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Much as I’m looking forward to Saturday’s GSHW meeting with John Joseph Adams, I’m a little nervous about the get together with my critique group, which takes place on the same day, after the after-meeting nosh at the local diner.
I’ll be receiving feedback on Waking up Jack Thunder from my beta readers. I’ve seen enough critiques over the last couple of years to be able to spot some of the warning signs which can tell you if you're about to receive a less than stellar review.
Since I know many of my LJ friends get feedback on their own work, I thought I’d share some of those tell-tale signals here. 

You know you're in for a rough critique when...
1.   In the run-up to your next session, you read several group emails, asking for confirmation of how to spell words like ‘illiterate’; ‘trite’ or ‘cliché’, and yours is the only story to be reviewed.
2.   Before the meeting, the meanie in the group keeps smiling at you.
3.   Before the meeting, other group members point at you and laugh.
4.   Before (and during) the meeting, nobody will look you in the eye.
5.   In the pre-meeting chinwag about books you’ve been reading, someone says, ‘Not the worst thing I’ve ever read’, and everyone turns to look at you.


6.   The group leader places a black cloth on his head when it’s time to critique your story…


7.    … then asks you to give up any concealed weapons.
8.   When it’s your turn, the people on either side of you move away.
9.   When it's your turn, someone hands you a box of tissues.
10. Someone else removes all nearby sharp objects.
Rest assured, no matter how rough Saturday’s critiques get, I shall abide by the code set out in The Critiquee’s Charter, and leave all concealed weapons at home. 
How about you?
How can you tell when you’re in for a rough critique?

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Feb. 10th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
That was great :-)

I can tell I'm in for a bad critique by the layers of concessive phrases that precede the critique, things like "Well, everybody has different types of things they like," or "You know, I'm not so big on XX [some thing that features prominently in the story]," and so on. That, and small, small complimentary remarks ("I love that you made sure to use Courier font!" or "I didn't spot any spelling errors at all!")

In honesty, though, the people who've critiqued my stuff have been really thoughtful in how they expressed stuff, and yet still honest, and I've always appreciated it. My first reaction (in my head; I don't say it out loud) is "no-no-no-no iz perfect as it izzzz!" ... but then I think about it some more and realize the virtue of what the people are saying. --Most times, anyway. Every now and then I've had some comments that I thought were off base, or where I could see what they were saying, but I didn't want to alter what I had done, even understanding their point.
Feb. 10th, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
"I love that you made sure to use Courier font!"

Lol, I'll have to remember that one :)

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

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