Recently, we had a discussion in my creative writing class about not using "The Compliment Sandwich" when discussing someone's writing, but to just give them straight commentary about the problems of the piece and what needs to be improved to make the piece correct or slightly enjoyable. Not say anything that works with the piece or anything nice.
I am all for the compliment sandwich! I'll even serve with some nice freshly cut strawberries. I understand letting another writer know that what they wrote isn't really working, but since this is such a hard industry I think we could also use a little sugar coating, as long as the truth is clearly spelled out for the person. We don't need to insult them, but we do need to give them accurate advice.
Jen's character is interesting with her desire to walk kittens as a career. But at the same time, she lacks any depth. She has no other desires or goals in life. Jen doesn't have any relationships other than Tabby, her cat. Try adding another character - human character and give Jen some goals. What does she like to eat? What does do her spare time? Does she have any super powers? You've got a good beginning, but it needs more.
It's helpful and it doesn't destroy the writer. This would probably be different if the work was terrible. But it can be done. I had to critique a classmate's paper that had no conflict, the character's life was perfect, she lived with a guy that we (the reader) didn't know if he was a friend, boyfriend, brother, or just roommate, and it was riddled with simple spelling errors. She's a college student in a writing class. Not the best, but I didn't tear her down or the work. I gave her a lot of different ways to improve it.
As fellow writers, I think we should encourage each other to be better and to keep writing. Writing is a difficult dream and sometimes a nice little sandwich on the way is helpful. It lets us know what's wrong, but it also lifts us up.
Sometimes we do need tough love if nothing is redeeming or good in the story, but most of the time... I'm kind and I'd rather encourage with help. :)
What do you think?