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Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Start writing fiction: characters and stories

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3.3.2 Commenting on work

Figure 9

Reading the work of other writers who are trying the same tasks as you can be invaluable. It will speed up the development of your editorial skills.

Activity 3.3: Reading fellow writers’ work

Now, if you exchanged your writing, read work by your fellow writers and give some feedback.

  • Use the writing guidelines from the previous activity as headings for your comments. These are:
    • How was the central character portrayed and was this portrayal clear and interesting?
    • What made you think this piece was a story and did you want to read on?
    • What were the most, and least, successful aspects of the writing?
  • Ensure that you make at least one positive comment and at least one critical comment about each piece.
  • Give reasons for your comments, don’t just say ‘I liked this’ or ‘I didn’t like that’.
  • Check the guidance in the Feedback guidance PDF [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]  on giving and receiving review comments.

Exchanging work not only accelerates your writing and editing development but puts you in the privileged position of having a reader pay attention to your work. They will have a reciprocal interest in the work and they will be well-placed to offer objective feedback.

Reading reviews on your own writing

In feedback on your own writing, you will probably have received comments about:

  • sentence-level editing, changing word order and using different words
  • the portrayal of character, and whether the reader has been able to see the character
  • structure and whether the passage works as a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Remember the guidance in the Feedback guidance PDF – always pause on any feedback that you receive. Don’t plunge straight into editing and rewriting.

If there are several comments about the same element then it usually means there is an issue there. If you want to resist some suggestions and observations, you may well be right – but make sure your reasoning is sound.