Critiquing for Maximum Benefit and Minimum Hurt Feelings–part 2 of 7, MOVING THINGS ALONG

Okay, mes petites shoes. (<—Hilarious two-language pun. Dana can vouch for that.) The holidays are definitely over–all twelve days of Christmas, all eight days of Hanukkah, all seven days of Kwanzaa and all three days of Lisha’s Post-Family Reunion Recovery.

Time. To get. To work. (If you need a critique partner, visit the Sub It Club Critique Partner Matchup.)

I would slap that kid so vigorously.
I would slap that kid so vigorously.

First thing I look for after reading a partner’s story/chapter, is Momentum. Often, it’s the fastest way to spot where and what the problems are.


  • Determine what sort of story you are reading. What age of reader does the writer have in mind? A picture book flows differently than an early chapter book, a middle grade differently than a young adult.
  • Remember, this is not your story. You might not like a sentimental romance, but your job is to decide whether the momentum is true to the genre. Or your writing might be spare, but the manuscript you’re critiquing is more descriptive. Your job is to make sure the descriptions move things along, not cut them all until the writer sounds like you.
  • Does every chapter, paragraph and sentence move the story forward? While acknowledging the differences in target audiences, genres, and styles, the story has to go somewhere. At the proper pace.

Mark the places where the story seems to lose momentum. If you’re a great critique partner, you’ll try to figure out why. And of course, by the end of the series you WILL be a great critique partner.


Part One of Series

Next time: Bones, Bones, We Dig For Bones

14 thoughts on “Critiquing for Maximum Benefit and Minimum Hurt Feelings–part 2 of 7, MOVING THINGS ALONG

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  1. Ha ha! I love your voice! Your first paragraph made me snort a bit, especially at the end.

    And thank you for reminding critiquers that it’s not their story. That’s so hard to remember sometimes, but so crucial. And, yes, those places where the story loses momentum are key!

    Am loving this series, by the way. Am going to save the whole thing when it’s done and share it with some writers I know who are new to critiquing. (A few teens who want to get into beta reading, for example.)


  2. Well that’s awful dern nice of you, Caryn. Please remember, many of the pitfalls I mention in this series are ones that I’ve had to climb out of. Myself. With a ladder. šŸ˜‰


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