Critiquing? or Criticizing?

Whenever a fellow writer trusts me with a work-in-progress, giving me a chance to read it–ready or not–I am delighted. I would read it with a critical eye, even if the author of the piece were to tell me it’s already as good as it’s going to get. I have honestly considered that I may be a better editor than writer because I am a stickler for all that I have learned as correct while diligently accepting that writing styles have changed. Example: In today’s stories, one is more likely to read a reference to women than ladies. I won’t name my source, but she’s a prolific writer and much-published author of books on every age level. She should  know.

My patience is lacking when it becomes obvious that a writer has never studied the craft, but probably basks in the phrase “You have a way with words.” Not good enough.

If a writer has asked me to do so, I eagerly point out backward sentence structure, overloaded descriptions which interupt forward action, run-0n sentences, and other marks of amateur writing. But I do not rewrite. That is not the job of critiquers. Nor is it my place to out-and-out criticize. I just discovered a so-called REVIEW of a new book series for which I know the author,  and I was not just surprised. I was stunned. While the review might have been solicited (although I doubt it) the wording was nothing short of cruel and slanted to discourage any possible buyers. How mean-spirited is that? And I’m guessing nothing short of a pick and shovel would remove that from online.

Sometimes there’s no better suggestion than the one offered by Thumper’s mother: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all!”

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