Critiquing 101

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If you are reading this, then chances are you are looking at critiquing, and want to become better at it. Since I've been seeing a lot of people who don't really put out particularly impressive critiques, I thought I'd write a guide to help people critique. This will offer you some advice on how to get better.

First off, there are three types of critiques you can write.

Chapter Critiques

Whole Work Critiques

First Impression Critiques

A lot of people like chapter critiques, although I personally find them to be the most useless critiques. Although I've more recently come to see their importance, especially in the wattpad ranking system. The reason most people like them is that it gives them more comments, and the more comments they get, the faster they rise in the rankings. However, I find a chapter critique to be very limiting. First, you can only really handle the concepts associated with that chapter, and second... some chapters can be really short, with very little actually occurring.

First Impression critiques are used because they are easy for critics (I also call them critiquers) to do. You just have to read a chapter at most, and if it interests you, you tell them, if it doesn't, you tell them that. Boom, done. What I dislike about this is that everyone has a different opinion of what's interesting, so one person's draw is another person's dislike. People can also become very obsessed with their first chapter as a result of receiving mostly impressions, never moving on and writing the rest of the story. 

That leaves whole work critiques. This does not necessarily mean you critique the whole work, just up to a certain point. That can be everything they've written so far, the first five chapters, or up to any other point. You post your review on the last chapter you read and that's that. This is really the best way to critique, so if you are going to do it, I'd push for those. However, even whole work critiques have problems, namely, most people won't do them. I might agree to read your first ten chapters, but actually doing it is another story entirely. 

The best method that works on Wattpad if you want to get a whole chapter critique, is to exchange single chapter critiques. You do a chapter, they do a chapter. You do the next chapter, then they do the next chapter. NEVER move ahead, because no sooner do you painfully critique their next five chapters as they disappear off the face of the earth. A constant give-and-take repertoire between you and your critic seems to be the best way to get someone to read your writing. 

In the end, you need to open up dialogue with your critique. They can't be some guy you just pm, follow, and then never speak to again. If you want meaningful advice, you're going to have to talk to them, exchange information, speak about the things you want, etc... Although that's all advice for someone getting a critic. The advice this chapter provides is for someone who wants to critique themselves. Therefore, here are eleven tips to make you a better Critiquer on Wattpad.

1) You Are Not An Editor

You are a Critiquer, and not an editor. "Lots of spelling mistakes and grammar errors" is the most generic, pointless comment and it only serves to fluff up a review. I use it myself, I know its fluff, you know its fluff, quit using it. If you do use it, make sure to have a few examples handy. Remember though, you are NOT an editor. If they wanted it edited, they would be contacting an editor, not you. The only cases it's worth mentioning is when it is so prevalent it breaks up the flow of the story or so apparent it gives you the wrong impression. Otherwise, quit using this, myself included.

It would not be a bad idea to exchange a few emails and ask specifically what the writer is looking for from his critique. Different writers will be looking for different things. I concern myself with the whole picture. Is it good? Are their plot holes? Did anything not make sense? But there are some people out there who little grammar mistakes pointed out as well. Make the distinction and you'll write a better critique. 

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