I’m so lucky I have amazing critique partners. They are generous with their time and expertise and so honest about what parts of the story need work. They are also really, really interested in helping me make my work better. And they never forget to leave a kind comment!
I participate in webinars and group critique events frequently. I have found that even when my story isn’t the one being critiqued, I can learn something from comments made on other people’s work!
So here are some critique comments I’ve received recently that helped me. I hope they can help you!
- From my 13 yr old on a manuscript about owls and the power of an caring teacher:
“I loved how sad you made me feel here. But I want to feel happier at the end.”
Are you giving readers the emotional reward they want?
- From an adult critique partner on the same story:
“Your story has me thinking about perspective. So far your story is third person omniscient. Here it switches to [the main character’s] perspective, which is a little confusing. I’d keep it in 3rd person. I’ve edited to show you what I mean.”
Have you shifted perspective without realizing it?
- From an adult critique partner on a story about a traumatic event:
“This is nice, a bit of levity after a serious thing just happened.”
Especially when you write for younger readers, are you giving them some solace after tough moments?
- A really important piece of feedback from the same critique partner on the same story:
“Overall, I felt like it was a prematurely sweet ending. You presented this heavy topic, [character] bringing in something dangerous that could hurt people. But then the next day, he’s coloring next to his best friend and smiling. It doesn’t seem realistic and feels contrived…Also, I keep wondering and WHY [character did this]?? You need to have a clear idea about this, what was his intention? You don’t mention it at all but I think it’s important.”
Readers need to be satisfied in the story. But sometimes you can’t fit everything you want to say into the story and still make it a readable story. I made some tweaks to the story, but I think the best way to resolve this would be to write up my back matter and have it ready when I send it to my agent or editor.
Hopefully some of these critique comments will help you strengthen your stories. I know they are helping me!
You may know I provide editorial and critique services both independently and on Reedsy. If you’re writing a story or book and would like proofreading, copyediting, critique, or feedback please get in touch!