Critiquing: A Superpower?

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… critique?

Maybe you’ve been there: Stuck on a manuscript.

You put it on a shelf and turn to helping others through critiques.

The magic of threes presents itself, because it’s always best to help at least three before you ask for help yourself.

One critique in and you’re remembering what it’s like to have fresh eyes.

Two critiques… The feedback is flowing, and your thoughts flash to your own story.  Did you think about paginating your own manuscript? Did you study mentor texts yourself? Pacing! You forgot to revise with pacing in mind!

The third critique, and you’re in a rhythm! With so much to offer others, you remember what you need to save your own writing, too.

Critiquing the work of others brings an ultra-awareness to the all-encompassing task of writing picture books. With fresh eyes, you present considerations and questions for others that are important to think about in your own writing, too. But when it comes to critiquing your own stories, fresh eyes are harder to come by.

Taking a break to critique can put things in perspective. And if you still need rescue, perhaps you need a sidekick? An accountability partner, a revision checklist, or a mentor text might give you the laser-vision you need.

Find an accountability partner that is well-matched with your schedule, writing focus, and ability-level. Are you working on the same things? Do you have the same amount of time? Do you invest in your writing craft equally?

Look back over your notes from the picture book craft classes you’ve taken. Put together a template that lists everything you need to remember, then use it as a guide when you revise (and critique). Or find an existing checklist online, like the Plot Connector from the ReFoReMo Tools page or the many revision resources listed on KidLit 411.

Then, analyze a pile of mentor texts and write a review or two. Chances are, these bookish things will save the day for you.

And to think… it all started with a few critiques.

7 comments

  1. Critiquing the work of others has taught me so much! It’s easier to see problems in another person’s writing because the story is not embedded in your head (and heart!). And then, it becomes easier to see it in your own writing. It’s such a vital part of the learning and writing process!

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  2. I so agree that having an accountablitity partner who is on the same page as you are when it comes to commitment is so important. This is a career for some and a hobby for others. You want to have critique feedback for the stage you are in.

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  3. Thanks for this post, Carrie… I like to keep my first drafts to myself but I LOVE the idea of an accountability partner to keep me moving forward! Awesome idea!

    Liked by 1 person

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