Oliver has a long, highly informative chat with author, actor, and voice actor J.M. Frey about her experiences as a writer, including what happens when your book grows to around the 200K word mark, self-publishing, the challenges of author exhaustion (incl. frank discussion of how the economics of publishing deals have evolved), when she received her first piece of fan art based on her work, and more! Jess is terribly knowledgeable, and we strongly recommend you check out her site not only for all the great advice it contains, but also to study how Jess presents herself online.
Working as a sensitivity reader or a beta reader for a writer friend is one of the greatest joys of being part of the writing community. You get to read a new story before anyone else and you have the privilege of helping your writer friend turn their just-pulled-from-the-cave-wall stone into a highly polished, beautifully cut, sparkling diamond.
Obviously there are no hard-and-fast rules about what you should and should not be doing as a critique partner (beyond Wheaton’s Law). You and your author will find your own communication style and rhythm, as well as levels of honesty and helpfulness that you’re both comfortable with. However, the whole point of stepping up as a critique partner is to support your writer friend and help them make the book they’ve written the best version of itself that it can be.
Sometimes this means you have to point out flaws, but it also means that you should be pointing out the stuff that’s good, that really works for you, and connects with you emotionally as a reader. Writers need to know not just what needs to change, but also what needs to stay the same.
If your characters are the lens through which the reader experiences your story, and you the writer are the glassmaker, then vocabulary makes up the grains of sand which create the glass. Likewise, tone is the mold into which you pour your hot glass to set the lens.
Some grains will be hard, rough, imperfect; and, poured into a straight-edged mold, would make a wonderful lens for, say, a gritty detective story. Some will be dark, and smooth, and sharp, combined in a rough mold that produces a lens that is uneven and hard to see through, making it suitable for gothic romance. Some will be filled with glitter, poured into a star-shaped mold, ideal for magic and fantasy.
Your combination of Voice, Vocabulary and Tone create the Narrative Voice that is unique to your work and your book.