Who’s on First? What’s on Second? (Part II)

by Elizabeth Rusch
Published on: January 21, 2012
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Part Two: Who gives comments first?

If you’ve given many verbal critiques in your life, you know that it can be a bummer to be the last person to speak. Everyone has already said everything you were going to say! The only thing worse is if you are ALWAYS thelast person to give a critique.

So how can you make sure this doesn’t happen in your critique group? It depends on your group.

If you are all considerate, thoughtful, self-aware people, you might not have to do anything formal. Someone excited to give comments will start and you jump around as people volunteer. Or after someone starts, you go around the table from there. This works if no one tries to go first or second more than once. (This is mostly how the Scrivas handle it.)

If someone seems to go first more often than not, or if someone always seems to be stuck last, there is a simple solution. Start with the person to the left of the writer whose work is being critiqued and go clockwise from there. Everyone goes first, everyone goes last, and everyone is happy.

P.S. I don’t mind going last. I like tailoring my comments to what has already been said. And hearing other people’s comments gives me more ideas which I can share on the spot.

Elizabeth Rusch



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