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Tensaw River - Novellas

The Old Man and the Sea
Critique Guidelines for Novellas
Members may upload chapters or sections of their novellas here to be critiqued.
 A novella critique form can be downloaded at this location.
Characteristics of Well-Written Prose

Interesting story

Important information

Entertaining or provocative

Well organized

Fully Developed

Clear and lucid

Uses standard English grammar

Uses generally accepted or effective structure

Has broad interest

Publishable quality

First Impressions

After the initial read-through, what stands out?

What grabs our attention?


It's the first act to any prose, and vital if you expect the reader to continue.

Does it make us want to go on and learn more?

Has our attention been suitably snagged, or our curiosity pulled in to where we must know what the rest of the prose holds?


We're not just looking for fights and explosions. We want to see dilemmas and moral choices straining against some force, be it emotional or physical, or dramatic.

Does the conflict stand out?

Are there too many conflicts?

What are they, and are they appropriately presented?


What is the main plot, and is it believable? Are the problems realistic? Does the story line seem too predictable? Is this something that leaves us thrilled and ready for more, or can we guess what will happen next? The plot is the thickness of the story.


This places the story in the moment. Sets the tone for the whole piece.

Can we 'see' what the writer wants us to?

Are we put into the scene?

Can we feel the tension, see what the characters do, or are we left in a fog of vagueness?

Is it realistic?


Do the number of characters fit the plot?

Are the characters developed fully for their part in the story?

Are the characters static or dynamic?

Real or cardboard cutouts? Cliché?

Were we able to connect with them and understand their motives?


Were the words consistent with the person speaking them?

Was the conversation set in the scene, or does it seem too normal?

Does the structure of the conversation flow correctly, or are we left with a guess as to what is really being said?

Format of the Text

The physical layout of a story can be just as helpful or as damning as the content.

Is it formatted correctly?

Are we left to pick through huge blocks of text or are there simply too many empty spaces?

Grammar and Spelling

Was everything spelled correctly and adhere to the standards of the English language?

Style and Overall

Does the voice of the writer stand out?

Pacing- Does the story move at a comfortable pace so that interest is maintained?

Summary- Any lasting impressions, recommendations, suggestions, or concerns should be addressed.

Charles McInnis,
May 13, 2012, 2:00 PM
Down a Chaotic River - Charles Riley McInnis.epub
Charles McInnis,
Jul 3, 2012, 6:34 PM
Down a Chaotic River - Charles Riley
Charles McInnis,
Jul 3, 2012, 6:35 PM
Charles McInnis,
Jul 3, 2012, 6:45 PM
Kat Kennedy,
May 6, 2012, 9:52 AM