Southern Christian Writers

WRITING TO HONOR GOD

Fiction/Nonfiction

Submit writing for critique to Teena Myers at scwg@cox.net in Word or RTF format.

Submissions will be scheduled in the order received and emailed to participants a month in advance of the critique session. Read the SCW Newsletter for deadlines to submit work.

You do not have to submit work for a critique to participate in the discussion. Email a request to receive the scheduled writing if you would like to review the submission before the meeting.

If you are technically challenged paper copies can be submitted at any SCW meeting.

GUIDELINES

Please listen to the Art of the Critique on the Small Groups main page before submitting your writing for critique.

 

GUIDELINES FOR WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS

Use 1-inch border, Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double space. You may submit ONE chapter, article, essay. The critiquer is only obligated to evaluate the first three pages.

 

GUIDELINES FOR SUBMITTING WORK

1. Follow the formatting guidelines. If submitting a hard copy use 1-inch border, 12 pt Font Times New Roman and double space. You may submit up to one chapter, article or poem. The writers evaluating your work are only obligated to critique the first three (3) pages. E-mail digital copies to scwg@cox.net

2. Be Specific. Tell the critiquer what kind of critique you desire. There are three types of edits that manuscripts go through before it is published.

Contextual Edit: Looks at the big picture. Do you have a beginning, middle and satisfying ending? Is the pace too slow, too fast? Do the author leave out important information, include irrelevant information.

Grammar or Copy Edit: Narrows the focus to the structure of your sentences, punctuation, proper word usage (here/hear), checks the accuracy of references etc.

Proof Reading: Catches everything missed in the previous edits.

3. Respect the critiquer. The critiquer took the time to read your work and prepare suggestions that might help you communicate your ideas and refine what you wrote. They do not deserve to be interrupted or corrected. Whether you agree with the things they say or not, you asked for their opinion. They might not be right. But they did something for free that you could be paying a lot of money for. A profession edit on 50,000 words or 200-page book, can run as high as $5,000.

4. Be slow to change what you wrote. If you rewrite something based on one opinion, I guarantee you will find someone with a different opinion and you will be constantly rewriting. Listen quietly to each person, if two or more say the same thing consider their suggestions and decide if you need to change something.

 

GUIDELINES FOR GIVING A CRITIQUE

1. Begin with a summary of what you received from the work. State what you thought the story was about and what the author was trying to accomplish with it. This lets the author know how well he or she was able to communicate the story’s key themes to you.

2. Address your critique to the manuscript, not to the writer. Comments within the critique should be in the nature of either “This section needs” or “I didn’t understand this sentence,” or “this paragraph confused me.” Do not tell the writer “You need to.” They decide what needs to be changed based on the groups’ collective feedback.

3. Start with the Positive. Point out the author’s strengths, with specific examples, such as “I liked the details about your characters, you made them come alive.” If its non-fiction, point to something you learned, or something that changed your way of thinking.  Starting with positive feedback sets a helpful tone to a critique and makes it easier to accept the negative.

4. Do not overload the author with negative feedback. If there is a lot that needs work start with one thing and don’t move on until the author has mastered that one thing. If you point to something that needs work tell the author why and offer a solution. If someone has a problem using quotes in dialogue recommend a book on punctuation that helped you or the address to a website or blog that deals with that topic.

5. Do not judge a person’s theology. Our membership includes people from various denominations. We may not agree with a person’s theology but that does not justify treating them with a lack of respect. This is not a Bible Study.  Therefore, we do not correct each other’s theology. If its theology you find disagreeable, you are not obligated to read it and offer a critique. You do not have to explain to anyone why.

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