O.P.B. – On Giving Critique: Writer Unboxed Redirect

Portrait of a Man Reading, by Joseph Wright of DerbyI’m so pleased to have contributed an essay to Writer Unboxed. I’ve said repeatedly that I consider it an honor, and I still feel that way. But I’m particularly pleased today because I haven’t read this essay in while ( I often write them and turn them in weeks in advance). When I wrote this one, I’d just finished critiquing a manuscript for a dear friend, who is so brilliantly talented. The experience had fired me on all cylinders, and I think my enthusiasm comes through. It’s sort of a Karmic coincidence that now, as the essay reappears, I’m in the final stages of readying my own WIP for others to read and critique. A wise mentor of mine said that the best thing we writers can do for one another is read and be read. And taking his advice to the next level, that to really stretch ourselves, we need to strive to earnestly offer and receive and process thoughtful critique.

I’d be honored to have you stop by Writer Unboxed and share your experiences with critiquing. Or feel free to do so here. Here’s to reading and being read!

9 comments on “O.P.B. – On Giving Critique: Writer Unboxed Redirect

  1. M.L. Swift says:

    Great essay over on WU today…I left a comment there, with a little criteak of my own (but I see you’ve since fixed it). 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • You caught that, did you? Thanks for taking a peak, and for your too cents. 😉 Seriously, thanks for a great comment over there, Mike! Have a great day!


      • M.L. Swift says:

        You know what I saw in the short I sent to the competition today? A typo I’ve never made before: instead of too, I used — not “to,” but TWO. I cannot believe that slid past me. I hope it does the judges, too. I read it several times (and so did a couple other people), and when I say several times (my readings) I literally mean hundreds.

        I’ve never done that before, and of course, it’s when it counts. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is an odd one. You’d expect it the other way. Shall we start calling you “W”? No, wait, that one’s already taken. And it’s gotten a sort of a bad connotation. 😉 Thanks again, Mike! Fingers crossed for you!


  2. brindle808 says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts, Vaughn. You share your experiences with heart and openness. I applaud you for writing about critiquing.

    You say, “I’ve found the best reader-writer relationships are built on an existing foundation of trust and respect,” which I also believe to be true. I once had a critique partner whom I trusted implicitly. She could say anything about my work and I knew it came with heart and good intentions. I never took offense. Alright, it might have pinched a little, but I knew she had my best interests at heart. It has taken three years for me to find someone with whom I feel comfortable sharing my work. So, yes, critique partners are a delicate pairing who, once found, I think, are cherished gifts.

    I so agree that finding and peering into other writer’s boxes is much simpler than recognizing one’s own. Funny isn’t it? A writer’s blind eye? 🙂

    I always feel honoured when I’m asked to read someone’s work in progress. And, I am in complete agreement, I can’t be honest and fair if I’m reading a genre which doesn’t appeal to me.

    Wonderful post, Vaughn. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been so honored to have this exchange with you, Brin. And to think, it all started with a shared name… Or two (we mustn’t forget Kella!). I’m so glad the piece resonated for you, but somehow I’d had a feeling it would. 😉

      Happy to be sharing this journey with you, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. gretaboris says:

    I loved this post. As writers we spend so much time alone in our own worlds we forget the joys of giving. Our lifestyle puts us at high risk for self absorption.

    I recently started working with a critique partner and giving her feedback makes me feel I have a stake in her work. It’s much more fun to come back to my own after having my perspective tweaked by hers.


    • Hey Greta! Thanks so much for reading the essay and weighing in! Yes, it’s a life that can lead us dangerously close to self absorption – spot on observation. Glad you found the joy of writerly giving. It is fun, isn’t it!


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