How to be a Great Wattpad Critic (In 5 Easy Steps) 

For this weeks post I’ll be focusing on something that has been a big part of my Wattpad journey: critiques. They’ve helped me not only teach others, but gain friends, followers, and feedback for myself. While it is tons of fun, being a Wattpad critic isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here are 5 steps to get your critic journey going, and going well.

1. Advertise! 

Wattpaders won’t know you’re a critic if you aren’t advertising! Head straight to the designated help thread and post an advertisement. Here’s mine, made from a simple photo editing app. Picture advertisements will help you stand out in a long thread. 

2. Ditch the Complicated Sign Ups

I’ve mentioned in past posts about how much I hate special forms when seeking help from other Wattpadders. Forget forms, special passwords, etc when having others request your service. Keep is short and sweet. Explain what you’re willing to help with and your payment. Don’t ask for story descriptions, titles, or say, “what you’re looking for help with” etc, either. I’m going to get real here. If you’re a critic, you should be helping with everything, not ignoring some things and pointing out others. 

3. Don’t Sugar Coat, but Don’t be Mean Either

ALWAYS be polite and honest when performing a critique. Even if the book is literally the worst thing you’ve ever seen and every sentence makes you want to rip your eyes out, don’t resort to saying things like, “this sucks.” But don’t only point out the positives either. Our job as critics is to help others improve their work. Even seasoned writers feel hurt when getting negative feedback. It’s part of the writing process. 

4. Always Re-Read Your Feedback

Having a sophisticated, grammatically correct feedback post or comment will not only improve your reputation with the author, but can even attract others to seek your feedback after seeing your post in the comments section. Always re-read your feedback before posting to make sure there are no errors, and to see that you’ve said everything you meant to. 

5. Respect the Author’s Feelings

Many times, authors will be very unhappy with even the slightest amount of negative feedback. They may say things like, “Thanks, but I disagree.” Or “Thanks for your feedback, but I’m not changing that.” And you know what, that’s OKAY. Never feel like you wasted your time doing a critique for someone who doesn’t want to listen right now. Eventually they may change their minds and fix their work, and your comment will still be there for reference. 

The 3 Dos and Don’ts of Writing Flashbacks

Flashbacks seemed to have become more and more popular in writing. Instead of telling a story, many young authors use flashbacks to show what happened. However, most of the time they’re done wrong. So, without further adue, here are some Dos and Don’ts for flashbacks.

DO: Use regular text
Many writers put all of their flashbacks in bold or italics for some reason. This shouldn’t be the case. All flashbacks can go in regular text.

DON’T: Put rediculous things in the middle of the text
All to often I’ve seen readers tell a story, then cut out and use things like FLASHBACK and END OF FLASHBACK.

DO: Incorporate the flashback into the current text
Flashbacks aren’t meant to take readers out of the action. Flow with them right into the story. Here is one example:

I sat and looked out the window, images of us together in the back of my mind. When we got together is was a warm, June day. I was reading a magazine in Plant Park when all of a sudden, this sweaty man with the curliest hair I’ve ever seen went jogging past…

DON’T: Put a flashback in the first chapter
Terrible idea. Why would you want to take your readers out of the action by telling them a story about the past?

DO: Save flashbacks for the second chapter
Second chapters are meant for backstory and getting to know your characters better. The perfect place for flashbacks.

DON’T: Suddenly time travel
All too often I’ve been reading a chapter and I suddenly see something like “Six years ago:” and then a different story. Again, incorporate this into the text.

Six years ago today, I was walking alone at night on Cass Street when a homeless man approached me…

With these tips, hopefully now everyone will be writing flashbacks a bit better.