Amazing Kids! Magazine

Bring Out the Best in Each Other!

By Sophie Nadel, Writer’s Tips Editor

 

Sharing your work is a huge step in any writer’s journey. It can be intimidating to display stories that you’re not confident about, or poetry that might not have came out exactly as you wanted. However, when you exchange work with your friends and comment on each other’s pieces, you are giving yourself the opportunity to make your writing as strong as it can be! Peer editing is a perfect way to gain multiple opinions for your own work. Your friends can suggest where to add more detail, include more dialogue, or even how to proceed with the plot if you’re stuck on writer’s block. As I mentioned before, though, sharing work can be nerve-wracking, so here are some tips for how to provide and accept feedback graciously.

Warm Feedback

Chances are, sharing your work makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t worry, though; it’s the same for everyone! It takes courage for people to show their work, so always make sure that you provide plenty of warm feedback to your revision partner. Warm feedback is everything your partner did exceptionally well. For example, if you believe that your partner provided excellent descriptions, say it! If your partner did incredibly realistic dialogue, write a note at the end of the story. Even highlighting one line in the piece with the caption, “I love this!” or “Nice job here!” will uplift your partner. Noting your partner’s specific strengths will help his or her writing as well as their confidence. Positive reinforcement will encourage your partner to continue writing!

Constructive Feedback

Even if you included plenty of warm feedback, avoid cold feedback entirely. Telling your revision partner, “this part stinks,” will not help at all. Instead, use constructive feedback. When you use constructive feedback, you don’t tell your partner what part of their work is bad; you explain how it could be stronger. Highlight a paragraph that’s weak in setting or grammar and suggest edits that would improve the issue. It’s also important to be gentle with your language and suggest rather than command. Rather than saying, “You need more detail here,” which sounds harsh, give advice. “Consider adding more details in here” is more polite and will make your partner feel less pressured to accept them and more open to receiving your suggestions. While you edit, keep in mind that the work does not belong to you, so final say in revision always belongs to the original author.

Be Open to Suggestions

The last sections in this article offered tips on how to provide feedback to other people pleasantly. However, there is etiquette for receiving suggestions as well. As I mentioned before, when other people edit your work, you have final say in the revision process. You have to decide what is best for your own writing and make edits accordingly. That being said, you must be open-minded to other people’s feedback. The revision stage does not mean you are done writing. Actually, revision has the potential to be a lot of work. Before you start revising, realize this and resolve to never reject a suggestion only because you think will take too much effort to consider. As a writer myself, I understand that it can be difficult to even consider some suggestions that seem completely out of place with your original plan. Sometimes, though, the most outlandish suggestions will transform your writing entirely for the better. If you aren’t certain whether to accept a suggestion, make a copy of your story or poem and complete the proposal in one so you can compare both versions. The most important thing to remember when peer reviewing, though, is to never take criticism personally! You have to remember that your friends are trying to help you by reviewing your work, not insult you.

Peer review is a vital step in the writing process. After sharing your work a few times, you will find that your confidence, as well as your writing, has improved tremendously. Always remember to revise other people’s work civilly so that you can boost their talents and confidence, too. Revise with your friends and have fun!

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