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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1929622-KRHolbrooks-Reviewing-Guidelines
Rated: E · Article · Community · #1929622
Helpful guidelines on reviewing someone else's work
*ExclaimW* Before you begin reviewing someone else's work, remember that their style will differ from yours, so don't go editing their work to match your own.
*ExclaimW* Point out what you liked somewhere within your critique. While making adjustments and criticism to an author's work is wanted, not all writers have a thick skin.
*ExclaimW* If you critique as you read, tell the author so. Also tell the author if what you're reading isn't normally in your to-read queue. (For me, this would be sci-fi--something about it just doesn't much hook me, but I'll still try to give it a read.)
*ExclaimW* To add on to that, if you're unable to continue critiquing the work, note the stopping point and explain why to the author.

Short Stories & Novels


Characters:
*Box* Does the character have a name?
         *Box* If not, do you feel they need one?
         *Box* If more than one character, do the names sound too similar and confuse you?
*Box* Is the character's goal clear?
         *Box* Do they stay on task with their goal, despite obstacles thrown their way?
         *Box* Is it clear how they meet their goal in the end?
*Box* Does the character's personality remain the same?
*Box* If the character has a background, does it fit who they are now?
*Box* Does the character have a clear description?
*Box* Does the character speak properly?
*Box* Do they seem real, or have a cardboard cut-out quality?
*Box* Did the character(s) seem too cliche?
*Box* Is there enough emotional conflict when there needs to be? (Such as romance stories.)
*Box* If more than one character, are they each different and can stand alone, or do they mimic the styles of each other?
*Box* Is the opposition pushing the main character to their limits?

Plot:
*Box* Does the story move too slow?
*Box* Did the story start at the right place?
*Box* Did the story end at the right place?
*Box* If there are subplots, do they feel disconnected?
*Box* Does the story confuse you in any way?
*Box* Do you forget about certain characters while reading, specifically the main one?
*Box* Are you bored with the story?
*Box* Does the plot present enough obstacles for the main character(s)?
*Box* Does the action escalate with time?
*Box* If it's a chapter, does the chapter as a whole advance the plot forward?

Setting:
*Box* Do you understand where the story is taking place?
*Box* Was there too little or too much description?
         *Box* Did you skip the descriptive areas because they were too boring?
*Box* If it's a different era, do you feel the descriptions and actions of the characters fit this time frame?

Point of View:
*Box* Are there too many points of view in a story?
*Box* Does the author stick to one main point of view for each chapter / page break?
*Box* If the story shifts from one PoV to another, is the transition smooth or choppy?
*Box* Does the author use the same PoV the whole way through, or do the mix and match (poorly)?
*Box* Did the author's PoV seem right to you?

Show vs Tell:
*Box* When in a character's PoV, are your senses active (smell, sight, touch, sound, etc.)?
*Box* Are the character's actions described?
*Box* Do you feel the author at times is "holding your hand" through certain events, instead of letting them flow naturally?
*Box* Are there colorful descriptions, or the dull kind (aka "very", "really", "great", "nice")?
*Box* Does the writing sound like a lecture, or does it draw you in with action?

Grammar and Spelling:
*Box* Do the sentence lengths vary?
*Box* Does the author use short sentences for tension and longer sentences for a relaxed effect?
*Box* Do the paragraph lengths vary?
*Box* If there are sentence fragments, are the misplaced, or feel natural where they are?
*Box* Does the author properly use em dashes, semicolons, commas, quotations, and other such punctuation properly?
*Box* Was the story readable?
*Box* Does the author capitalize the correct words or are they random?
*Box* Does the author use too many of a specific thing (adverbs, explanation points, he said, she said, etc.)
*Box* Were there too many cliches?
*Box* Was the author's writing too dramatic?

Poetry

On Poetry:
*Box* Is the subject of the poem clear?
*Box* Does it read smoothly, or is it jilted?
*Box* Is there too much repetition of something that makes it feel redundant?
*Box* Do the line breaks seem natural?
*Box* Are some words too weak for the point of the poem?
*Box* Is there a constant pattern between syllables / meters, and if so, does the poem stick to that rhythm?
*Box* Does the author remain consistent with specific punctuations throughout the poem?
*Box* Did you find any cliches?
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