Why Giving Writing Critiques Are Important
Recently I had an opportunity to critique a friend’s novel. This isn’t my first rodeo, so-to-speak. I’ve been giving writing critiques since my first workshop in college. I’ve critiqued in workshops, writing groups, online MS swapping, etc. But this time was different. This time I was looking at a first draft of the first novel ever written by this friend.
Now, it was a first draft. It was rough. He knew it. I knew it. First drafts are supposed to be rough. But it was that roughness that really opened up my eyes to my own WIP. So much so that I think it’s something that EVERYONE should try to do at some point in their writing career. Why? Well, let me tell you!
Improving Your Own Writing
First and foremost, one thing that I’ve learned even from my first workshop is that by critiquing other’s work, you will learn about your own writing and the craft of writing in general. By finding flaws and strengths, you see first hand what does and doesn’t work (mind you, these won’t be true for 100% of writing pieces).
For me, when I’m going through and noticing things like instances of telling versus showing, issues with pacing, poking holes in plot/character logic, it gets me thinking about those types of things in my own MS. Specifically in this case, I was thinking of specific moments that I knew needed work just by reading similar issues in someone else’s MS.
Creating Your Own Writing Community
This is probably one of my favorite parts of critiquing someone else’s work. It forms a bond between the two of you, and you can use each other as sounding boards and create a critique partner relationship. If you’re critiquing for a couple of different people, then you have your own little writing community.
And the best part about writing communities is the support you can get from them. All too often I see people thinking that by helping another writer, you’ll be hindering your own success. And I can’t disagree with that more. As I’ve already mentioned, it helps your own writing, but it’s also just a good thing to do. You would want someone to help you if you needed it, wouldn’t you?
So have I convinced you yet? I hope I have. It’s a very important experience for my writing career, and I think everyone should at least give it a shot in their own.