I love reading other peoples' work, especially when it shows promise. As I mentioned last week, I'm now a part of a critique group, and I got the chance to read and critique three very interesting stories. I like critique groups, especially when I get to meet with them face to face. Let me explain why:
I have given some very direct advice and tips on how I think a story could be improved (of course I mention what's working, and what I REALLY love!). But without inflection, facial expressions, and the opportunity to ask in-depth questions, I always worry that I'm being blunt and even coming across as negative.
It's something I've struggled with as I beta-read that book I've been telling all of you about. As I said, I'm excited about this book, but because it's a first draft, it does need work. I hate nitpicking, and I hate telling her things that could come across as negative, and I'm afraid I might be sugarcoating my critiques in places just to keep myself from sounding rude.
It's definitely a rough balance, I whenever I click send on my critique emails, I'm satisfied that I'm getting my point of view across, but it still concerns me at times. Which is why I'm SO excited to get into a roundtable discussion with my new crit. group tomorrow evening.
Question of the week: What do you like about emailing critiques over sitting at a table with your group? What do you like about face-time over email? I'll join in the discussion as much as I can, but I encourage you to have at it in the comments!