Critique Questions

Have you been asked to lead a critique? Are you wondering what questions to ask, or how to keep the conversation going around the room? The following questions are given in sets of threes – the idea is you can ask the original question, then guide discussion toward the others if people aren’t answering. Thank you to all of you who used the questions so well in sharing the critique this month.

  1. What is the story about?
    1. Storyline
    2. Theme
    3. Genre


  1. What grabs you first?
    1. Strong beginning?
    2. Interesting question?
    3. Interesting character?


  1. What makes the location real?
    1. Description?
    2. Writing style?
    3. Atmosphere?


  1. What makes the character(s) real?
    1. Description?
    2. Internal dialog?
    3. Interactions?


  1. What makes the dialog real?
    1. Different voices?
    2. Dialog tags?
    3. Choice of words/phrases?


  1. What makes the dilemma real?
    1. Internal confusion?
    2. External threat?
    3. Unsolved mystery?


  1. What narrative voice?
    1. 1st/2nd/3rd person?
    2. Personal/distant/omniscient?
    3. Does it fit story/genre/theme


  1. Favorite scenes?
    1. What makes it a favorite?
    2. Is it important to the story?
    3. What more would you want?


  1. How does it end?
    1. Has character changed?
    2. Has situation changed?
    3. Has reader changed?


  1. Did the author have questions, or do you have other questions to ask?


We usually ask the author not to speak until the end of the critique, when they get to ask other questions arising from what’s been discussed, or to answer questions raised by readers.

We hope you’ll enjoy leading a critique for us sometime, and that the questions might help you in critiquing your own work.

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