Finding a Critiquer
Critique websites provide the opportunity to have your work reviewed by persons you don’t know and have only a passing relationship.
I subscribe to a critique website, and I submitted a chapter to the site, desiring an unbiased evaluation. I requested comment on whether the critiquer found the content interesting enough to continue reading.
The reviews come in
A few days later, I had three evaluations. Two were extensive. One reviewer spent over a thousand words critiquing my 1900 word submission. Another committed 800 plus words. The third was only a couple hundred.
Two critiques addressed similar concerns. The third appeared a quick read, and the comments were superficial. Only one said they would not read this book, wrong genre.
The value of critiques
What did I learn from the comments? The reviewers considered the protagonist superficial. This shocked me since I thought I had spent adequate narrative building her into a strong woman. Further shock, two thought the antagonist was the most interesting character in the chapter. I had less than forty words devoted to him in this piece!
Conflicted by the comments, I face which should I accept. Which should impact my story by leading to revision and change?
The comments I am considering are not those like failing to hyphenate words correctly, which I failed twice, but those of two reviewers addressing the story structure. An example: If the antagonist is the most interesting character in this piece, I didn’t foreshadow the protagonist as the woman she will become.
Problem with multiple critiques
Critiques by multiple reviewers can create problems for the author. For me it was one reviewer noting the narrative was inadequate and another reviewer saying the narrative was excessive. The third reviewer didn’t comment on the narrative. His perspective would have been helpful in resolving the dichotomy. This means another decision the author must make, more narrative or less.
I have put the reviews aside. I am in the second revision and two chapters beyond the one submitted. By the time I am ready for the third revision, I will have decided on the narrative for this chapter and ready to address the other issues.