Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Critique Process

Writer’s Critiquing
For several weeks I have been critiquing other writer’s manuscripts. I have broken my critiquing style into a neat and easy process and I am here to share with you my dummy proof process.

1.       Formatting Issues- First and foremost, by using the track changes/balloon revision software in Microsoft word…I highlight the whole manuscript and put it in Times New Roman, Size 12 font. Anything other font is unacceptable and distracting.

2.       In the first few paragraphs, if I feel no connection with the M.C. or there is literally, no conflict…then I leave a comment out to the side asking the writer WTF were they thinking but in a more tactful sense.

3.       That is when I intertwine any grammar, tense, and spelling issues into the manuscript.  And anything that I find that is confusing or inaccurate.

4.       WORDINESS- If you are trying to tell me something, but the way you explain it is confusing and it pretty much sounds repetitive, then I am going to shoot you down.

 He was crazy and I’d had enough. Angry and now very tired, I tried to break free, but he clinched his hands tightly around me. He was playing games and I didn’t find it funny at all.

                The writer just said the same thing in three different sentences. We understand that he or she is aggravated with this guy…so say it using less words…less is more.

                He was crazy and I was tired of playing his games, but he clinched his hands tightly around me.

5.       Dialogue Tags- I get so aggravated when I see unnecessary dialogue tags…I use to do the same thing but quickly realized that this is the Achilles heel of all writer’s. When is it proper to use dialogue tags? How often should you use them?  I.E.

“I’m mad at you,” Jodi said.

“It’s your fault,” Kyle said.

“No, it isn’t,” Jodi replied.

“Yes, it is,” Kyle responded.

     This is so annoying. When two people are responding back in forth in a dialogue, you only need to establish the person speaking, once.

“I’m mad at you,” Jodi said.

“It’s your fault,” Kyle said.

“No, it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

Now, if there are three or more, that can be confusing. But it’s important to identify the speakers and make sure that the dialogue flows and that you begin each person’s dialogue with a new paragraph.

6.       Not using enough description or using too much- using too much description can take away from your story, remember less is more unless you are describing something specifically for a reason via it has an importance later. Not using enough, I once started reading a fantasy manuscript and I couldn’t wrap my head around this fantasy location. If I am reading a fantasy YA manuscript, I need someone to describe it to me, I should be able to smell, hear, taste, and feel where I am reading about.

7.       Flow- How does your manuscript flow? Too fast? Too slow? Just right? After attending a writer’s conference, I learned that in the first two pages of your manuscript you need to have conflict, the first five pages another conflict, the first ten pages another conflict. Conflict is what moves your story at a steady pace. If your story is lacking conflict, then it will drag along for the reader. If it doesn’t then it should be exciting and awesome.

8.       At the end, of this critique—If I don’t feel connected to your plot, or if it is too heavy on dialogue, lacking dialogue, lacking description or I don’t hear the voice of your M.C. in my head, then you have an issue and I will clearly tell you what is wrong and the reason for my disconnection.

I’m sure I am missing something, but it seems like I got everything covered. I hope you all enjoy!

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