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Friday, August 19, 2011

My Gratitude Journal: Critics

PLEASE NOTE: I am running my first-ever contest. To learn more, click on the little blue "Contest" tag at right. Welcome!

I'm grateful for critics? Really? Well, yes, but for a variety of very good reasons.

Over time critics have given us the tools for analyzing and discussing writing. We've learned to categorize in terms of different stylistic devices, organizational structures and points of view.

Critics gave us terms like "stream of consciousness." They observed and gave names to structures ("sonnet" or "quatrain"; "novel" and "novella") and they parsed those structures into understandable bits (an iambic foot, for example) and helped us understand how to talk about them.

Critics have helped us see that what works for some writers and some audiences will not work for others, which is why no one tries to write "Hamlet" in all its complexity for middle-grade students. They've helped us understand the needs of different readers.

People who write analytical reviews help us to know whether we are the correct audience for certain writers or pieces of writing, and they help those of us who write to improve future work.

Today I am grateful for critics. May they always be kind to me.

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