Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dear Critique Partner

As I type my comments within your effort of love, your manuscript which you have spent many hundreds of hours on, I’m concerned you might conniption over all my red. There is a lot. It doesn't mean I don't like your work. I wouldn't be working with you if I didn't.

First: Off-line feedback is dangerous, because you can't see the smile, the caring individual across the table from you. If there is a misinterpretation, your friend isn't there to immediately ease your mind.

Picture my smile when you have the urge to throw a heavy object.

Second: I’m taking very seriously my role in helping you make your work the best it can be. Thousands will see the result of your efforts. It represents you. It represents the talent that you are. It should be as perfect as it can be. I’m placing myself in the role as your professional editor.

Maybe I shouldn’t, but I am. I butt in a lot in that way.

Third: A lot of the red is me taking time to explain my suggestions, offers, and corrections.

Blink often.

Fourth: I in NO way intend to change your voice. You will never have to defend your decisions. Your manuscript is yours, and no one else's.

So you may stop screaming.

Fifth: A good chunk of my notes are to separate narrative from individual dialog. You have a tendency to step on your dialog unnecessarily with narrative that doesn’t pertain to the speaker. Any time you go from dialog to the narrators voice, that is, your protagonist’s thoughts, even if it’s only a few words (not strictly interpretation/tag), it is best to go to a new paragraph. It helps the dialog stand out. The dialog is the ACTION, which you don’t want to step on.

The exposition is the TELLING which may be critical information, even hilarious, but it is still telling and you want to set it aside from the all-powerful action.

I know you disagree. I am right.

Sixth: A key component of writing well is tight righting. If you can say it in four words rather than five without losing impact, do so. Fewer words are usually more impactful. I think I am skilled at that, and you will find a plethora of strikeouts which reflect my RECOMMENDATIONS AND IDEAS in making your writing more concise.

I agree the words are jewels. Now click Accept.


I just wanted to get that off my mind before you see my feedback.

I wouldn’t be working with you if I didn’t love your characters, your story, and more importantly, respect the beauty of your prose.

Heck, go ahead and click Accept All.

Home Page     Facebook    

Editing novel number nineteen!


  1. Great post! I hope your critique partner realizes the jewel they have found in you. ;-)


  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Excellent points. All of them.

  4. I guess I haven't told you lately how much I miss your red lines.

  5. I know!! Where've ya been, Anne!

  6. Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

    Lola x

  7. Ha ha!

    Soooooo very true.

    Great blog :)