Please post this under your entry. Use the badge in the right-hand sidebar

Although I've copied the dictionary's definition of critique,
I've also rewritten it to show what the definition of critique is for the
WEP-Write…Edit…Publish Challenges.
Please note the importance / direction of those changes.

Critique is a method of disciplined, systematic analysis of a written or oral discourse. Although critique is commonly understood as fault finding and negative judgment, it can also involve merit recognition, and in the philosophical tradition it also means a methodical practice of doubt.

For the WEP a critique is:

A WEP critique involves constructive feedback or positive reinforcement of the writer while helping reign in problems or giving helpful suggestions.
The point is to be helpful, not hurtful.

The WEP is a place where writers can confidently share their work without fear of harsh words or biting feedback. No matter what the choice is by the author of the type of critique:

 FCA – Full Critique Acceptable / MPA – Minor Points Acceptable / NCCO No Critique, Comments Only.

A positive evaluation does not mean that you can't find fault; the key is to find the one thing about the writing that makes it shine first. In some critique lore, this is called the Hamburger Method - positive, negative, positive, for example.

Remember when you read another's work, what is it that you want to hear regarding your writing? Remember too, that fake praise is almost worse than harsh comments.

If you discover a major error, don't just point it out, help with an example for fixing it. If you're uncomfortable being critical, send a personal email. However, if there's a misspelling or comma out of place, most writers appreciate knowing that. We all do it, and fixing it is easy. Like having spinach in your teeth, you want to know now, not find out hours after the date is over. UGH!

A critic once told me the male point of view was effeminate. I couldn't see it. I wanted an example; I wanted help making it non-effeminate. An example makes the difference because it's constructive.

Another example is POV changes that aren't apparent to the writer but stand out to the reader. Head hopping – the reader always sees it, and the writer wants to see it too.

For my first challenge, I wanted a picture drawn, and my critics obliged. I learned something valuable and didn't feel picked on or stupid.

The point is we all want our work to shine, we want perfection, the real thing, not just kind words, but beneficial feedback that leads us to the writer we want to be.

An editor once told me that if you have your work critiqued by several readers, and they all point out something that needs changing, they're nearly always right--but if they tell you how to change it, they're nearly always wrong. Sometimes it's just enough to say that something didn't work for you. 

When you receive critique on your WEP post, don't take it down, edit it, then re-post. We're all here to learn. We all make the same bloopers. This is one of the ways we learn and grow here at WEP. After the show is over, go to it, but leave the original up.

As the badge at the top of the page says, please clarify what type of critique you want by using the codes below along with your word count.

Full Critique Acceptable: "FCA"
Minor Points Acceptable: "MPA"
No Critique, Comments Only: "NCCO"
Post the code after the word count: example:
Word count 986: MPA

Each writer makes the choice they're comfortable with. Respect the choice and be constructive with your comments. Those of us who've been around a long time have grown a tough skin; others may not receive critique without being hurt and therefore deciding WEP is not for them. Please be respectful and ask for/use the email facility when it's the right choice. And don't offer critique if someone has not requested it.

If no choice is made, NCCO applies.

Just to recap - 
To the writers –

Please use the badge/codes to indicate the level of critique you want. If you don’t want a critical evaluation, then please remember to use NCCO after your work.  Reading critically takes concentration and time, and writing useful critiques is also a time-intensive and demanding job. Please be mindful of your readers’ time and don’t make them write a detailed critique which is superfluous because you don’t need/aren’t ready for it.

To the critiquers

Please remember that  at WEP all participants in a particular Challenge are expected to read every entry regardless of reading/genre preferences. Only those who read and comment on most entries are considered for the prizes. The sole genre prohibition is erotica.

Some guidelines to provide useful critiques to the ones who want FCA –

1.          Frame the critique from the POV of the writer, not the reader’s. It’s not about what you’d like to read. This is the story the writer wants to write, that’s a given - how can s/he write it better, keeping true to his/her own style/voice? How can you contribute to make the writing shine better?
2.          Be helpful, not judgemental. Not everyone is at the same point in the writing journey. Not everyone is coming here with the same experience or skill. Each of us has had unique life experiences which may not be on their blog profiles and/or widely known. Be mindful and sensitive.
3.          Be specific, make the critique actionable. Can the story start at a different point to make it more interesting? Can a character be fleshed out in a different way? Is there too much/too little description? Think of specific things that would make the flow smoother, the reading/writing experience richer.
4.          Be courteous, address the writing, not the writer. Don’t make the critique into an attack. Remember there is no one perfect way to tell a story.

If,  for whatever reason, you feel unable to provide a critique to a particular story, and that’s perfectly okay to feel too,  just leave a comment saying you were there, you read the entry and thank the writer for posting it.  Play nice. It’s easy.


  1. Hi Denise! I'm glad you presented a choice of critique level. Your guidelines are very good. Looking forward to seeing how this new routine goes.

  2. I had somehow missed this page all this time! One thorough, objective critique is worth ten times its weight in words, imo :~)

  3. Brilliant advice - not just for WEP posts, but for writing critiques in general. One very minor point: horses tend to have 'reins' as aids and Royalty 'reigns' to impose their beliefs - therefore writers need to rein in their problems. Well, that's how I remember - even when it rains. Isn't our English language fun. And as for those wheelbarrows...

  4. Hi Denise, I have just read through this post thoroughly and realized I may have hurt some feelings on this cafe terrace. Special apologies to Toi with regards to critiquing the French culture content of her story and to Bernadette on the origins of the café in France.
    It was not about the writing, so I should have shut my big French mouth .... Will be more careful in the future.

  5. I am looking forward to seeing how this goes, the various critique levels are such a fabulous idea. Thanks for the advice!


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