Welcome to the third week of Novel Boot Camp! This week we will be working on peer critiques. The complete list of novel openings is at the end of this post, but before we get started I want to offer a few pointers.
How To Be a Great Critique Partner
Here are my (hopefully) helpful hints on giving critiques:
- Being a great critique partner is about balancing respect and honesty. Respect does not mean complimenting elements of the story that aren’t working. Honesty doesn’t mean being unnecessarily harsh or cruel.
- Differentiate between opinion and objective truth. Make sure to clarify if you feel something is objectively wrong (such as not fitting the genre or age group) or if you just don’t like it personally.
- Stop reading whenever you lose interest and explain why. Sometimes writers hesitate to offer feedback because they feel required to read the full excerpt. This isn’t so! It’s okay to stop reading if you grow bored or don’t have time to finish. You can still leave feedback!
- If you’re not sure why something isn’t working, say so! Don’t feel that you have to give a reason for your opinion. It’s okay to say, “This isn’t working for me but I’m not sure why.”
Here is my advice on receiving critiques:
- Don’t argue with a critique. Getting a bad critique that you disagree with is good practice for the inevitable negative reviews that will pop up throughout your writing career. Fighting to defend your work is not constructive and the outcome is often more embarrassing than the negative critique.
- Thank the writers who take the time to provide feedback. They are offering you a free service and deserve a “thank you” for the effort!
- Remember that the goal of critiques is to grow and improve as a writer. It will probably sting when you get a harsh critique, but a pat on the back is pointless. You want someone who will pick your work apart. That’s how you get better!
Each novel opening has been pasted on its own page with its own comments section. Please leave your comments in the individual comments sections rather than on this page.
Feel free to share your opening page on Twitter, Facebook, etc. The more writers offering critiques the merrier! You do not have to be a Boot Camp participant to offer critiques.
Complete List of Novel Openings
Please choose at least 5 openings to critique. Thanks!
Pride & Destiny (fan fiction)
(Fantasy) Crow Jane
(Romance) To the Steadfast
(Fantasy) Andra of the Aki
(Fantasy) Draidan’s Mountain
(Fantasy) Elspeth Rising
(Fantasy) Those Who Were
(Fantasy) From Earth to Neptune and Back
(Fantasy) The Lil Gods and the Rise of the Giants
(Mystery) SKIP School
(Mainstream) Lion Girl
Thanks to everyone who offers critiques!
This post is part of Novel Boot Camp. If you don’t know what that is, click here.