SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Critique Terms

Discussion started on

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
After talking with a writing friend about how difficult it is to get students to critique each other's writing for content, rather than editing for spelling, grammar and handwriting, I thought it might be helpful to to collect a list of terms we all use in our critiques. They may be positive or constructive.  I've started a list below and hope many of you will add to the terms/phrases.  I'm thinking this might help my critiquing as well.
Thanks,
Judith

Critique terms/phrases:
tighten the paragraph
writing flows well
Good examples
Characterization
problem not clearly defined
Consider page turns
Parallel construction
raise the tension
point of view
#1 - February 05, 2011, 11:44 PM
What Do You See?  Odyssey Books  2009
Stinky Feet  Odyssey Books  2012
Jump-start Your Library, UpStart 2008
http://judithsnyderwrites.com

Member
Poster Plus
Nice idea! Also, even if you ARE critiquing for content, it's sometimes hard to find the right phrase to express what you think is wrong.

What do "parallel construction" and "consider page turns" mean?
#2 - February 06, 2011, 01:35 AM

show, don't tell
#3 - February 06, 2011, 06:32 AM

jenniferfisher

Guest
#4 - February 06, 2011, 06:42 AM

Emeritus
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region newengland
Motivation and conflict
#5 - February 06, 2011, 07:05 AM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
www.marissadoyle.com
www.nineteenteen.com

I frequently use: Confused (usually because the text isn't clear, not because I'm perpetually confused!)
#6 - February 06, 2011, 07:24 AM
Twitter: @ KarenBlyToo

some more:
-internal dialogue
-being true to voice
-active versus passive
-overuse of adverbs
-use of speech tags
#7 - February 06, 2011, 07:35 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region florida
Kathleen Duey shared a great method at a conference--one that I think is easy for students and adult critiquers to remember:

Use the letters B, C, D:
Bored
Confused
Don't believe it

In one of my critique groups, we put a happy face in the places we love--so that could be a way of putting in some positives, too. 
#8 - February 06, 2011, 10:11 AM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
Great suggestions. Can't wait to use them in a critique. Keep them coming.

And Emily, parallel construction refers to keeping similar content and function looking the same, (like if you have a list of ideas, start each line with a verb)  I will refer you to 'Elements of Style by Strunk and White' p.26  (my little grammar bible)  There's more to it than using parallel construction in lists, but you would want to see examples. 

When writing a picture book, it's important to think about how the book will flow and where a new picture may be needed. You'll want to 'consider page turns' because you don't want to have too many words on one page, and there are only a limited number of pages available.  I found a great blank picture book storyboard that I use to plot out my writing on this web site:  www.cravewriting.wordpress.com and there is other really good information as well.

Hope this helps.
Judith
#9 - February 07, 2011, 03:57 PM
What Do You See?  Odyssey Books  2009
Stinky Feet  Odyssey Books  2012
Jump-start Your Library, UpStart 2008
http://judithsnyderwrites.com

Rock of The Westies
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region nevada
lyrical prose
jarring transition
conflict not clearly defined

#10 - February 07, 2011, 04:25 PM
Fur Balls & Feathers & Fins, Oh My! Animals Are My Kind of People
 www.cynthiakremsner.com

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
Stephanie, could you explain what you mean by "echoes"?
Thanks
#11 - February 10, 2011, 03:12 PM
What Do You See?  Odyssey Books  2009
Stinky Feet  Odyssey Books  2012
Jump-start Your Library, UpStart 2008
http://judithsnyderwrites.com

Member
Poster Plus
Great suggestions. Can't wait to use them in a critique. Keep them coming.

And Emily, parallel construction refers to keeping similar content and function looking the same, (like if you have a list of ideas, start each line with a verb)  I will refer you to 'Elements of Style by Strunk and White' p.26  (my little grammar bible)  There's more to it than using parallel construction in lists, but you would want to see examples. 

When writing a picture book, it's important to think about how the book will flow and where a new picture may be needed. You'll want to 'consider page turns' because you don't want to have too many words on one page, and there are only a limited number of pages available.  I found a great blank picture book storyboard that I use to plot out my writing on this web site:  www.cravewriting.wordpress.com and there is other really good information as well.


