How To-sday: Motive

A few weeks ago, I wrote a basic overview of the method we use during our critique sessions. Now, I think it's time to go into each section in a little more detail. So, let's start at the very beginning; a very good place to start. Motive.

This part is easily overlooked as silly. It's easy to kind of blow it off and give a slapdash answer. But it is one of the most helpful parts of the method. As a reader, trying to briefly describe the plot and themes can really help you understand the piece. Or show you what you didn't understand. And for the writer, this is where you first get to hear what your readers got out of your piece.

So, the plot is easy. All you have to do is quickly lay out the action of what you just read. You don't have to get into every detail. Just the basic, briefest description is fine. Use bullet points if you like. Just do it as clearly and concisely as you can.

The themes can be a little... harder. Each reader might find something different and that's fine. There is no right answer. Or wrong answer, for that matter. It's just what you see.

The trick here is to not give an opinion. At this point, your job as a reader is to simply state what you see without saying whether you like it or not. At this point, we are still in the judgment free zone.

As a writer, your only job at this point is to listen. Hear what your readers are telling you. Don't argue with them. Just. Listen. If you have questions, jot them down and ask them later, during the author question period. But for now, just listen.

Tune in next week for more on M.O.