As I think back on how I got started in writing, and what made me better, I've got to think that critiquing others' work was huge. It wasn't because I knew so much and had so much to offer other starting writers. Not at all. It was that by examining the work of others, I was able to find flaws that I
Things like the dreaded passive voice, annoying dialog tags, overusing a character's name in dialog, and a deluge of adjectives. When we are writing, these things can all sound really good in our own heads. For example, when we say:
"I know, Beth, but this is serious."
"I hear you, James."
We often think we're adding extra emphasis or gravity to our words. But when we read it in others' work, we realize that all it does is add words that characters would probably never say in real life.
So here's my Writer's Wednesday advice for those of you who aren't regularly critiquing another's work: give it a try! Join the First Pages group on YALitChat (it's free). Ask a writer friend if they need another set of eyes. Or even just pick up the book you're reading and pretend you've been hired to edit it. What would you change? What bothers you?
Now... how can you change that for the better in your own writing?