Elements of a story:

 

Characters

Setting

Sequence – beginning, middle and end

Exposition – show not tell

Conflict

Climax

Resolution

 

My writing criteria checklist

 

I framed my writing critique criteria for fiction writing, reflecting about what I look for and what I should remember to look for when critiquing my own work, but I think it is possible to adapt this criteria for non-fiction, too.

 

 

1. Title – does it work for or against the piece of writing? Does it aptly suggest/reflect/hint at the story theme(s)?

 

2. Hook – does the story grab the reader from the first sentence? First paragraph? Does “the hook” make a reader want to keep on reading? Is it the right hook for this story?
3. Does the voice engage the reader? Is it the fitting “voice” to carry the story to the very end?
4. Is point of view used correctly?
5. Is there too much telling and not enough showing?

 

6. Is the writing passive and not active?
7. Does the writing reverberate for the reader?
8. Does the writing/word choice suit the intended audience?
9. Is it clear who the intended audience is?
10. Are there any words over-used?
11. Is word choice rendered in a “writerly” way?

 

12. Redundancies – has the writer already said this in the story? Has a word choice/sentence construction created a redundancy?

 

13. Is the story in need of more proof reading?
14. Is the story in need of editing?

 

15.  Does the story need more research?
16. Is the research used to paint the narrative or does it bog down the story?

 

17. Author intrusion – is this happening?
18. Does the story show originality?

 

 

19. Does the writing show the craft and skill of a good storyteller?
  Plot – does the sequence flow and carry along the reader? Are there any flat periods in the plot that need rethinking, reshaping or perhaps deleting? Does the plot’s continuity carry through to the end? Does the end hold up the story’s beginning and middle? Does it satisfy readers and leave them hungry for more stories from this writer?
20. Character – are characters well developed, defined, and believable? Do they act in “character” or behave in unexplained or bewildering ways that jar the reader out of the story? Is a character’s journey clear for readers to understand the reason for a character shift?

 

 

21. Exposition – is the back story inherent in the story? Is more/or less necessary to strengthen/frame the story?
22. Dialogue – does it clearly belong to the characters? Does it help drive the story forward? Is there too much or too little?

 

23.  

Setting – does the text successfully convey where and when the story takes place? Is the world-building well structured, intrinsic and convincing?

 

 

24. Is the internal/external conflict strong enough to make a story?
25. Does the story make sense to the reader? Are the themes apparent, too obscure or need strengthening?