Blog Posts

Psssst: Don’t Critique the Critique

As the Critique MD whenever I read these days, there’s a part of my brain—let’s call that part Little Radar—who is on the lookout for any phrase, sentence, concept, framework, or notion that might be useful to folks who are wanting to up their critiquing game. Little Radar landed on one such gem, while we were reading a book called How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. (Note: I’m not all the way through the book

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Solving Writerly Problems: Landing a Character’s Age, Volume #001

So excited to launch this new series from The Critique MD: Solving Writerly Problems. As regular readers know, here at The Critique MD we recommend against using rules as the main content of critiques. Instead we recommend that critiquers build a treasure trove of techniques that can help their fellow writers (and themselves) resolve both the big and the small issues that can crop up in the process of creating a story. We fondly call these issues Writerly Problems. A

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Skills Breakdown, Part 3: Critique Groups

The final aspect of the critique process we teach at The Critique MD is how to manage critique groups effectively. From a skills perspective, the most effective critique group leaders not only are deliver and receive critiques effectively, they also demonstrate an intuitive (or learned) ability of the following skills: Group Dynamics: Someone once said to me that critiques would be much easier if people weren’t involved. Maybe, but all the fun would be gone, too. No matter our foibles

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Skills Breakdown, Part 2: Receiving Critiques

It would be nice if receiving a critique were a purely cold cognition task, meaning a task that only involves logic and reason. That is not the case. Receiving a critique has a high potential to turn into a hot cognition experience, meaning emotions are involved and have the potential to get the better of us. We are often told to not take critiques personally, but rarely are we taught how to do that. In the last post, we discussed

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Skills Breakdown, Part 1: Giving Critiques

It would be nice if everyone automatically knew how to critique well, but the reality is that just like writing, critiquing is an artform that takes skill and practice. Yet often critiquing skills get pushed to the side like a weird aunt at a family gathering. Like, okay, we’ll give her a little attention, but then let’s get back to the real business of writing. Now, let’s be clear, the real business is the writing. But here’s the problem: that

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Why Context Matters When Receiving Critiques

I was thinking about critiques the other day, as being the Critique MD I am wont to do, and in particular was pondering what can trip up critique receivers. One point that kept niggling at me was how often I see writers not considering context when prepping for the critique receiving experience. As if a critique is a critique is a critique. Though more precisely, what I see are writers not prepping themselves at all for critique receiving as if

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Creating Your CRTM (Critique Receiving Toward Mantra)

The mantra of mantras in receiving critiques is Don’t take it personally. That is an away mantra. It’s telling us what we are supposed to not do and gives us squat about what we are supposed to do. Which leaves us in a bit of quandary on how to improve our critique receiving mojo—how can we practice and improve if we don’t know where we are supposed to be headed? We need a toward mantra.

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