Why don’t you support inline critiques? Knowledge Base

TL;DR Answer: We don't considerinline critiques to be useful enough.

The Long Answer: We understand that some members coming from other sites may be used to inline commenting tools-that such tools are not accessible in our workshop may be concerning.

However, early on we decided to make the distinction between line/copy editing and critiquing.

Other workshops have conditioned their members to believe that a line or copy edit is the same as a well-composed, and well-considered critique.

It is not.

Copy Editing

In the publishing world, a copy editor is fundamentally responsible for fact-checking (journalism, non-fiction, etc.) and protecting the publication from libel suits. A copy editor focuses on proof-reading, usually with minimal re-writing, typically ignoring syntax and prose style.

Line Editing

A line editor typically examines and edits, line-by-line, your work for SPaG1 or stylistic issues to aid comprehension and foster consistency. Line editors tend not to be concerned with aspects of story such as character or plot. Rather their focus is on your application of language-your composition.

Most copy/line editors have formal training or industry-specific experience; are contracted through publishing companies or work independently as professional consultants. Writers often hire them after receiving critiques from peers.

The product of copy/line editors' work is not an opinion specific to character, plot or story.

In contrast, a well-considered and well-composed peer critique typically ignores the mechanical aspects of composition/drafting, instead focusing on the essential elements of a story. With critiques, there are several recognized approaches, but the two most common approaches to a critique are:

The "Reader-Response" Critique

A type of critique where the reader attempts to describe what happens in their mind while interpreting the story. This type of critique may explore how a story resonates against the reader's personal beliefs and opinions of the subject.2

The "Formalist" Critique

A type of critique that examines, closely, the work itself—often it is a deconstruction of the various elements of story as an approach to interpreting the material.3

Critiques across this workshop and many others (live or online) often blend both types of critiques: borrowing the personal reactions of a reader response and structuring them to reflect a formalist critique.

Sometimes, they may be strictly one type or the other.

We encourage writers to dig deep in their feedback, forgoing examination of a story's surface elements (language) and focusing on the story's substance (content). This deeper examination benefits both the critic and writer-these deconstruction skills are immediately applicable to your personal writing projects.

Spelling, punctuation and grammar.

  1. Spelling, punctuation and grammar. ↩︎
  2. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/06/ ↩︎
  3. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/03/ ↩︎

Last Edited: 23 months ago