Potential questions to consider when critiquing

by Cas Blomberg

  1. What works well with this piece? What stands out? 

  2. How do you feel about the dialogue? Was it authentic? Engaging? 

  3. Did each character project a unique voice? 

  4. Did each character's motivations stand out?  

  5. Which character did you identify with the most and why? 

  6. How do you feel about the level of depth in the characters? 

  7. Which three words would you use to describe the protagonist? Or antagonist? 

  8. Did you trust the narrator? Was he or she consistent throughout the piece? 

  9. What did you think about the balance between exposition, dialogue, and action? 

  10. Do you think the structure works? Did the scenes lead into each other?

  11. Were any events out of order, and if so, did that work? 

  12. Did you feel as if any scenes were missing? 

  13. Did you know where the story was going? 

  14. What was your favorite scene or line? 

  15. How did you feel about the tension the author created? Did you want more, less, or was it perfect? 

  16. Which themes could you identify in the piece? 

  17. Did you pick up on any symbolism? Do you think it adds to, or detracts from, the story?

  18. Which sensory details spoke to you the most? 

  19. Did the narrator reveal too much information? 

  20. What did you think of the pacing? Too fast? Not enough time to breathe? Perfect? Too slow? 

  21. What would you like to see more of? 

Presenting your written work for critique

By Ron Pavellas

When you present your writing in a format which is easily read, it is not only considerate of your colleagues, it increases the chance that your work will receive its best attention.

So, how to present one’s work? Consider these subjects:

Font design
Font size
Line spacing
Margins
Pagination

Font design
Function is more important than form here. Pretty fonts may not please everyone. It has been shown that, in general, fonts with serifs are more quickly recognized and understood. I am most comfortable with Times New Roman and Garamond. Your group should agree upon what font design is preferable. Your group might want also to consider Courier New as your preferred font. It sometimes is requested by agents and publishers.

Font size
Twelve point is most easily read. If your group thinks 12-point seems too large for Times New Roman, try Garamond at 12-point. Of course, there are many other choices. These two are offered as a starting point.

Line spacing
I recommend “1.5 lines.”

Margins
I recommend a minimum of one inch at all four edges. Your group might want to exceed this for one or more of the edges.

Pagination
Much time will be lost during a discussion if the number of the page is in question, or pages are not physically connected. I recommend bottom right placement, where the eye most quickly lands after reading a full page.