The Copy Editor–Her strength is catching punctuation and grammar mistakes. She will make sure every who, whom, gerund and semi-colon is used correctly. She will catch your spelling errors and format your pages. We love this woman dearly.
2. The Detail Gal/Guy–She/He will help you restructure your garbled sentences, or point out that you have used the word, “incontrovertible” six times in three paragraphs. She/He will push you to choose your words carefully. Find continuity problems. These critiquers are a little harder to love, but in the end, we do.
3. The Global Citizen–He finds the flaws in your plot, tells you when your main character is unlikeable or a scene doesn’t work. He demands that you dig deep into your wounded psyche to write the most layered story that you can. Also, you may have to throw out the first ten chapters and rewrite the last third of the manuscript.
We want to kill this guy.
I have filled all these roles at one time or another, but I think my biggest strength is as the Detail Gal. However, I strive to become more proficient as a Global Citizen. How can you become a well-rounded critiquer?
- READ–The only way to understand what makes a novel work is to read plenty of novels
- LISTEN–To more experienced critiquers. Absorb their comments about others’ manuscripts, not just your own.
- READ–Again? Yes. But this time, read books about writing. Oh Lord, there are a million good ones
There are also sub-categories: people who understand the picture book and people whose forte is YA. Dialogue people. Mood people. Imagery people. Etc.
Find a critique group that will open your eyes to your weaknesses.