2 comments on “Limits of Critiquing III

  1. Good points and a common headache for writing groups. Sectional novel critique is problematic. I sometimes look for feedback on problem chapters or scenes where things just aren’t working. And getting critique on those first couple of chapters can be helpful early on to make sure the novel is starting off the ‘right’ way – to make sure the foundation is solid. Granted, by the time you get to the end of the story, you’ll probably want to change the opening chapters anyway! I’m not sure there’s a lot of benefit to a chapter-by-chapter approach: very time-consuming, problems with readers keeping up … so maybe a retreat is more in order where the whole, or a large swag of the whole, can be gone over in one hit is the best solution. But definitely, if not before then after, there’s a lot to be gained by having those all-important opening chapters gone over thoroughly.

    • On the whole I agree – particularly the difficulty of readers keeping up. I have seen it work in a group that largely crits novels, as when you do it all the time there is more investment in remembering everyone’s novels and an openess to critting two chapters at a time (if they arent’ huge). But I think this only works for a small group. Otherwise it’s too much to read and remember.
      I like the idea of doing this on a retreat though! That would allow lots of discussion and analysis.

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