Friday, March 9, 2012

Why its Important to Critique another Writer’s Work?

Two years back, I critiqued a lot of picture books and short stories for my online writing friends. Actually I nearly ended up rewriting a few short stories. The person whose story I rewrote was pretty cool about it. Thank God for that. Else, I would have had an angry writer chasing me with her sharp pen.

Initially scared, as I had no belief in my critiquing abilities, I hesitantly agreed to the job. But once I started, I realized that critiquing was something I enjoyed doing. As they were short stories, they got done fast. For one I love reading and the second point is it’s easier to get critical with someone else’s work as there is a distance involved and it’s easier to be objective about it.

My critiquing abilities sharpened when I started teaching in college two years back. Reading my students’ home as well as class assignments has helped me analyze someone’s else’s work better. When I correct their mistakes, I return home and look at my own mistakes. It’s easier to spot my mistakes after critiquing someone else’s work. I feel critiquing is the best way to improve one’s own craft.

When we see what is not working in another person’s story makes us more alert to things that will slow down our own stories. It makes us more aware of the mistakes that stand out in our manuscripts, errors that our crit partners will be looking for.

And then ofcourse there is the good Karma involved when we help someone. We not just acquire a grateful friend, we also acquire a life-long supporter who will help us improve our craft through the easiest way involved by reading. Reading someone else’s manuscript is one of the best, fastest and also the most effective way of becoming a better writer. So, it’s a win-win situation for all of us.

What have you all learnt through critiquing someone else’s work? Have you felt that it has improved your own writing abilities? What’s your take on it? 

17 comments:

Jai Joshi said...

The exercise of critiquing someone else's work is essential for any writer, I think. It teaches us to notice what works and what doesn't work and gives us the ability to critique our own work with more objectivity and distance.

When I studied creative writing at university our professors made us critique each other's work every day.

Jai

Cheryl Klarich said...

I don't have the patience or expertise to "critique" . I'd much rather review the finished work. If the author's voice rings clear and true I'm a happy camper.

Terri Tiffany said...

I enjoy critiquing other writers' work. It does always make me look back at my own writing with a sharper eye.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've learned all kinds of things will critting the work of my talented friends. And you're right, it forces you to be more critical of your own stuff.

Karen Lange said...

I agree, it is a great exercise to critique other's work. I've learned a lot through the process.

Have a lovely weekend!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My three critique partners helped me so much with my last book. And you're right that reading another's work helps us see the flaws in our own.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

Definitely also through Blog challenges and flash fiction pieces, it really hones the skills.

mooderino said...

There's a weird pain that comes with being told you've done something wrong (even when it's said nicely) that you have to go through before you can really assess your work properly. Being on both ends of that, and dealing with overreactions (both from others and myself) has been an important part of the learning process, I think.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino
The Funnily Enough

Rachit said...

truly... critiques plays an important role in overall grooming of a writer. Informative post :)

Weakest LINK

David P. King said...

I see that Mark is your CP. That means you're in good hands. And this is a great post. It wasn't until I started staring my work with other writers that my writing improved. :)

Lydia Kang said...

I learn so much through critique of others' work. It really goes both ways to help.

Robyn Campbell said...

When I crit a writer, I gain so much insight into my writing and it helps me to see mistakes I have made and correct them on my own. Great post, Rachna!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi friends..thanks for chiming in. Crit Partners are indeed a blessing. They not just highlight the flaws in our writing but also gently nudge us in the right direction to write better and make the maximum use of our writing talent and skills.

Lynda R Young said...

Critiquing someone else's work definitely hones the inner editor which in turn is great for our own editing work. I enjoy it too.

Rahul Bhatia said...

Rachna, you have a thankful friend for critiquing abilities of yours:)

strophicus said...

critiquing, is a hard thing (so i think). but i have to agree, your'll end up being more critical of your own work.

Ellie Garratt said...

Critiquing another writers work is just as valuable as someone critiquing yours because it teaches you to spot the problems with your own writing. How? Well, we are so close to our own writing we often read past the grammatical errors, awkward sentences, repitions and so on. But will see it in someone elses!

Great post.