In the last few weeks, I’ve been going over ways of ‘Killing Time Between Revisions…Productively.’
So far I’ve used this time to :
And today I wanted to talk about an absolutely fabulous way of helping time go by:
First of all, I’m always honored whenever someone asks me to take a look at their work. It means they trust me and value my opinion, and in some way- think I know what the hell I’m doing. Which is a plus.
Also- Critiquing other people’s writing is the gift that keeps on giving because it’s a great way to hone your own critical eye and make it easier to see common mistakes in your work.
A few tips I try to use-
I make sure I know exactly what kind of feeback the writer is looking for.
By the time I’m getting a draft of someone’s work, they probably are more worried about the big picture- plot, characterization, and pacing issues. If I see something that worded awkwardly or a misused or mis-spelled word, I will point it out, of course- but I never pick apart a piece in a line-editing sort of way unless the person is concerned about a certain passage and asks me to do just that. Nothing is more discouraging than having every sentence questioned and picked apart all while the big issues are mearly skimmed over- (its like, when I tried to wash my dad’s guitar with toilet paper. The good intentions were there, but in the end, the guitar definitely didn’t shine. )
I set aside time where I can truly focus on the piece.
I don’t like trying to critique while working on my own stuff or reading a different book. I treat each project like I’m a consumer- sitting down to read a new book all the while keeping in mind everything I’ve learned about how agents work, and the craft of writing to help make the project better.
I record any thoughts or comments in the side bar but also give an ‘overall’ review of the project.
The overall focuses on the biggest things mentioned above while the notes are a great way to relate back to the writer what bits we enjoyed, what parts were confusing or awkwardly worded, where the voice was off, or where the pacing lagged. Personally, I devour the comments in the side bar as soon as someone sends me my work back and they really help me get a feel for how they liked (or didn’t like) the book.