Posted: September 16th, 2022
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There are two stories attached you need to critique. Please go by these guidelines and answer the questions. Keep it relatively simple.
CRITIQUE GUIDELINES 1. Read carefully and try to understand what the author is doing, or better yet, what the story is doing. (e.g., If a character’s motivation is implausible and the world of the story seems otherwise to be a logical one, then perhaps this is a problem. If on the other hand, the universe of the story seems deliberately absurd, then perhaps it’s not).
2. Think about form. What is the point of view, and how is it helping and/or hindering the story as a whole? What is the conflict? Is it resolved? How? How much of the story is summary? How much is scene? What methods are being used to develop characters and setting? Are the characters well fleshed out? Is the setting being used to further the story? Etc. 3. Try to identify the most salient problems and strengths, and then discuss those in depth, rather than superficially discussing everything.
4. Be specific and support your assertions. Don’t, for example, simply write “The point of view in this story is inconsistent.” Instead, explain how for most of the story we seem to be looking at events through, say, Peter’s perspective, but then, in a few places we get what seems to be editorial omniscient commentary. You should then go on to cite an example from the story: “But this was not an ordinary expression of disbelief. This came from somewhere deep in the dregs of Peter’s being…”(3) “In our most righteous moments we feel that nature emphasizes with us…”(7)
5. Try framing your assertions as observations and questions: “I noticed that in a few places the narrative shifts from Peter’s perspective into an editorial omniscient voice (give examples). I wondered if there was a reason for this.” Try also framing your advice as a question: “I wonder if this story would benefit if the point of view stayed closer to Peter throughout.”
6. Strive to be supportive, but also honest. Good criticism, like good writing, is specific and concrete.
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