Critiques are tough love

Tough love for a writer is having their labor of love shredded in a critique.


Pain of critiques

I feel the pain as I read the critical reviews of two chapters of my draft novel. After struggling with writing the chapters and doing two revisions, I submitted them to SCRIBOPHILE.

Subscribers wrote three critiques on chapter one and four on chapter two. I compare those for each chapter, and I am perplexed as only some address the same concerns. Often, one comment on a section while the others pass over it.

The comments suggest the chapters need revision, but what? I accepted that there is a need to improve dialogue. The difference in critiques is some wanted more, some thought it too stilted, or the speakers spoke alike. I will deal with the easier comments with by reworking the dialogue to make it pertinent and give each character their own voice.

The difficult comments are on description, pacing, and backstory. The backstory is the culprit affecting description and pacing in these chapters. It needs to be carefully worked into the narrative.

Comments I am considering to make are marked for evaluation.

Critiques from any source must be weighed. The critiquer who is a reader of your genre may provide a critique different from a reader of a different genre.

Careful of critiques

Some genre requires more narrative and description to lay the foundation for the novel. Others move immediately into the action. Some want more personal interaction. No novel is lacking each, it is the emphasis that varies.

Take each critique seriously, but don’t assume the comments require action. Be judicious and selective before slicing and dicing your novel. I am.

How do you handle critiques? Are yours from people you know or names on a website? Were they helpful?


  1. Critiques are tough.

    I have to evaluate the person giving the critique as well as the critique itself.

    In the end, it’s my work, and I have to decide. I will say, it is HARD. I have struggled to both take and reject critiques. Sometimes they is no choice but to reject a critique when you receive two that are diametrically opposed πŸ™‚

    • Dwane

      I agree with evaluating the writer of the critique. Using an online site makes it more difficult. However, I contribute critiques on submitted works and hope they are taken critically. What touches a nerve with me doesn’t make it wrong. I generally try to find fantasy to critique. Romance, poems, history are not my preferences.
      Recently, I received a very detailed critique which had almost nothing to say was good. It came from a writer who I had, that day, written a tough critique. Two others found problems with my work but not to the level of this on. Needless to say, I wondered if it was payback so I matched comments with the others. Anyway, I agree some must be ignored since it is my book.

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