Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Milford Method

I've been having problems with critiquing at a new writer's group over the last few months. It's the method of critiquing that has been of importance to them.

Now, being somebody who has been critiquing the same way for the past 20 years, I didn't think there was any new way of doing this. And it took me long enough to learn the way I do it now. So, when I heard about this Milford Method, I didn't believe in it at first - seeing I hadn't heard of it before - so I did some Googling and found there were a few different ways of doing it. But all of them included the person being critiqued to sit quietly while the people who critiqued their work tell them what's wrong with what they've written. This takes around 20 minutes to do, something I can't hold onto in my memory. For those who know me very well in Real Life, you know I have bad recall; and the very idea of sitting through 20 minutes of people telling me things while I sit quietly is huge and quite draining. Most of the time, I just don't remember anything that's been said. And then, I'm handed my piece of writing with suggestions written in and I'm expected to remember the added-on bits they have told me; even though they've written a short piece on the back page of what's what in their opinion.

So, this Milford Method isn't something that works for me; in more ways than one. There is another half.

The way you critique is chopped up into tiny segments. This sounds good, but really I don't work this way. I read the way I edit: I'll read the piece - fixing up the tiny errors as I go through. Then, I'll read it again, going through it with a fine-tooth comb - ie: my editor's cap on. Then, the third time around, I open a new document on the computer and start taking notes (eg: Page 1, paragraph 3: ....) and I'll go from there in a more informal description of what needs to fixed up, looked into, worked on and examined. Then? I save the document, the edited piece of writing and email it back to the author - including the two documents - and it's all done without printing out a single thing. 

I don't leave anything out, I write everything I need to say in this document and so when it comes down to it, when I attend the writer's meeting, they don't have to ask me any questions about their work, they have everything I want to say to them via an email. I also talk about their work in the group - repeating what I've told them to the group. 

However, the group's leader doesn't see how my critiquing method is best and wants me to change it. I have tried it out and find his way isn't something I can work with. Have you guys critiqued somebody else's work? Is there more than one way to critique or do you use the Milford Method as well? Seeing I use one type of method - which I find is easier for me than the Milford Method - what method do you use? I'm just asking as I have come up against some people who think I'm being too critical about this new method. Until my next post, happy reading.

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