A professional critique can be immensely helpful at whatever stage your book exists. Perhaps you are working on your draft revisions and know something is not quite right, but you can’t put your finger on it. Or maybe you feel your novel is as good as you can get it. It’s nearly perfect – and yet you’re still receiving rejections.
An editorial critique might be just what you need to shine a light on the problem areas and help you understand and rework them.
A professional critique is a chance to get another pair of eyes to look over your work and explain what parts of your manuscript agents, publishers, or first readers are noticing that perhaps you aren’t.
As the author of a story, you know what you’re trying to say, but how are others receiving it? How is the experience of reading your words different for someone reading them for the first time?
A Critique Helps – Find Out Why
Having friends and family read over your work is something you should use, and it can be beneficial. But these friendly opinions of your manuscript often lack something that professionals in the publishing industry can provide – expert constructive criticism.
When you ask for a critique, you are looking for more than encouragement or ideas on what worked and what didn’t for that particular reader. A professional critique identifies the structural weaknesses and explains why they don’t work. It then offers suggestions or constructive solutions.
A professional editor who is familiar with the structure and standards of fiction writing can spot problems, assess scene building, remark on pacing, review your dialogue, and give feedback on characterization that casual readers may not notice. The editor not only shines a light on the weak spots but helps you – the author – know how to tackle these areas and strengthen them. That can be invaluable for someone honing their craft.
A critique helps an author improve their work. It is a chance to evaluate your manuscript with fresh eyes. You learn about your writing tendencies and idiosyncrasies and how to spot a problem.
A critique strengthens the bridge between the author and the readers. It is useful at any stage of the writing process.
Originally posted 9/25/2010 and happily updated 10/26/2017. Thanks for reading!