5 Reasons Fiction Writers should use Critique Circle

Critique Circle is a free website that helps writers get feedback on their stories. It also lets you critique other writers’ stories. To use the site, you need to create a (free) account.

I’ve used Critique Circle for my WIP novel, and a recent short story. Basically, I posted excerpts from these stories onto Critique Circle, and members of the site gave me feedback.

Editing is all about gaining objectivity so that you can see your story as it truly is. Software like Pro Writing Aid helps you gain objectivity, and Critique Circle also provides objectivity in bucketloads through allowing you to get feedback from other writers.

Here’s 5 reasons you should use Critique Circle:

1. Improves your editing skills

To submit a story to be critiqued, you first need to get ‘credits.’ You get credits by critiquing other writers’ stories. This is a great system, because it develops your critical evaluation skills. What’s more, seeing flaws in another person’s stories might help you realise that those same flaws exist in your story. I know this has happened to yours truly a bunch of times!

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Character Goals: the Key to Great Conflict

“Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Character motivation is the key to great stories. If you think about the stories you love, chances are they’re great because everyone in them has clear goals, dreams and desires. The clashes between these goals, dreams and desires creates conflict.

For example, in Game of Thrones, every character has a clear goal. These goals make each character seem more lifelike. They also give readers a reason to root for each of the characters, which is an impressive feat considering that each book in the series features 10+ point of view characters!

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Using the 6 Types of Conflict to Create Pitch-Perfect Tension

Conflict is the lifeblood of stories. However, most of the time we think conflict can only happen between characters.

This isn’t the case. In fact, there are many other types of conflict writers can create. But before we get to those, let’s define conflict.

Conflict = result of a force stopping a character getting what they want …

… Which creates tension.

Most of the time, this opposing force will be another character. However, this force could also be a whole bunch of other things. Let’s look at the different types of conflict:

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Improve your Prose by Varying Sentence Length

Whatever you’re writing, there’s one sure-fire way to make your prose more engaging:

Vary the length of your sentences.

Rather than explain why this is important, I’m going to give an example:

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.


Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important. – 100 Ways To Improve Your Writing, by Gary Provost

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