Today I read Jody Hedlund's excellent article, 5 Tips For Finding a Competent & Compatible Critique Partner. If you are looking for a someone to give you feedback on your stories, it is well worth the read.
As I read Jody's article I remembered a post by Nathan Brandsford from a few years ago on how he (NB was an agent at the time) evaluated a manuscript and whether it was necessary for him to like it. (It wasn't.)
I didn't find it--I'll pass along the link if I ever do, it was a great article--but I happened across this one by Rick Daley on how to write a critique.
Rick Daley: How To Write A Critique
I recommend the sandwich approach, where you start with a positive point, give an honest opinion of what doesn’t work for you (may be multiple points), and then end with another positive point or words of encouragement. I’ve found that the sandwich approach helps put recipients at ease (especially if they are hungry). It makes people more receptive to constructive criticism and keeps them from getting overly defensive. If you are taking the time to provide the feedback, you should want the person to actually do something with it.Excellent advice! I encourage you to read the rest of his article: Critiquing Critiques.
Other articles you might like:- How Robert J. Sawyer Writes A Novel
- Walter Benjamin's Advice To Writers
- How To Create A Villain Your Readers Will Love To Hate
Photo credit: "Army Photography Contest - 2007 - FMWRC - Arts and Crafts - A Plumpish Proportion" by familymwr under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.