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Writing Series Spotlight: Critiquing and Critical Reading

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tomorrow and Saturday, I’ll be in Shreveport, Louisiana, for the North Louisiana RWA (NoLA Stars) chapter’s writing conference, Written in the Stars as a member of the faculty. At the conference, I’ll be teaching the workshop “The Fundamentals of Critiquing.” So I thought for those of you who can’t be there, I’d give you a taste of some of what I’ll be talking about in my workshop.

Though Critiquing and Critical Reading are two different animals, the skills necessary for them do tend to be very similar, so I wanted to highlight Critical Reading along with Critiquing. Also, if you’ve ever wanted to be a book reviewer, Critical Reading is a vital skill to develop.

Critiquing (September 2006)
Critiquing—An Introduction
Critiquing Step 1: Becoming a Pot-Bellied Pig
Critiquing Step 2: Be a Reader First, Writer Second
Critiquing Step 3: Remember the Golden Rule
Critiquing Step 4: Putting the Crits to Work
Critiquing: Why?

Critical Reading (November–December 2007)
Critical Reading: An Introduction
Critical Reading: Photographic Evidence
Critical Reading: Goals & Back Covers
Critical Reading: The First Date
Critical Reading: Take Three
Critical Reading: “Question-Storming!” (guest columnist Dr. Michael Arnzen)
Critical Reading: As You Read (in General)
Critical Reading: As You Read (Characters)
Critical Reading: “Why Learn to Analyze Fiction?” (guest columnist MaryAnn Diorio, Ph.D.)
Critical Reading: YOU Ask the Questions
Critical Reading: The Literary Stuff
Critical Reading: More on Figurative Language (guest columnist Chip MacGregor)
Critical Reading: Finding Fantasy in Fiction (guest columnist Melissa James Doll)
Critical Reading: Ending & Reflections

One Comment
  1. Thursday, March 4, 2010 8:44 am

    I just finished the whole first set on critiquing. I wish I had found this before getting into two different critique groups that didn’t work out. It should be required reading!

    When I joined the “big” ACFW group last year and was subsequently placed in a smaller group, I received some crits from a few people that I have saved and revisited. They were positive, made good suggestions, and did not point out every extra space or accidentally repeated word in the piece. It’s interesting that you brought out how important it is to critique to your strengths, and to ask for critiques for your weaknesses. When I’ve critiqued, one of the things I look for is this–can I “see” the character? What are they doing? Are they standing in a sound-proof booth carrying on a conversation with someone else in a sound-proof booth, or are they in the real world with all their senses? When I ask for critiques, I ask for help with deepening my POV. NOT for formatting suggestions. That can come later.

    Thanks for sharing this, Kaye . ..


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