Thanks for explaining!
#12 - February 10, 2011, 03:14 PM

beat me to it  :yup
My critique was given to me last September by an Irish publisher at a writer's conference.  It was unexpected since I submitted via email and only discovered when I arrived that I had received a slot.  I had no preparation.

"Your story is tight and compact, tells a complete tale and has a neatness that many authors would envy.  However, the characters are little wooden and you would be better to bring your human characters out more".
I have done this as much as I can, but I write anthropomorphic, for the most part. It can be hard.

show, don't tell
:confused2

Got that too.  Sometimes it baffles me.  I don't leave much to the imagination and explain too much.  I see that in my revision-I think.
#13 - February 11, 2011, 07:23 AM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
Thanks for the ECHO explanation, Stephanie. 
#14 - February 13, 2011, 10:31 PM
What Do You See?  Odyssey Books  2009
Stinky Feet  Odyssey Books  2012
Jump-start Your Library, UpStart 2008
http://judithsnyderwrites.com

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region oklahoma
 :goodthread:

I'm happy to hear all the various terms--always looking for ways to give clearer feedback. Especially like Mindy's B, C, D abbreviations. I also put smiley faces when I like something. One thing I find myself saying a lot when I critique is that I want to be inside the MC's head more. More depth, clearer motivation.
#15 - February 15, 2011, 06:32 AM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wwa
When I make suggestions:

-stimulus before reaction (many writers put the POV character's reactions to sudden events before whatever causes them, which is confusing)
-try to make x (description or whatever) more specific to your character's voice
-repetitive dialog tag (the kind that tells what the dialog shows, like "Niener niener," he taunted.)
-confusing POV change
-I'm not yet feeling this with your character/I don't understand exactly why s/he feels this way
-character's reaction seems too strong or not strong enough

Positive things I say a lot:

-laughed out loud
-i love how x (e.g. characterization) affects y (e.g. the conflict) here
-awesome detail
-i see how you're setting up ______ for later & I think it's working well
-this leaves me with the kind of questions that make me want to turn the page (as opposed to the kind that confuse me)
-beautiful language here


Huh. There are a lot of positive ones, aren't there? Guess that just goes to show how awesome my critters are.

A lot of the other negative comments I use have already come up, so I didn't include them. Plus when I crit, I mostly don't use just short phrases; I normally explain how and why I think and element of the text needs to change. I'm guessing you all mostly do that too, but I figure it bears mentioning.


*Edited to fix a typo
#16 - February 15, 2011, 10:45 AM
« Last Edit: February 15, 2011, 10:50 AM by Melissa K »
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

Liz
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region indiana
 :nothing
#17 - February 15, 2011, 03:37 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

http://www.lizstrawwrites.com/

:nothing
Not strictly true on my part, but I still confused by some of the terminology in critiques when I re-read them. Also can't find a critique group-didn't fit into the last one.  All advice considered...

:lol2
I hate this one!
#18 - February 16, 2011, 03:40 AM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
Melissa, thank you for your suggestions.  They dig a little deeper into character and plot and are helpful in explaining what needs to be changed. 

Thunderingelephants, (love the name--very visual) I understand about not understanding points made in critiques.  It really helps when there is a dialog and the critiquer can explain.  Face to face groups are so good for that, because if one person can't articulate what is wrong, others can chime in.  But my online group is good with explaining as well, for we can always ask for clarification.  Keep trying to get into a group through the blueboards I had to try several times before I was accepted.

Side story: One time I got a great rejection (if you can call a rejection great) from an editor who made what seemed to me a rather ambiguous revision comment with an invitation to resubmit if I chose to try her suggestion.  I took it to my critique group and we all tried to figure out her meaning.  Sad to say, I revised and it still wasn't what she wanted.

I think the more we understand critiquing terms, the better we can respond with changes to make our writing better.

Any editors out there want to chime in anonymously?
#19 - February 21, 2011, 03:36 PM
What Do You See?  Odyssey Books  2009
Stinky Feet  Odyssey Books  2012
Jump-start Your Library, UpStart 2008
http://judithsnyderwrites.com

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.