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Johne

Brandon Sanderson On How To Give And Receive Criticism Via Workshopping

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This is a small section of a larger class Fantasy author Brandon Sanderson put online. Writers need to be giving toward others, critical thinkers who can remove emotion from the equation when giving and receiving criticism, and have thick skins when receiving constructive criticism from others.

Sanderson says:

  • Writing groups (without proper conditioning) will try to ruin your book. He talks about Discovery writers (Pantsers) and Outliners and how they will try to hijack your story until you're writing to the wrong audience rather than staying true to the vision of your story.
  • When you're workshopping, try to be Descriptive rather than Proscriptive. "I was bored here" rather than "This is what you should do."
  • Be positive, "I liked this character," before you get to Constructive Criticism. "I laughed out loud at this part."
  • Discuss. If somebody said "I was bored here," feel free to jump in and say "I liked this part because of this." 
  • Learn when to drop it. If you have a pet peeve about a story, learn to be able to say "I have my peace about this story, this writer has heard what I have to say, let's leave this alone."
  • When you're being Workshopped, you should avoid saying anything. Don't defend yourself, don't explain yourself, don't do anything. Treat your writing group like a test audience. And definitely don't argue with your writing group. (On occasion, at the end, you can ask questions if you want, but try to let them talk first. 

https://youtu.be/N4ZDBOc2tX8?t=1815

 

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1 hour ago, Johne said:

Writers need to be giving toward others, critical thinkers who can remove emotion from the equation when giving and receiving criticism, and have thick skins when receiving constructive criticism from others.

 

Amen!

 

I've become hesitant to critique when asked.  Nine times out of ten the person is actually looking for accolades, and it usually ends up like this:

 

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Edited by Accord64
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