Wow so many experienced people. I’ve been writing and critiquing for almost a year. Looked through 6 manuscripts plus ( some quiet short as they’re romance) various chapters for a writing group that I belong to.
I think balanced feedback is really important, so encouraging where something is good and working but showing what isn’t working and how it could be rectified or improved (there’s no point saying this isn’t good or doesn’t work without telling the person why). It’s important you don’t take over the other persons writing though as its their story to tell – your job is to guide and support them so that they can get the best out of it
Sometimes asking the person what they’re looking for can be useful as they may be looking for help in a specific area ( one of my CP’s only wanted help on plot and ensuring the book appealed to a wider audience as it was historical).
I have had some bad CP experiences also where people become flaky and aren’t getting my stuff back to me when I’ve looked at theirs. I think that’s terrible. Even if the writing is not my cup of tea (I don’t read historical but I could appreciate the writing style and research that had gone into a MS I critiqued) I would style try to give someone feedback if I’ve taken it on board or mail them back explaining I didn’t feel well positioned to critique the book if I had completely no idea about the genre.
Overall when I look at someone’s work I think if they feel strongly enough about writing to put pen to paper then they must be passionate about what they’re doing and nothing would give me more pleasure than knowing I’ve helped them get to their goal. Maybe getting published myself too 🙂
Love this topic – great for starting this up.