blackholly on not just looking for what’s wrong when critiquing.
Only she doesn’t mean it in the “don’t forget to say nice things when you critique” way:
… as critiquers, we often look for what is wrong with a piece of fiction. Now, that’s certainly useful. It’s important to know when something’s confusing or dull or structurally unsound. But what I find that I need more and more–and need to learn how to do–is a critique that pushes fiction to that next level, that wow level… critiquing a competant story is all about seeing its cracktastic potential and about having standards that are higher than good. And it’s about finding the great parts of a story and pushing the rest of the it toward those parts.
Useful, useful stuff to think about. Because it’s easy to point to what doesn’t work, and I think that’s what I often do when I critique. But to somehow point out the stuff that can turn good work into incredible work–that’s tricky.
Even though as a writer, that’s part of what I’m always trying (with mixed success, no doubt) to do when I work.
But how to do it as a critiquer–I’m still thinking about this. How to point up possible ways to make the story one is critiquing something more, rather than simply striving to keep it from being flawed.