Critiquing Tips

I decided to add to my post from yesterday and give you guys some critiquing guidelines.

Over the past few semesters at school I’ve collected some helpful questions to ask while editing; whether it’s your own work or someone else’s.

So, feel free to use these as you wish. They certainly help me.

Critiquing Tips:

1. Does the opening of the story hook you? Do you want to read more?

2. Do you see conflict in the story? Inner conflict happens within the characters in the story and outer conflict is when the will and longings of different people collide.

3. Is the plot clear and believable? Do you get answers to questions that come to mind as you read?

4. Is the setting vividly described? Is there a lot of detail or too many details? Does the author use all five senses (smell, touch, hearing, sight, and taste)?

5. Do you sympathize with the main character? Do you share his/her emotions and care about what happens to him/her? Is he/she believable and seems “alive”? Does the author tell us much about him, her, such as what he/she does for a living, what his/her hobbies are, whether he/she has a family or not, friends or co-workers? What he/she cares about?

6. Is there dialogue in the story? Too much or too little? Is it believable? Can you “hear” it?

7. Does the author use the same tense or does he/she roam between past tense and present tense?

8. What is the point of view (POV) in the story? Is the author consistent in the POV use or does he/she sometimes switch? Do you think the chosen POV is working out well or would the story improve with a different POV?

9. Does the author show you things instead of telling you about them?

10. Do you see any moral message in the story?

11. What’s the strongest part of the story? What’s the weakness part of the story?

12. What’s your general opinion about the story?

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12 thoughts on “Critiquing Tips

  1. Good list, Rachel. Thank you.

    I gained some insight into your second point from Dramatica. They speak of a main plot throughline (exterior conflict, i.e. the plot) and a personal thoughline ( a key personal relationship). As such the plot could be about how a certain historic battle was won or lost, and the personal throughline could be the close bond forged between a field nurse and a soldier, for example.

    It’s just a different way of looking at the same thing. In other words, a main character may not have any inner conflict, and the ‘external conflict’ goes under the banner of plot.

Let me know your thoughts!

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