“….Goldilocks tried the big bed and it was too hard (Constructive Criticism-Too Hard),
Then she tried the middle sized bed, but it was too soft (Constructive Criticism- Too Soft),
and at last she tried the little tiny bed- and it was just right…”
Well, there’s a number of characteristics that make criticism constructive, as opposed to an ego fest for the writer or the person doing the criticism. Look for these.
- Honest feedback- not “brutally honest” (which is code for “I’m gonna do as much damage as I can, because I like hurting people) but just plain honest feedback, where you can trust what you’re hearing is one accurate picture.
- Clear feedback. If you can’t understand what they’re saying, it won’t help you.
- Positive and negative comments, as appropriate. What’s working? What’s not?
- A healthy relationship with your reader, where the primary objective of both of you is making your writing the best it can be.
- An understanding of the difference between facts and opinions. Both are valuable information for improving a work, but you treat facts and opinions differently.
- An understanding of your genre and what’s normal for it
- Taking your book on it’s own merits.
- Reliability- coming through on reading, replying and doing it in a timely manner.
- and a number of other bits and pieces…
You don’t want
- Ego trips and temper tantrums.
- Name Calling.
- Using your book as the representative of its entire genre (the person who hates science fiction will probably not be able to give you constructive criticism on your space opera)
- Promises, promises, but no carry through.
Things like these tend to be red flags that indicate someone who’s more interested in inflating his own ego or putting you down as a person than actually giving you help in making your book better. Quietly edge away until you can make a run for it and don’t ask this person to beta read again.
We’ll be getting more into these various aspects as we go along, but this gives you a general overview of what makes criticism “just right”
For more information on Catherine’s books, “Adventures in Palmistry”, “The Practical Empath – Surviving and Thriving as a Psychic Empath”, “Manifesting Something Better”, “The Psychic Power of Your Dreams”, her urban fantasy “The Lands That Lie Between” and her latest book “Magick for Pennies”, all from Foresight Publications, click here
and for the new Kindle version of Manifesting Something Better, click here