Critique Etiquette

by klparry

Hello Friends!

It’s not easy to take criticism no matter how well-meaning it is. But this is an important part of the writing process and it is something we must face throughout our writing careers. We need that feed-back. In the right situation, listening to the combined opinions of others helps us hone our skills and polish our work. At the same time, the process of critiquing shouldn’t be a blood bath.

There are a few rules of etiquette when it comes to giving critiques. By following these rules you can better ensure that the recipient of your opinions will be better able to digest your critique.

1. If the genre is not to your liking or what you normally read, state that at the beginning of your critique.

Try to avoid critiquing work written in a genre that you don’t enjoy. Having said that, I know sometime circumstances don’t allow you to be so choosy. Just be sure to state this important fact at the beginning of your critique.

2. Always make a point to single out something you liked.

It doesn’t hurt to start with this and it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. But it will help set the author at ease and let them know you are not there to rip them apart. They will be much more receptive to the harsher aspects of the critique.


I liked that Bill used a bent golf club as a cane. I enjoy a character with a few funky quirks.


I like that you’ve decided to write a historical fiction. I love history and don’t see much written about this time frame.

3. Be as specific as possible.

It doesn’t help when you state that you didn’t like a character. Be specific.

I couldn’t sympathize with Bill. His character was too flat. I need to know more of what he is feeling. 


Why was Bill upset when the neighbor’s dog died? 

My last words of advise have to do with reading critiques of your own work. 

Sit back, relax and don’t freak out by the fact that not everyone is going to like what you’ve written. It’s okay 🙂

Until tomorrow – Write On!

~ K. L. Parry