How to Give Professional Critiques

It is important for writers to be courteous when giving professional critiques. We don’t want to bash the other writer, but we want him/her to develop and flower into the type of writer that will be successful and content in his/her profession. Here are seven tips to perform a professional critique. 1. Be courteous when giving a critique of a manuscript. There is nothing worse than really being mean and overly critical when doing your assessment of another person’s manuscript. We should treat others like we want to be treated. Just as we don’t like to be meanly critiqued, we shouldn’t offer a mean critique either. 2. Find some good points to say about another person’s manuscript at all times. There is nothing worse than to have a one-sided view of a manuscript. Even if a manuscript isn’t well done and there are a lot of fundamental errors in it, it is important to find something nice to say about a manuscript on each page that you make comments. 3. Don’t slam another writer’s views. If you don’t agree with another writer’s views about a topic, try to remain neutral. You don’t want to slam another person’s view by saying: • That is really Stupid. • I can’t believe that you said that. • I never heard of that before! What we should try and do is to accept another person’s views as theirs and to leave it at that. We are all entitled to our own point of view, and we don’t need to be put down by it. 4. Be thorough in your critique. It is important to give at least three to five comments per page on every page that you critique. That way, you’ll be able to give a critique that the author can use to revise her manuscript. 5. Don’t negatively label any manuscript. Many individuals who critique manuscripts don’t take a sufficient amount of time to really understand a manuscript before they critique it. They simply form a quick and sometimes biased view of the manuscript. And there is nothing that could then shake their views about the manuscript. 6. Suggest positive feedback to make the manuscript better. It’s easy to find fault with a manuscript and much harder to find something positive to say about the manuscript. Finding fault is relatively easy to do. However, really making some helpful suggestions can be a daunting challenge for individuals. I believe it is important to have as much positive feedback as negative. As a matter of fact, I usually make many more positive statements than negative ones when I critique. 7. Couch negative comments positively. Even when you feel that you have to make negative comments, say them positively. It’s always easy to reword critical comments in a positive way. Also, always make sure that you tell the author how she can improve the manuscript. So, when you say something negative about a manuscript, make sure that you say why it the manuscript has a problem and how the author can correct it. By following these tips, you will be offering a professional critique of a manuscript and not just slamming it negatively. After all, just because you don’t like a manuscript, it doesn’t mean that it really isn’t good. It just may be that you missed something about the manuscript, or the topic isn’t one that you could yourself into. So be kind when you critique as much as possible. By: Irene S. Roth