Critiquing a Friend’s Writing
How do you critique a friend’s writing? Should you even try?
And, if you do, do you hold back? Should you be careful of their feelings?
I guess it all depends on how much you care for your friend. Would you rather mind their feelings, or help them with their craft? (This of course assumes you have the ability to critique rationally.)
I’ve battled with this, myself.
Back in the WEbook days it was common for aspiring writers to “trade compliments” rather than seek real support and advice. Not everyone, mind you, but many participants in that site were by far more interested in getting good reviews than growing their abilities with words and stories.
I had a twinge of this yesterday as I critiqued a part of a chapter of a friend’s work. The chapter had a lot of good stuff in it, but it also had some issues that needed to be worked out. For a brief time I debated softening my remarks in order to support this person’s ego. Then I remembered why I do Uphill Writing, and just told the truth.
Despite my wording my advice carefully, I fear my friend may not like what I had to say.
We do not go about critique with blood in our eye. We don’t do it to put down an aspiring writer… at least I hope we don’t.
The goal of critiquing someone’s work is to help them find the tools and skills to be the best writer than can be.
How do you go about it when someone asks you to read (and review) their work?