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  • Alexander Inglis

Online Critiques

I recently joined an online group in which members provides critiques for one another evaluating the opening chapters of each other’s unpublished novels. You Write On began in 2006 and the highest-ranked stories receive free critiques from established writers and agents each month with the chance of their work being critically assessed by an editor at a major London publishing house.

I’ve been critiquing and receiving critiques for a little over a month now and I’ve found out that it helps to be thick skinned. I was pleased and buoyed up by the initial comments, then… well then, I was hit by a couple of reviews that weren’t exactly designed to stroke my ego. One critique started off ‘I’m not a fan of fantasy’ and, on the initial reading, my first thought was ‘If you don’t like fantasy don’t critique it’. But, after a few reads, I could see that there was some good advice hidden in the obvious disdain for the genre. I changed the piece using that advice and advice from subsequent reviews and since then have had good critiques. It certainly lets you see how a range of writers respond to your style of writing. Another piece, a short story, had good reviews from the start, which is very encouraging. The initial piece is one of my earliest attempts and the difference between the two is fairly obvious, my writing has changed.

After signing up to the group you post a piece of writing of between 2000 and 7000 words which is then critiqued by one of the other members. To receive more reviews you must accept a Reading Assignment in which you review writing from another member. Each time you review a piece you receive a ‘Reading Credit’ which is the only way you can have your writing reviewed. Each credit received entitles you to a critique. When a member accepts a Reading Assignment there is a four day ‘deadline’ in which to read the piece and place a review on the writer’s account on the web site.

After initial misgivings I’m enjoying reading different authors and having constructive advice from likeminded people.

Alexander Inglis

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