This week: Checklist for CritiquingEdited by: Reader? Check out 2233315
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"Books aren't written - they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it." - Michael Crichton
One of the hardest reviews to do is on yourself and it can also be the most important. Learning to critique your own work can be difficult but it's not impossible. Another option is a critiquing partner. If you can find someone that you trust that can go over your work without stifling your voice, you have found a valuable asset. Until you find that person, here is a possible list of ideas to check on in your own writing or when you're reviewing.
Checklist for Critiquing:
Do the characters have depth? Do they sound the same, or are they individuals?
Do each character's goals and motivation make sense?
Do they conflict with the other characters?
Does each character have internal conflict? External conflict?
Are they woven together to drive the story forward?
Does the dialogue sound natural and realistic or is it stiff and overly formal?
Is there long speechy sections of dialogue, or long stretches of narrative between dialogue?
Does the plot make sense?
Is there turning points throughout? Twists and unexpected surprises?
Does the plot heighten the tension and the internal conflict?
Are historical, setting, technical details about a job, police procedural details, accurate?
Do you get an idea of the setting? Does it set the mood, tone and enhance the story?
Is the story dragging? Is it interesting?
Are there obstacles being thrown in each character's way, forcing them to struggle to reach their goals?
Are there inconsistencies in plot, character, timeline?
Transitions--Do we know where the characters are in a new scene? Is there a time change?
Point of view
Does the story switch POV? Is it intentional or did they "head hop" within a scene?
Is the grammar and punctuation correct?
Is the language fluent? Easy to read?
Is the word choice appropriate?
Does the author use cliched phrases? Repetitive words?
Balance and Set-up
Is there too much narrative? A balance between narrative and dialogue?
Are the chapters and scenes consistent in length?
Does the set up of the story fit the target audience?
Not everyone can utilize every question above but it should give you some ideas that your readers are looking for in a compelling story. Good luck and "Write and Review on!"
Let's give these newbies a review and welcome them to the site. I've also included some challenges also everyone should check out. Enjoy!
This was it. This was the day Nemo was going to show them all how wrong they were.
Ever since he was a child, Nemo had always dreamed of being powerful. The historical figures in the legends he had read - mighty kings, queens and warriors of old, who paved the very world they lived in with remnants of what their amazing power had done. Entire cities fell under the chaos of war, only to be built back from the ground up, even greater than they were before. Armies rallied in their thousands; knelt and proclaimed their allegiance to the one whose might was enough for them to risk their lives in battle.
The power to forge the world to his liking, with just a word and a wave of his paw; Nemo couldn't find much more to think about since the day he found himself truly alone.
The answer came to me on a rainy night. I realised that I couldn't force people to own up to their mistakes. The temptation to use the way earlier mentioned was humongous. But then I thought, "If my existence ceases,how will the next kid benefit? How will the people responsible for breaking me be reminded of what they did,so that they hopefully don't repeat the same words and actions? I had to stick around for that. I had to live. I had to continue voicing my opinion for the next kid to decide to not give up. It wasn't easy, let me tell you.
I saw her for what she was before she died: a raging rebellion of social standards. She knew it, too. The way she spoke, walked, ate, and existed were all in direct opposite of what others would call "common courtesy", but what my gullible and innocent mind saw as aristocracy barriers. From her first word, which was "why", to her last breath, she was a notabilia of defiance.
The last time we spoke was on a Wednesday evening in an old, abandoned garage that belonged to a milling company in the early 40's. One would think that someone would have upheaved the dusty, desert-like landscape that surrounded the worn place, but things that appear dead are often left alone.
“I wonder where she is right now. Is she still alive? I can’t believe I almost forgot her! The old age, kid, it plays weird tricks on you. Anyway, let’s get on with our story, shall we? Since I’d known her, she’d always worn these ear plugs. Everybody made fun of her, I did too at the beginning. It was just bizarre. Why would you go around with ear plugs all day? I don’t think she ever took them out. I know for a fact she never did actually, because Christy once told me that the nuns used to beat her because she wouldn’t take her weekly bath without those bloody ear plugs! Christie never told a lie: she believed she would go to hell if she did. She was just as lame as all the other orphan girls. Ah, don’t look at me like that, kid. It’s the truth. Those nuns scared the living daylight out of them. But Charlie was different. She didn’t care for them, she had her music and that was enough for her. To be honest, I don’t think she heard the nuns half of the time, with those ear plugs. I remember, they were brown.”
“But, sir, Rich, if she couldn’t hear the nuns, she must have not heard her music properly.”
“You’re not one of the bright ones, are you, kid?
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~
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I received some wonderful feedback to my last newsletter [#8279] "Donuts & Exclamation Points" and I'm proud to share it with you.
Excellent lesson on using exclamation points. Thanks for including my story in your newsletter.
You're welcome. :) Thank you for writing in.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s when the interrobang was still moderately acceptable and am sad to see it hasn't caught on. I attribute its demise to sheer snobbishness. It's a powerful little punctuation mark that can do a lot of heavy lifting.
I am surprised it didn't catch on either. It's quite sad. Thanks for writing in.
I'm still looking for the DONUTS!!!!!!! *smiles*
I'm sorry. How about some cupcakes instead?
I have appreciated a lot your advice about punctuation.The more it is easy and known since our basic grammar learning, the more it is important as the meaning of a sentence can change completely whether we put an exclamation point or a coma.Indeed and most often the punctuation can cause a real pitfall to all writers.
I agree. Thank you so much for writing in. I am so glad you enjoyed it.
From LinnAnn hanging in there
I was on the phone with my daughter in Hawaii and shared some of this article. Thanks for the info and things to think about.
You're welcome. I'm so glad it was useful to you and that you shared it.
You're probably going to laugh but my jaw literally dropped when you started talking about these other punctuations. I mean how is the interrobang not a thing?! Yes, I know what I did there but it's completely sincere.lol I LOVE that these exist. You've opened my eyes to something that clearly let me know I've been living my life in the wrong circles. I'm joking but also pretty serious. I should have known this.lol Thank you so much. I'm ear to ear smiling right now. :D
Exactly! I say let's bring it back! Let's start a revolution!
From Jo via email
Interesting article. People often use two or more exclamation marks on Facebook posts or comments. I feel it shows a lack of using a descriptive word or phrase. And you've reiterated that here.
I completely agree. I am so glad I'm not alone in that thought. Thank you so much for sharing that.
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