The Newbie Support Page

Example Critique
A good template critique
Here is an example of a good, template critique for a chapter.

The start
First, I would like to add the standard caveat on my critique, which is that these are only my opinions, use what you want and throw the rest away. That being said, on with the critique.

I too am a member of the Thick Skin Club; you will only get an honest critique from me.

Oh and since you a curious about character and voice, I will concentrate there.

The day the crystal set came was the same day her poppa left home, so Jennilu Hawkins didn't pay it much mind.

Three things struck me when I read this (flew off the monitor and hit me in the forehead).

In one sentence, you not only hooked my interest, you also set the tone for the entire story and showed me the easy rolling rhythm that permeated Jennilu's thoughts and speech.

Well done.

I normally read and write horror/suspense, but you critiqued a story of mine so I decided to check out your story to see if I was interested in critiquing it. The story piqued my interest, and I read it twice (I always do if I am critiquing). The plot is so simple. There were no extras or sidebars to get in the way of the central theme. This is a touching story. I love how you revolved it around a simple crystal growing set (I had one of those when I was a kid. It worked perfectly until it got a little shook up; it didn't grow after that. Oh, look at me ramble. Sorry)

Character Development
Did I identify with the characters? This may surprise you, but even as a 24-year-old man, I loved the characters. I was sad when they were sad, happy when they were happy etc.

Jennilu was very clear. Of course, as the central character, she would be.

Poppa was clearest after her. He was a good man; he had problems, but he was a good man at heart.

Momma was the one that I had difficulty seeing. This is not a problem since she is a minor character not central to the story.

So yes, the characters work.

The conversations are revealing, and you never strayed. Each character had a voice. They kept the voice you gave them (I know, it was theirs before you came along) instead of bleeding into each other.

Show, don't tell.
When I finished reading this I noticed that something was missing. Don't get upset yet. The missing Item was a narrator. I didn't hear a voice over. Everything was told through the senses of Jennilu. I must applaud. It is difficult to get everything out without a narrator.

Overall impression
Very very good story. My nitpicks are below. They center on sentence structure. Mostly simplifying a sentence here and there.

Poppa looked like he was going to say more, but laid back on the bed instead. Laid should be Lay.

Jennilu was built close to the ground and quick in her mind. Just want to point this sentence out, it sounds weird to me; it may be that I don't see what one has to do with the other.

Thought there was more than that, oh well can't find them now.

I did notice a few other things, but they are a matter of house style.
Commas after short (one word) introductory clauses.
Commas after next to last Item in a list.
Missing that's
Using and before then

Please feel free to use any or all of my suggestions; the same goes for discarding them.

and once again, I am a member of the Thick Skin Club. Please message me and let me know how my critique was, how it can be improved, what you appreciated, etc. do not worry about my feelings; I want to grow as a writer and a critiquer.

Really enjoyed it.


Here's the story:

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