Critiquing, editing and other methods of slow torture

I’m been something of a busy bee this last while, so please excuse my lack of posts. Hightlight was the wedding of one of my oldest friends. I’ve known him since I was four. It was a beautiful ceremony where almost everyone told them “it’s about time” and they took it with the affection intended and agreed. I have never cried at a wedding before. So there you go.

But that’s what I’m not here to waffle on about today. That is my excuse note – like “the dog ate my homework” or “please excuse Ruth from gym because she hates it with the fire of a thousand suns”.

I read a comment on another blog (no I can’t remember where, seive-like brain strikes again. If anyone knows, point me there) about editing. And I have my thoughts on editing. They also relate in part to critiquing. Actually it all boils down to one statement.

(Leaving aside grammer and typos) editing, and critiquing, are not designed to point out what is wrong, but rather to point out what can be made better.

There is an enormous difference between wrong and could be better. There’s an enormous difference in how we explain this to others. The words themselves do the trick.

“You’ve got this wrong” – oh bad you

“This could be improved by…” – let me help you.

I had a fantastic conversation towards the end of last week discussing edits and came away invigorated, excited and raring to get to work and make my story shine. I think (I hope) I can do that when I critique for fellow writers – word my comments correctly so that they can see the potential I can see in their work. And while the adage is true that the only response to a critique is “Thanks very much”, I’m not adverse to exchanging ideas, to doing some brainstorming or re-reading rewrites. I like to see things grow. I think to see how ideas take form and work their way through a story. Honesty may be the best policy, but kindness works more wonders. So if you’re critiquing don’t hold back, but choose your words with care, thinking about the person reading them at the other end.

But if you can’t take honesty, it may be better not to ask for a critique.

Editing to me is the final stage of creation – it isn’t something that comes afterwards, its a vital part. It is the details on a sculpture, the polish on the marble. It’s what makes a story shine.

And speaking of which I have a critique to do, and then some edits to get to. 🙂

One thought on “Critiquing, editing and other methods of slow torture

  1. You always make me cry when you crit me *sob* heehee

    You are an awesome CP and I think you do great being helpful without it taking on something negative. You make me think about a scene, and its always better!

    Plus you are on awesome brain stormer too! 🙂

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