Two people will never write the same sentence, let alone a paragraph or a story. But I keep seeing people re-writing other’s work in such a way as to impose their own creative vision, under implication that the way they re-wrote it is necessarily better. I think it is important to acknowledge the difference between real critique and a personal opinion. Competent and useful critique consist of getting into the writer’s head, understanding their thought process and then whilst remaining true to their style, helping them correct some errors. Because, critique is not an exercise in how I would write something, but how what the writer already wrote can be improved. For example, one of the tricks to writing an engaging narrative is to vary your sentence length. The idea behind it is that by varying the rhythm, we are adding to the interest and better flow because if three or four consecutive sentences are roughly the same length and structure, the rhythm becomes repetitive and repetitive quickly loses our attention. To critique pieces by compulsively shortening and summarising every thought is easy but not necessarily helpful because creative writing is not a competition in sentence length or in using this or that method to emphasise various things like internal dialogue and such. Register to remove this ad Imposing our own style on someone else is not helpful to them, at the best of times it can lose us respect as a critic, at the worst - make the writer lose all confidence. The beauty of literature is its variety, so we shouldn’t get carried away or put our own ego before the needs of the person who put their work up for a critique. What do you think?