Friday, March 19, 2010

Nit-pick or Critique?

Psalm 129:3 The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows.

 Nit pick or critique?

This week the Sentence Structure course is gathering in intensity. As we plow through the sentences, find kernels to expand on, write a 500 word piece to show that we’ve learned something in the way of writing a structured sentence, we are then asked to critique all the people’s lesson’s that we’ve read.

What is the difference between a critique and nit-picking. For me, a critique is going to be an overall view of the work, how it is perceived by me, the reader, and little things that I might change to make it stronger for the reading public.

A good critique will also garner you a response to how it made the reader, me, see through the eyes of the writer, you. I might go from point A to point B picking out all the highlights that made me want to keep reading, and maybe touch on the weaker points that seemed awkward and made me do a double-take.

A critique is only for you to peruse if you wish to use the thoughts of the reader, but never under any circumstance is it a must do sort of thing. You are the master of your writing and although you have suggestions placed before you, it is never a situation where you have to re-write and use what the critters advised. As you retain creative control, the suggestions are for you to use or lose. Nothing is written in stone.

Now if you are paying for a mentor’s critique, I might even go as far as pointing out grammar and punctuation. To me, all of this should be worked out before you ever post your work on the boards for your peers to see. Do you really want your critique group to see all your typo’s and errors and nit-pick and point them out to you?

Nit-pick. That is when someone finds the simplest things. A comma here, a semi-colon there; typos glaring you right in the face. Since I’m a mentor, I often have to nit-pick too so that you, the writer, can see what it is that you’re doing wrong? Maybe try a grammar course so that the the punctuation mistakes become less visible?

As you meander through a course, you should only do a repost if, 1) It is totally necessary. 2) It is within the time constraint before the next lesson and 3) It is allowed.
Sometimes you might want to ask first if the others would like to see your redo. There are busy people out in this world and getting through tons of critiques is hard, but even harder when 10 out of twenty decide to redo the lesson and there is only a minimum amount of time before the next lesson begins.

Be considerate of your classmates. They’re in there plugging away just as you are. Give a considerate feedback, not just saying ‘good work,’ but really think about what you liked and what made sense. What worked for you? This helps the reader as much as the writer!


Stormcrow said...

You nitpicker! What's a nit anyway? I'm still waiting to see that rose story.

joni said...

A nit, when I was a kid, was head lice! lol Hence the term nip-picker. eww...too much info? lol

I'll email you The Rose, since it might not be allowed on here if I send it out for publication.