40 Days of Worksheets – Day 31

ramonagravitarWorksheet #31 – Critique Tips

You’re asked to comment on a colleague’s work. How do you do this in a sensitive and helpful way?

  1. What did you like best about what you read, as a reader?
  2. What did you think the author did particularly well, as a writer?
  3. After reading this section, what do think this story is about?
  4. Are the characters intriguing?
  5. What do you think about the setting?
  6. Is there enough action to grab your interest?
  7. Is there anything you don’t understand?
  8. Are there technical errors (grammar, typos, etc.)?
  9. Are there parts that are flat or dull?
  10. What suggestions would you offer for the writer to consider?

Please note: All worksheets posted are my original work and intellectual property. I ask that you share the links on social media, and you are welcome to share the worksheets with your critique groups and writing friends with credit given. That being said, these worksheets—despite being posted on the Internet—may not be copied, distributed, or published as anyone’s work but mine. In short: sharing is good, plagiarism is bad.

Disclaimer #2: You may post your completed worksheet if you’d like, but please remember that, by doing so, you are sharing your ideas with all of the Internet. You’ve been warned.

4 Tough Questions for Your Critique Group

cropped-ramonagravitar.jpgCritique groups are great. I have participated in several, of different sizes and styles, and each one taught me to be a better writer. Reading works in progress allowed me to see how stories grew and, from those lessons, I became a more astute reader. Continue reading

Retreat Report

I spent the past few days at the Cape Henlopen Poets & Writers Retreat, a four-day immersion retreat sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts. We stayed in the lovely Cape Henlopen State Park, and housed in the Biden Center, a former naval training center now renovated and open for groups and events.

An immersion retreat is one that focuses on the creative expression of your choice. We were all literary artists: 8 poets, 8 prose writers. Continue reading

11 Questions for Your Editor

When I review a story, whether for a client or a peer, I’m always happy when the author points out their concerns.

“Is the voice consistent?” “I’m worried that my child narrator sounds too old.” “Does the nautical language throw you?” “Is the love scene too graphic?”

Although I have my own method of critiquing, I’m willing to address what concerns a writer. Recently, however, a client took this to a new level. He sent me a list of questions after I’d completed the edit. I was taken aback, I admit, until I read the questions.  They’re good questions. I answered them, and then asked if I could share.

With my client’s permission, I am printing below a list of questions you might ask a professional editor, a beta reader, or anyone who critiques your work.

1. Is this story complex enough and interesting enough to be worthy of a novel length effort? If not, what, in your opinion, would make it so?

 2. Did the mystery work for you? If not, why not?

3. As a reader, would you care enough about the characters and plot to continue reading if you were not doing an edit? What, in your opinion, can be done to make the story stronger, more intriguing?

4.  Are the characters developed well enough? Are the characters credible, real enough, emotional enough? Are there characters you would like to have seen more fully developed?

5. Are the sub-plots engaging and well enough developed? What can make them stronger?

6.  Was the ending appropriate? Was it what you expected? What ending would make the story stronger, more intriguing?

7. What did you expect to see in the story but didn’t? Does the writer fulfill his promise to the reader?

 8.  If a friend asked you about the book, what you liked, what you didn’t like and if you would recommend it, what would you tell them?

9. Was the writing professional? What would make it stronger?

10. Assuming your edit recommendations are followed, would this manuscript be ready for submission to prospective agents? What would make it stronger?

11.  What three things would make this a better novel?

Don’t be afraid to share your concerns about your writing with your editor or trusted reader. You are on the same team, with the same goal–to make your story stronger.

Ramona