Cheat Sheet for Critiquing a Short Story
(These suggestions were posted on the “Cow Pasture Chronicles” website.)
- Did you enjoy the story? Yes or no? If not, specify why?
- Could you tell where the story was taking place (setting)?
- Did the story engage you? In other words, did it draw you in? Did you want to keep reading?
- What about the opening sentence or paragraph made you want to read further? No? What made you hesitate?
- Was the protagonist clear to you? Did you understand the goal? Did you have enough information about the main character? Did you like the character or care about his/her situation (goal vs. conflict)?
- What about the conflict? Was there enough?
- Was the dialog believable? Too much internalization?
- Is the genre easily identifiable?
- Did the story progress in a natural flow, or were there places where you felt confused? Explain.
- Is there a resolution at the end? Did the ending make you happy or leave too many unanswered questions?
- Could you identify the theme?
- Explain specifically the things that gave you pause. Make notes in the margins of the submitted piece indicating pertinent information. It could be a wrong word choice, sentence length, credibility, pacing, or something else.