Short Story Critique

Cheat Sheet for Critiquing a Short Story

(These suggestions were posted on the “Cow Pasture Chronicles” website.)

  1. Did you enjoy the story? Yes or no? If not, specify why?
  2. Could you tell where the story was taking place (setting)?
  3. Did the story engage you? In other words, did it draw you in? Did you want to keep reading?
  4. What about the opening sentence or paragraph made you want to read further? No? What made you hesitate?
  5. 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)?
  6. What about the conflict? Was there enough?
  7. Was the dialog believable? Too much internalization?
  8. Is the genre easily identifiable?
  9. Did the story progress in a natural flow, or were there places where you felt confused? Explain.
  10. Is there a resolution at the end? Did the ending make you happy or leave too many unanswered questions?
  11. Could you identify the theme?
  12. 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.