I’ve been taking a writing course for picture books and something has become abundantly clear, there are different types of critiques.
Within a group of writers and authors I’m looking for specific feedback regarding plot, pacing, character, sentence structure etc. All the things that writers have learned to improve craft through the editing process. That’s what I hope for at least. This is what I’d like to call a writer’s thoughts.
On the flip side there is the reader’s thoughts. This is someone with limited writing experience and is usually a friend or colleague (or your mom). These folks don’t know writing lingo, they don’t know how form and structure works. What they do know is if they like or don’t like your story (or pieces of it). This can be extremely valuable if you are working out a concept or are nearing the end stages of your story and need a fresh opinion if things are “working.”
When you ask for feedback or a critique on your story ask yourself if the person you’re asking is going to give you writers thoughts or readers thoughts. Ask yourself what would be more useful at your current stage of editing. This is will save everyone time and energy.
If you want a specific type of critique be clear with the person who is reading your story.
Ask them pointed questions like: “What did you think of this character?” or “How was the pace of the story, too fast? too slow?” or “Was the place/setting clear in your mind as you read?”
If you want more info on the Beta Reading process you can check out my three part post HERE.