How can a critique of your writing help improve your craft? Professional authors–even bestselling ones– know they can be too close to a story to see its flaws. They recognize the value of having another professional examine the work.  A pair of trained, objective eyes can provide insights that strengthen your story.

A good critique should point out which elements you use effectively and which ones need clarification, emphasis,  improvement, or possibly removal.

A professional critique should analyze at least ten storytelling elements and point out specific examples within the manuscript.  Here are ten questions we always evaluate in our Authorlink critique service:

  1. HOOK: Does the opening paragraph hook the reader?
  2.  CONFLICT:  What do the main characters want and what is hindering their success?
  3. CHARACTERIZATION: Are the characters deeply drawn. What are their dreams, wishes, quirks, flaws?
  4. DIALOGUE: Does the dialogue ring true to the reader? Do people really talk like the characters do, and is there a difference between how each character uses the language? Is the dialogue fresh and consistent with the personalities?
  5. POINT OF VIEW: Is the story told from a clear and logical point of view? In other words, whose story is it?
  6. PACING: Is the story well-paced and is it appropriate for the genre/category?
  7. SHOW Vs. TELL: Is the author skilled at “showing” rather than “telling.” Does the writer put the reader inside the scene?
  8. CONCEPT/THEME/PLOT: Is the story idea unique and/or unusually compelling? Why should the reader care?
  9. PLOT: Does each step or decision point in the story drive us toward the overall concept or theme? And are those plot points well-paced?
  10. PRESENTATION: Is the presentation clean, correctly formatted, and professional. Has the author made every effort to minimize grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors?

Unlike a full and expensive developmental edit, where the editor helps shape the story, a critique can quickly give you some clues to polishing your work.