Monday, September 5, 2016

Critique: Acceptance, Writing, and Sharing


Please watch the first two minutes of the video of Randy Nelson, now of Apple University. Here he explains a concept of acceptance and collaboration, something I'd like you to enjoy as a writing community.

Randy explains two rules when you share something or work together:
  1. Accept every offer [for help, advice, constructive criticism, anything]
  2. Make your partner look good, be it your partner, parent, teacher, author, etc.
Peer critique of our work brings another person's ideas and confusions into play -- so you know how your writing is read by another person. 

In our minds, our writing is clear and interesting, but when we let someone else read it, they don't have our mindset, gestures, or tone to go by; they don't have our memories. So when we honor someone by asking them to read our work, we need to accept what they offer-- the celebrations and the critiques.

On the other hand, if you are honored with an invitation to read someone else's writing, make them look good. Share the parts you like, that made you laugh or cry or really imagine the character or event. When you've done that, then ask one or two clarifying questions -- places where you are confused or something's missing. 

Just a reminder, "nice" "good job" don't count. Be specific -- actually point out what you liked and explain why.

Some people call this "Stars and Wishes;" others call it a "compliment sandwich." A star is something positive; a wish is some need for improvement. Put together a sandwich: a compliment, a wish, another compliment.

So read someone else's writing and add a star or ! or chch [for chuckle chuckle] by those ideas that work. Put a question mark by one or two places where you're confused, or you'd like more information, or it is missing something and doesn't sound quite right. Explain it to your author friend.

Now, as author, accept and thank the person for whatever is given to you. Then, you as an author, make the decision as to how to change your work or not.

Go forth and get your write on!