Critique Etiquette

by Sue Tornai

Successful critique groups use proper etiquette.  All of our Inspire Critique Groups use the following guidelines in our meeting:

When you submit a manuscript for critique

  1. Self-edit and rewrite until your work is as good as you can get it before submitting it to the group. E-mail your best effort to the group three days before the critique meeting.
  2. Limit your word count to 1500 words maximum.
  3. Include your name, title of manuscript and page numbers.
  4. Use a standard font in a minimum 12 point size.
  5. Double-space your manuscript.
  6. Prepare your manuscript as if you were submitting it to an agent or editor.

For Those Giving Critiques

  1. Always begin and end with something positive or encouraging.
  2. Offer suggestions for repairing things you think need changed, being sensitive and gentle. (“Speak the truth in love.” Ephesians 4:15)
  3. Don’t talk about commas, spelling, etc. Mark, but don’t mention.
  4. Offer constructive criticism on clarity, not style.
  5. Give both general and specific feedback. Be as constructive as you can.
  6. Resist the temptation to mention something that has already discussed.
  7. Feel free to say nothing.

For Those Receiving Critiques

  1. Have thick skin. Understand what you are receiving is given in the spirit of love.
  2. Accept critique graciously. Ask for clarification if needed but avoid defending your work.
  3. Except for obvious errors in grammar, all changes are up to you.
  4. Realize there is always room for improvement.
  5. Express thankfulness.
  6. Critique others’ work if you expect critiques. If you are new, critique for comprehensiveness and clarity.
  7. Feel free to say nothing.