As I look at my “style” of critiquing/beta reading, I’m reminded of words of wisdom from Project Runway:
Edit, edit, edit.
Except in this case it’s not words of wisdom, but words of stupidity. The way I’ve been critiquing is essentially editing, which is something that, if I choose to do that kind of read-through, I should be getting paid for. Editors can make some pretty decent bank, and I’ve been essentially offering the service for free because I can’t edit my, er, editing.
Let me clarify. In the Project Runway example, the judges want the contestants to learn to “edit” their work and tone it back when they’ve gotten too many ideas all at once. Seeing as how I have too many “ideas” in my critiques, I need to tone it back and not do a line-by-line critique, which is basically leaving the realm of critiquing and moving on into freelance editing (emphasis on free).
I’ve “critiqued” this way for, like, a couple of years. So wrong. I feel kinda stupid, because I have been confusing editing with proofreading (which are not the same thing). I thought that since I wasn’t specifically looking for grammar errors, it wasn’t “editing.”
So time to edit the editing. Rethink my approach. Reboot. (Gods, I hate the term “reboot” these days…Thanks, Hollywood.) Chill on the minutiae and focus on the bigger picture. I’ll probably enjoy what I’m reading more, and maybe the person receiving the critique won’t feel like I’m nitpicking every single aspect of their work.