Every reviewer has a different style. Here's an explanation of mine.
HOW I REVIEW
I usually only review stories.
Poetry is not really my thing so I don’t feel qualified to review poems.
I created the following format because I was using WritingML all over the place in my reviews anyway, and I’d started making mistakes. Having this format in a separate Word file, I can copy & paste into the template I created, decreasing my own errors and ensuring that my quotes are accurate. Having that separate file open also enables me to copy & paste spelling or grammar issues as I come across them.
I don’t always use this format. Sometimes I don’t have the time. Sometimes I want my comments private. Sometimes the format just doesn’t fit what I’m reviewing.
But when I give public reviews, I generally use this template. In all areas, I give my opinion from my perspective.
How the story began. Was the opening sentence compelling? Did it immediately catch my interest or was the hook buried somewhere later in the story? If the author didn’t catch my interest right away, I either say so here – or (sorry to say but it’s true) I won’t read & review. This explains, however, why my average rating is so high.
The author’s success in illustrating the setting. I’ll generally comment on two dimensions of setting: time and location. If the story is set in another time, I’ll comment on believability. I’m a visual person, so the author’s ability to bring me into the scene and show me what the setting is like (by dialogue and action, not just description) is important to me.
The richness of the characters. Did the writer establish empathy? Were the characters multidimensional?
The quality of the dialogue. Was the dialogue natural? Did it fit with the setting? I will generally also comment on whether dialogue tags were used and punctuated properly.
The story itself. Was the main conflict of the story compelling? Interesting? Unique? If it was the hook that drew me in at the beginning, it will be the conflict that keeps me there.
The ending. Was the ending of the story thought-provoking? Surprising? Emotional? I will generally comment about whether the resolution was satisfying to me.
Parts I Really Liked!
For this section, I copy & paste phrases, sentences, or whole paragraphs from the story that I am reviewing.
A couple people have told me that I picked their favorite lines.
If I liked the way an author wrote something, I like to point it out!
Suggestions and/or Edits
If I find any spelling or grammar errors, I copy & paste them in this section…
…and then make my comments here.
I might also comment if I find an inconsistency…
…but I always try to make suggestions.
I make an overall comment about the story here at the end,
trying always to keep it encouraging.