Saturday, March 23, 2013

Specific Compliments

Vicky Lorencen does a fantastic job of explaining the importance of positive comments in critiques. This post continues with that theme. In the critiquing guide for this workshop, we were asked to name three positive things about each manuscript and to be as specific as possible. Consider the following: 

“You rock on voice.” 

“You do a great job of expressing Southern dialect.” 

“Your use of colloquial expressions and the rhythm of the speech let me know that the novel is placed in the South. For example, on page five, when you wrote ‘He’s as handy as a button on a shirt,’ I was immediately transported to Texas.” 

Since this imaginary writer is trying to recreate the world of a Southern teen living in the fifties, the third comment is the only one that will help her. 

The use of specific compliments is something I can practice before next month’s critique group. Instead of saying, “What a pretty sweater,” I could tell a friend, “The turquoise in your sweater brings out the blue in your eyes.”  

The key is to say what works and why.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips, Ann. I'm going to remember them for my next critique.

Kristin Lenz said...

Very true. I think I became a much more specific critiquer while attending the Whole Novel Workshop.

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