Friday, September 28, 2012

How Critiquing improves our Writing

One of the best ways to improve our writing is by critiquing other writer’s work. There are several benefits involved. One is that we get into an analytical mode. We analyze the cause and effect sequence when we read someone else’s story. If something jars (maybe it’s a description, a scene, a resolution, a character detail) we catch hold of it immediately. We also transfer this skill to our own stories. The more we critique, the better writers we become.
  
I find it easier to see the mistakes in someone’s elses work (my mom would remark that I have this genetic fault of being extra critical, we will discuss that in another post). With my own work I tend to be biased. I also end up overlooking my flaws and mistakes. It’s only when my crit partners point it out that I realize it, though that shortcoming in my writing would have been under my nose all the time.

Everytime I critique my CP’s work I end up getting more than I give. I think I benefit more from it than they do. For one, I become aware of the errors housed in my own writing. I also know what mistakes to avoid. I also know why certain scenes work and why others do not. When I critique I feel like I am looking into a writing mirror.

 My take is that critiquing is a simple and effective way of honing our skills. And another fact is that a new pair of eyes is beneficial. We get a fresh perspective on our writing. Someone unconnected with a story can bring fresh insight into it. As long as our comments are not harsh or unjustified, it’s a win-win situation.

Do I need to add the loads of good karma we accrue when we help out another writer/person?

Does doing a critique of someone else’s work  help you become a better writer? Does it make you aware of your own writing mistakes? What’s your take on critiquing? I would love to know if critiques are like staring in the mirror for you too?   


24 comments:

  1. I like to receive all kind of comments/ critiques and these help in improving own style of writing:)

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  2. I definitely think critiquing others makes your own writing better.

    mood

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  3. I lose perspective at some point in my own work so having a critique partner is essential. And I learn so much from their writing too.

    My husband definitely has the being critical gene. There are days I wish we could get rid of it. Ha!

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  4. Agree. I would request you to critique my post every time you read one...I promise to take it in the right spirit. Coming from you, criticism will help me.....I wish to move beyond NICE POST kind of comments by other bloggers.

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  5. Yes! I totally agree! Sometimes I hear certain writing rules, but don't know exactly how to apply them - and then I critique someone else's work and see exactly how they did (or didn't) apply the rule. Take setting, for example. As writers, we can see our scenes, setting and all. But it takes a critique partner to come along and say we need to put more in. And when you are said critique partner, then you see how much setting is really necessary.

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  6. Very true, Rachna. One of the things my creative writing professor did at university to teach us how to write was to make us critique each others' work. We learned so much from it - what to do and what not to do. Techniques, tension, point of view, atmosphere, humour, style, voice. So many things. Characterisation was one of most important ones, I think.

    Jai

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  7. I agree, critiquing others' work is so good for our writing. I don't even know how much we purposely overlook in our own as much as we just don't see it with the same eyes as when we look at another's work. I know I can be oblivious to a repeated word in something I wrote until my daughter (and one of my critique partners) points it out. Like you said - fresh eyes and perspective make all the difference!

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  8. You hit the nail on the head! I learned so much on my very first critique on a full-length novel, because I recognized the same weaknesses from my own novel. I learn so much each and every time I critique a CP's novel. Like you said, it's just like looking in a mirror.

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  9. Critiquing is a great way of giving back to the writing community.

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  10. Hi friends, critiquing is something that is an important part of a writer's life:both reading another writer's work and getting our work read and reviewed. While we are being critiqued we do feel naked and vulnerable, but our writing benefits in a big way.

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  11. I agree 100% with the thoughts expressed here, but do find the critiques of my work by others equally valuable, though maybe not in quite the same way. A valuable post. Thanks for.

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  12. Critiquing each other's work helps everyone involved.

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  13. I think Critiquing other's work or Author's work helps us in many ways.

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  14. I cannot over-sell the benefits of critiquing. When we write we become so familiar with our words that we cannot judge them with 100 percent effectiveness. Silly spelling or grammatical errors pass unnoticed. Continuity errors, or things that make no sense, fly under the radar (if you can excuse the pun). And just as a fresh pair of eyes can spot those errors in our work, so can we spot them in another. Whilst we are critiquing another writers work we also learn what does and does not work. So, it's a win-win situation!

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  15. It does help me become a better writer. When I see things that I also do, that I now realize don't work, I can fix that in my own writing too. :D

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  16. You are right, ma'am. But sadly, most people are not open to point out the mistakes of others. My blogger friends rarely do it. When it comes to me, I do it mostly. Nice post.

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  17. Good point Rachna. Yes I can see the mistakes in others' stuff more than my own. It does help to improve my writing if the other person is at a similar level or better than me. If they are novices then they may not be grasping the basics so well, but I guess it's worth reminding myself of those too.

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  18. I learn so much when I critique someone else's work--I recognize my own mistakes and wow does that open my eyes!

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  19. It's useful when a fresh pair of eyes read your work. It is same with my editing as well.

    All the best!

    Nas

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  20. I enjoy critiquing and I definitely need my critique partners. I'm so blind to my own work.

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  21. Critiquing definitely improves my writing. I critique as I read books too--it never stops!

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  22. I definitely need critiques. Other people bring different strengths to the table, and a fresh perspective--so helpful!

    Angela

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  23. I definitely like to get feedback on my writing. It's super important! And yes, learning to critique others helps you improve your own skills. Great post!

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