One of the best ways to improve your writing (other than actually getting a formal education and reading lots and lots of books on craft) is through critiquing.

As a writer it is so hard to distance yourself from your own work. You can edit to your hearts content and still miss things.

Through critiquing, we train our eyes to look for problems. Is there too much passive voice? Are there too many echos? Is there an obvious abuse of the dreaded -ly's? Do we lean on crutch words? Does the dialogue sound too wooden or forced?

I've noticed that after a good session of critiquing, I can return to my own work with a stronger critical eye.

I begin to see the things wrong with my own work and often, while making my notes, notice that I am giving myself the same or similar advice that I gave in my critique of others.

It's not 100% fool proof. I'll still never catch all of my mistakes, but the process helps me get closer to something that will be ready to submit.

And also, let' not forget the other benefit of participating in a critiquing group. What we don't catch ourselves, others will likely catch.


Deb said...

Great post! I agree, the back and forth critiquing between writers really helps. I've got eight long months of winter coming up and I'm hoping to find some new critique partners.

JAlexander said...

Yes. Great reminder. I need to get back to reviewing stories. Back when I was more active on Critique Circle I learned a lot by critiquing other peoples’ work. It really seems to help a lot too when you follow a particular writer.

Katie – remember the guy on there that wrote horror? I learned a lot about pacing by reviewing his work. He needed to work on it. I felt he had some good storylines and they could have been much more powerful if his tension and pacing were improved. That really helped me think about my storylines growing and building. Whether it’s fear, love, hopelessness, etc… I try to give the story a steady climb.

Jessica Nelson said...

Very true. I love critting stuff. Not only because I see stuff like you mentioned, but also if the characters aren't hitting me right or the conflict seems contrived, then I go back to my own and try to strengthen those things.
Great post Katie. :-)

Susan R. Mills said...

I just started critiquing a couple of people's work, and you are so right. After I've looked over their stuff, I find myself looking at my own work a little closer. It's great!

B.J. Anderson said...

I agree with this 100%! I don't know what I'd do without my critique buddies.

Stina said...

Great advice! I can't survive without my crit group. I've learned so much from them as you've pointed out.

I've given you an award that was given to me by Suzette Saxon, who is a team member of the Query Tracker Blog. Check out my blog to see how to accept it.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Oh, I agree! I've learned so much through critiquing other work. It has definitely helped my writing both on the giving and receiving ends.

Katie Salidas said...

Strange - Have you ever considered looking at a crit site like CC or are you looking to start a crit group for the winter?

Jenna - Yes I remember that guy. And I miss you in the queues.

Jessica & Lazy Writer - Yep. I feel the same way. As soon as I get back to my own piece I start working on making my work stronger.

B.J. & Lady Glamis - =)

Stina - Oh cool. Thank you. I will go check it out!

Roni Loren said...

Great post. I just joined a crit group for my romance stuff and am also doing beta exchanging for my YA. It's been so helpful so far. Not just hearing people's feedback, but also using my own eye on their work.

Okie said...

I LOVE critique two problems are finding the time and finding the right group. When I can get both of those to miraculously come into focus, I have a great experience.

About The Author

Katie Salidas is a USA Today bestselling author and RONE award winner known for her unique genre-blending style.

Since 2010 she's penned five bestselling book series: the Immortalis, Olde Town Pack, Little Werewolf, Chronicles of the Uprising, and the all-new Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series. As her not-so-secret alter ego, Rozlyn Sparks, she is a USA Today bestselling author of romance with a naughty side.

In her spare time Katie also produces and hosts a YouTube talk show; Spilling Ink. She also has a regular column on First Comics News where she explores writing from a nerdy perspective.