When to Ask for a Critique

At what point do you let others read a draft?

First Drafts are $#@#

It’s an open secret that first drafts are awful and the best thing about a first draft is that it is finished. So, do you prefer that outside readers read this draft or wait for a more polished draft? Do you wait for the second or third draft?

Critiques can be helpful at all stages, if you know what your needs are and what you’d like your critiquer to look for. Of course, there are all kinds of critiquers and you should choose the right one, depending on your needs. Here are some things to consider as you decide at what stage to ask for a critique:

  • Do you want feedback on the concept? The characters? The plot?
  • Do you just want affirmation? (Hey, this is OK! Just make sure you get critiques that help you revise, too!)
  • Do you have ideas for revision already, or are you totally stuck? You know it needs something, but you don’t know what?
  • Do you want an overall, big-picture critique?
  • Do you have weaknesses — spelling or grammar — and you know you need someone to check this?
  • Do you want a chapter or scene read? Or do you need someone with the time and commitment to read an entire novel?

You’ll get a better critique is you have some idea of what you need at this point so you can get on with the needed revisions.

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