005/100 Things – Writing group essentials

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Brandon Sanderson 2012 Lectures

  • When critiquing other’s writing, NEVER just say “it was good”. Mention the specific details that you liked or didn’t like.
  • NEVER give “should” comments. Let them know what bored you and what engaged you but don’t try to turn someone else’s book into your own.
  • ONLY critique with big conceptual issues such as strengths/weaknesses of the plot, the characters, pacing, etc. Don’t correct small editorial details.
  • NEVER defend yourself. You CANNOT say a word while your book is getting critiqued. Your writing group exists primarily to be a test audience for your novel and you’re simply there to gauge their reaction.
  • Write down the feedback you receive from your writing group and during your revision process decide what you will keep or throw away (Brandon throws away about half of his writing group’s suggestions)

The person who’s posting the above videos has started a Google Group where we can all submit 1,000 words for critiquing. We critique five others, and hopefully people return the favour. Though I’ve critiqued my five, I’ve only received three in return (at 14 views). Some people have ten replies. I’m not sure if it’s a mix that my piece is boring though I’ve had okay feedback in the three that I did get… or if the pieces that got the ten replies are just more interesting yet also have more problems people can point out… or what.

Though I also posted the piece on Mythic Scribes and only had one reply, for 17 views.

It would be good if they could at least comment to say they couldn’t be bothered to read. Note to those who critique! Saying that HELPS! Though I know it just feels rude.


About thiefofcamorr

Katharine likes to think she’s a Sky Pirate and that takes up most of her time. When she isn’t treasure hunting, she’s writing or playing video games and wishing Doctor Who and Farscape were real. She started writing at age 12 and has written almost every day on paper and most certainly in her mind otherwise – or at least, she used to, and is hoping to get back into that mindset asap. She tends to like the idea of fantasy, but her ideas themselves always seem to gravitate towards science fiction. Katharine is a judge in the Aurealis Awards, and would really like a pet chocobo.

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