Donna Norman Carbone
The Nuts and Bolts: Guide for Critique Partners, Part 2
The perfect CP Match is a relationship between two writers with the intent of making each other’s work stronger.
It’s important to identify the kind of critique you are looking for AND the kind of critique you can provide. Why is this important? Well, incompatible relationships never last long and you aren’t going to want to waste your time or your partner’s.
Think about the following statements and identify which of them suit you best.
It’s essential to communicate your CP profile to your partner and the kind of profile you are looking for.
Now what? We’ve exchanged our work. What are the kinds of things I’m looking for? What kinds of comments can I make?The kinds of comments you can make fall into two categories: the appreciation and the advice.
Basically, look at what IS and what IS NOT working. By addressing the appreciation, you are pointing out to your partner the kind of writing that is unique or stylistically strong. This is you saying, “YES! Do more of this.”
By addressing the advice, you are not only pointing out the weaknesses in the work–what needs particular attention in revision–but also inconsistencies the writer might not see. Let’s face it, we can read and reread our own work hundreds of times, but because we are so close, we develop blind spots that are easily recognizable to someone not familiar. And therein lies the essential reason we need other eyes on our work. Think of your CP as your test audience who, at this stage, can provide feedback on how your work can be improved.
I have put together a DOWNLOADABLE CP Comment Checklist for you to consider using as a reference when working with a CP.