Here are some basics to think about while critiquing.
- When reading the manuscript, if it makes you stop, mark it even if you are not sure why.
- Write your comments directly on the manuscript, but summarize the most important problems you discovered or questions you really wish to discuss with the group at the end or back of the manuscript. (A separate page is acceptable too.)
- Consider the following when evaluating a manuscript:
- ACTION: Look for active verbs rather than passive ‘Be’ verbs. Do the characters move, react and respond to the elements around them?
- PACE: Is the story moving quickly enough or too fast? Does it feel slow? Do you feel like the story is skipping important information or events?
- SEQUENCING: Are actions, descriptions, dialogue and reactions taking place in the best order?
- DIALOGUE: Is the dialogue realistic, but to the point?
- CHARACTERS: Can you relate to the characters? Are they well developed? Do they act and react in a consistent manner?
- GRAMMAR & SPELLING: Does poor grammar and/or spelling interfere with your ability to read and comprehend the manuscript?
- FORMAT: Is the manuscript written in proper format? Is the author familiar with proper formatting?
- CONTINUITY: Continuity errors are very important to mark. When descriptions or facts contradict an earlier statement, this is a continuity error. Ex.: the night sky sparkled with stars. Jane shielded her eyes from the sun’s glare.
- OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: Give the overall impression of what you read, how it all came together. Remember, just saying, “Good job,” does not help the author, nor does, “needs work.”
- Always try to list/mention at least one good thing about the piece. Encouragement is what we’re all about. —article by Marquel White
If you have any questions about procedures or submissions, please feel free to contact our Director, Mary Andrews.