- After the manuscript/illustration to be critiqued has been submitted, the other members of the group are to post their critiques by the following Sunday.
- Critiques are to be typed onto a copy of the original submitted manuscript/illustration using the ‘Track Changes’ tool in Word (for additional help see YouTube How to use MS Word's Track Changes).
- Do not read anyone else’s critique before writing your own. It is more helpful to receive a number of fresh perspectives.
- Critique comments should be respectful, constructive and encouraging.
- The best way to critique is to read/view the manuscript/illustration when it is posted and then let it ‘sit’ with you for a while before writing your critique.
- Members seek to provide honest feedback in a positive, constructive and encouraging manner. It helps to know the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript/illustration. A useful technique is the ‘sandwich’ method. Begin with a positive comment/insight, then provide constructive criticism including why something doesn’t work and offering possibilities for change, and then end with a positive comment/insight.
- Those receiving the critique should be aware that any suggestions offered are suggestions only and can be accepted or rejected.
- When you are finished with your critique, rename the document to make clear who has provided the critique.
e.g. CRITIQUE_MARGARET_Anne Smith_The Horse’s Tale_March 2015
- Load your critique to the Dropbox folder as an updated file of the original file, so that all files related to a story can be kept together.
- Follow-up discussion is allowed after all critiques have been received. If the writer needs to clarify any points he/she can contact members directly.
- Once you have received all critiques delete your manuscript/illustrations and the critiques from the file on Dropbox.
Suggestions on ‘How To Critique’
Critiques should be ‘meaty’ and should:
• Point out the strengths and weaknesses
• Address any specific questions the member may have asked
• Include potential solutions to problem areas
—ideas to improve plot or character
For Writers - Address at least some of the following areas:
• character development
• story arc/problem/conflict
• grammar and mechanics
• length and concept
• appropriateness for age group
• illustration potential
For Illustrators – Address at least some of the following areas:
• overall presentation
• subject matter
• character development
—in different narrative settings
—doing different activities
—showing different expressions and moods
• representations of children and/or animals
• style and attitude
—issues regarding reproduction
Click HERE to download a pdf copy of the 'How to Critique' Guidelines.
List of Questions for Critiques by Alayne Kay Christian includes points you can focus on when critiquing a story
How to Critique Fiction by Victory Crayne
Critiquing for Maximum Benefit and Minimum Hurt Feelings (series of 7 parts) posted by Lisha Cauthen
Acknowledgement and thanks to:
Yvonne Mes & the Penguin Posse Critique Group, SCBWI Queensland
Sarah Laurenson and SCBWI California: Los Angeles County