Friday, February 17, 2017

Why Critiquing Others' Work is Valuable

I continue to struggle with troublesome Song of the Wolf and its unique narrative voice. I've been learning a lot about myself as a writer in the process. In the past week or so, that knowledge has extended to the art of critiquing.

While discussing a crit I gave the other day about there being too many important characters in too small of a scene, I realized Song of the Wolf has a similar issue. I have my protagonist, 3 major characters, one minor character, the antagonist and a few bit parts, all packed into just 23 pages. One of the major characters takes up a lot of page space, but hasn't really done anything except stir up meaningless conflict and give me a reason to mention a few ultimately irrelevant details about my protagonist.

So I'm cutting him.

That's 2k words I need to yank and three scenes that need extensive rewrites, but you know what? I'm happy about it. This streamlines the story and gives me more space for character development.

I never would have thought to do it if I hadn't done that crit earlier this week.

This is why it's important to critique other people's work. By deconstructing stories and figuring out why they work, or don't, it becomes easier to see it in your own work.


  1. Could not agree more! There is tons of value in applying what you learn from critiquing others to your own work. It's something I'm trying to work on right now.

  2. I totally agree. It's much easier to be objective when it's not your work, but the lessons carry over.

    I did the character-cutting thing a while back in my editing. Although I didn't manage to cull any of the main characters I scrapped a number of minor ones. Unfortunately their ghosts keep popping up in unedited scenes...