3-2-1 workshopping

My friend explains today how her writing group has learned to prioritize critiques so that the most important information gets emphasized most to the writer getting critiqued. Check it out:

In my writing group, we use the 3-2-1 system for giving critiques. We start off our critiques talking about good things. Then, when we’re ready to jump into criticism, we start with level 3 comments–meaning comments that are such large problems that you would put the piece down and not pick it back up (if you were a reader), or you would reject it (if you were an editor). When we’ve gotten through those, we move on to level 2 comments, or things that bothered you, but weren’t deal-breakers. Then we move onto level 1–the small things that probably don’t matter that much, the copyediting stuff, the little itches you want to talk about but probably don’t make a difference in the sale of the piece.

If you have ever been in a writing group that focuses too much on sentence-l
evel problems and not enough on the big picture, perhaps this tip might be useful to you!