Saturday, March 29, 2008

Critique No-Nos

Ten Things You Should Avoid Saying to Your Crit Partner

1. "Beautiful work! I just had a problem with the main characters, the conflict, the dialogue, the setting, the time period, the secondary characters, the antagonist, the POVs, the twists, the subplots, the pacing and the writing style you used. Oh, and the title -- that didn't work for me, either. But other than that, it's really brilliant stuff."

2. "Do you mind if I borrow your plot for my WIP? It's not like you're ever going to get yours published, and I'll give you a mention in the acknowledgments when mine is."

3. "Hmmmmm. People who read this sex scene are going to think you've never actually had an orgasm, you know."

4. "I heard that editors really don't mind if you misspell a few things, so I didn't bother checking for any typos."

5. "I know you weren't deliberately trying to be funny, but really, it made me laugh so long and so hard I nearly peed my pants six times."

6. "I think it's really great, how you're working through your divorce by writing about it."

7. "My baby spit up on your manuscript, but I wiped it off before I went ahead and mailed it to New York for you."

8. "The readers won't care if you have the antagonist toss the heroine's dog in the wood chipper in Chapter Ten."

9. "This is the best thing you've ever written. No, really, I'm being completely honest. Btw, you haven't quit your day job yet, have you?"

10. "Who is going to buy this novel? The plot is as ridiculous as having dragons in the Napoleonic Wars, putting a secret about Christ in a Renaissance painting, or creating a brotherhood of vampires who listen to rap music, for God's sake."

(this post is dedicated to A., for when you need another laugh)


  1. LOL. I'm not a writer, but just reading those comments made me giggle. And feel bad for all those struggling writers.

  2. Anonymous1:10 AM

    *laughs and laughs*

    Love #10. :D

    And have thought #2 more than once...

    #1, I've written in a critique...well, almost. I might as well have.


  3. 3. "Hmmmmm. People who read this sex scene are going to think you've never actually had an orgasm, you know."

    And this is why I don't think I'd work well with a crit partner. ;) Because if this thought came to mind, I dunno if I could keep quiet on it. :P

  4. 7. "My baby spit up on your manuscript, but I wiped it off before I went ahead and mailed it to New York for you."

    Justifiable homicide.

  5. #10! ROTFL!
    #6 - not that there's anything wrong with that.

  6. ROFLMAO. You know...I've had that crit partner least the number 1. Number 2 would cause murder and mayhem. I've thought number 3...and had to stop critiquing for that author b/c of it.

    Number 6...*WEG* Okay, that cracked me UP. I think I have that ms around here somewhere...

    Thanks for the laugh, PBW. I really needed it today.

  7. I dunno...#1 might discourage me from writing again but #10 would make me think I had written a potential best-seller. lol

  8. Number 1- way too funny!

  9. Are you speaking from personal experience, PBW? :)

  10. Re #1 ... so you HAVE read my books!

  11. God, I've both received and given #1. I would have to stop critiquing if I ever thought #2.

    And I have to agree with Raine. That is definitely justifiable.

  12. Anonymous8:18 AM

    LOL! I'm no professional writer but I've had #1 and #4 leveled at some of my posted stories. But then again...we take entirely different approaches to our writing. I have a tendency to write character driven stories in which personal growth is the point of the whole thing. His stories are more events driven. And yes, we write in the same genres. It does mean though that he often misses the point of my stories. So choose your crit reader with care. And whatever you do...DON'T ask your mate to do it. :p Hehe. My wolfy can no more be objective about my stories than I can about his paintings and sculptures.

  13. Anonymous3:04 PM

    That was hilarious, and illustrates perfectly why it can be so hard to find the right critique partner! One of my best friends once asked to critique one of my manuscripts. She's terminally nice and always so impressed that I write books, so when I told her to be really hard on me I wondered if she actually would. Everything I got back was positive. It was heartening to read, but not super helpful. So I'd add, "Oh, it's just absolutely, wonderfully, perfectly perfect! Don't change anything! Really!" Because no manuscript is perfect. But, hey, she's still a good person to turn to when I need encouragement.

  14. Perfect! I saved it for future reference. :) I've witnessed a #1 being handed out - in complete sincerity.

    My personal favorite that I witnessed was, "I found your protagonist to be despicable. I was actually wondering if you were trying to see how repulsive you could make a character before people would stop reading in disgust." Apparently the main character had some characteristics that hit her hot button(s)...

  15. Anonymous4:27 PM

    LOL! I nearly snorted my pop out of my nose!

    Thanks for the great laugh!



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