Slightly Odd Critiquing Terms

A client mis-interpreted a suggestion I made for her this week, and it got me thinking about some of the critiquing terms I use, which at times are slightly odd.  And since this is a blog about writing but most of the time I write about mindset, motivation, and inspiration, I thought it might be nice to actually do a post about something writing-ish. Pencil-coloured-note-9236-l

So here's a list of common phrases and words I use when critiquing:

1.  Fleshing out.  As in, put more flesh on it.  Add some heft.  Expand the scene or description or dialogue.  Make it come alive so I can see it.  Interestingly, we generally think that revising is a process of paring away.  I find most often it is a process of adding on. 

2.  Mount on the page.  God, I hope the spiders don't assume this is a porn page.  Anyway, when I talk about mounting on the page it means you have not given me the full picture yet.   The scene is no doubt alive and well in your head, but you haven't gotten all the elements to the page yet.  Similar to #1.

3.  Root in scene.  Have you ever read a manuscript where there's lots of action and dialogue but you have no idea where the characters actually are?  This is another common problem.  The fix is to go back to the location through a line of description or action every so often.  Such as, "She set the glass down on the table."  Just one line here and there can help to root the reader in the scene.

4.  G.D.  No, its not a swear word, its an abbreviation for Go Deeper.  You need to get in to the paragraph and pull it apart.  Really get to the meaning of it.  Enter the spaces between the sentences and find out what's going on.

5.  Make scene.  This is just what it sounds like.  You've probably had a long thread of narrative going and now you need you some scene.  Put the characters in action in real time, like something you'd see on a movie screen.  And now you have yourself a scene.  It is the difference between showing and telling.  Readers like showing much better.

So those are my top five critiquing phrases.  What words and phrases do you use?  Which ones have you come across?

Photo by JR3.

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10 Responses to Slightly Odd Critiquing Terms

  1. Trisha 07/07/2011 at 00:37 #

    The only one I’ve ever heard of/used myself is fleshing out. The others are all news to me!! Interesting :)

  2. J.D. Frost 07/07/2011 at 04:39 #

    Just reading these is helpful, Charlotte. I particularly like number five. I have started a book by Gin Phillips. She is young but comes with a lot of praise. I’ll keep your list in mind as I read. Maybe next I’ll tackle some seasoned author and look at how these aspects apply as I read. Thanks.

  3. Zan Marei 07/07/2011 at 05:29 #

    I’ll admit to my ignorance on these. The only one I knew was fleshing out. Now if someone wants to tell me to do all the rest, I’ll love it. ; )

  4. Jeanne Kraus 07/07/2011 at 14:43 #

    Very interesting. I will share these with my critique group. I think we just have different ways to say them but I kind of like having a new way to say them. Your topics are so great for us.

  5. Charlotte Dixon 07/07/2011 at 14:52 #

    Well, I’m glad to see that everyone is commenting because I have been locked out of responding to your comments! Crazy. Here’s hoping that this time it works.

    Jeanne, so pleased you’ll be sharing these with your critique group, and glad you are enjoying the topics. Thanks for reading!

  6. Charlotte Dixon 07/07/2011 at 14:53 #

    Okay, yay, the last comment worked. Now I can catch up with the rest of you:

    Trish, glad you had heard of it. My client was very confused by the term and actually thought it meant the opposite from what I did!

    J.D, yeah, a lack of scene is one of the biggest problems I see. I’ve not heard of Gin Phillips, but I’ll check her out.

    Zan Marie, consider yourself told. :-) Kidding, because I know you already do a lot of this in your work (judging by reading your blog) but sometimes I do think we need that little extra push to go a bit further.

  7. gt281 07/09/2011 at 18:50 #

    Not to make a fuss
    But I must, I must
    Why forth art thou Google Plus?
    Am I part of your reply all?
    Or am I the belle of the ball?
    I can not divine it out
    So when you are about
    Do give me a shout
    And tell me what for tis about….

  8. Charlotte Dixon 07/10/2011 at 08:39 #

    Fine, be that way, then. But at least you got a poem out of it.

  9. Susan Kelly 07/15/2011 at 22:32 #

    Those sound like really helpful comments for a writer to see on her ms. Yummy, even!

  10. Charlotte Dixon 07/16/2011 at 08:20 #

    Thanks, Susan. Love the word yummy! Reminds me that I used to love eating paper when I was little. I guess words were nourishing me even then.

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