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Saturday, November 03, 2018

Critique Guidelines from Joan Y Edwards

                                     How to Make Helpful Critiques (c) 2018

By Joan Y. Edwards

Are you in a critique group? Are you floundering for ideas of the best ways to offer your suggestions for improvement? Do you make sure you give positive feedback as well as changes that might need to be made? Good for you. These simple steps will help you.

How to give a good manuscript critique?

When you have someone critique your own work, ask them five of the following questions.
When you critique a manuscript, do a good job. Ask the author to choose three questions from the list below that they would like for you to answer. Choose two or three of your own questions.
If you don't know the writer's wishes, choose five of the following questions and write them at the beginning of the manuscript you're about to critique. It will help you focus on the story's strengths, as well as give the author places that need enrichment.
In your critique, make your opinions clear so that the author is able to tell what you think. Tell the author both ways to correct the manuscript and ideas to enhance the manuscript. Here are ideas to guide you and ensure you give a good critique.

25 Questions for a Critique
After reading a manuscript, answer these questions.
1.   What are three Blue Ribbonpassages (great paragraphs)?
2.   Write down any questions that come to mind as you read the manuscript. Share them with the author.
3.   Point out any pet words that the author uses over and over again? A thesaurus might have synonyms to use in place of them.
4.   What are three main errors in punctuation and grammar the author needs to correct?
5.   Point out where the writer needs to show, not tell. SHOW, DON'T TELL.
6.   Mark examples of passive voice so that the author can change them to active voice.
7.   Use quotes from the story to support your idea. Point out passages that show the author's meaning as it unfolds.
8.   After reading the story, can you write a short (25-100 word) summary telling the beginning, middle, and end? Do so. If not, tell the parts you can and explain the parts of the story that are missing.
9.   Explain where the story hooks you and why?
10.What is the setting (time and place) and how does it influence the story? Would a different time and place enhance the story?
11.What is the point of view? Through whose eyes do you see this story?
12.What does the main character) want?
13.What is the main character) willing to do to get what he wants?
14.What is the conflict that keeps the  (main character) from getting what he wants?
15.Does the hero get what he wants? How?
16.What are the mistakes that the main character makes?
17.What are the main character's flaws? (He’s got to have flaws.)
18.What is the lowest point in the story when the main character felt like giving up or he feels that his situation was hopeless?
19.Did the main character change? How? If the main character doesn't change, who does or what does change. Someone or something has to change in a story or there is no story.
20.What does the main character learn about life from his experiences in this story? (Theme)
21.Name the characters in the story and what each one wants.
22.In the dialogue, does each character have a distinct voice of his own? In the descriptions, can you tell which character is on the page?
23.What do you want to know about the characters that the author didn't tell you?
24.Does the story make sense? If not, note in the manuscript which parts that don’t make sense.
25.Does the ending satisfy you as a reader? If not, why not?

Ways to Make Your Critique Notes Stand Out:

1.   Use a separate piece of paper for your notes. Copy noteworthy passages there.
2.   Do critique on actual pages of manuscript.
3.   Put in blue text at least three Blue Ribbonpassages - my name for words, sentences, phrases, paragraphs, or scenes that are especially well-written. In this particular manuscript, these parts win First Prize - the Blue Ribbon.
4.   Highlight in yellow or put in red text, and/or cross out words. .
5.   Use all caps for your input. WHAT A STRONG BEGINNING!
6.   Or do your own thing. Be creative.
I wish you great success in your writing career. Thanks for reading my blog post. You honor me with your presence. Please  leave a comment. I'd love to hear your ideas on how to give a good critique. Tell me about the best critique you've ever received.
1.   Sheryll Clark. "How to Critique a Short Story:" https://www.ebooks4writers.com/2011/04/how-to-critique-a-short-story/ 
2.   Montgomery Kentucky Schools. "Guidelines to Writing a Short Story Critique:" http://www.montgomery.k12.ky.us/userfiles/1501/Classes/686/shortStorycritique.pdf
3.   Victory Crayne. "How to Critique Fiction:" http://crayne.com/howcrit.html


Joan Y. Edwards is an inspiring author, motivational speaker, and she blogs about writing, marketing and illustration. She is a retired elementary school teacher who loves to read positive thinking books and fiction. She enjoys writing to inspire and motivate people to Never Give Up. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Carl. They love to watch humorous mysteries, such as Columbo and Monk. She loves to connect with you, her readers!  She is the author of  Flip Flap Floodle
Joan’s Elder Care Guide, and 
80 Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzles for Year B.
Joan offers three free gifts to subscribe to blog: https://www.joanyedwards.com 
Learn more about Joan at:
Twitter handle: @joanyedwards
Facebook Author Page https://www.facebook.com/Joan-Y-Edwards-Author-111310278911077/



Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )

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