With my critique of your novel, I’ll offer comments
and rate your story in these ten key areas:
1. Hook. Does the author attract reader attention from the first paragraph and on the first page? Does it begin with a story or with backstory/explanation? Are key character(s) quickly introduced by showing them engaged in a conflict or action? Are characters likable and distinctive?
2. Characterization. Does the author create compelling characters readers care about? Is the main character identifiable, yet unique? Are secondary characters substantially different? Do they add to the story without distracting? Are characters’ emotions believable? Do they provide an understandable motive?
3. Plot. Does the story have good bones? Is there a central, unforgettable character, a strong inciting incident? Are the goals clear and achievable? Are there unexpected complications/twists and a realistic resolution? (This assessment relies heavily on the synopsis as well as the opening chapters.)
4. Conflict. Do character motivations create sufficient conflict to power the novel? Do the conflicts appear realistic? Does the action begin with a gripping conflict that propels the reader forward?
5. Dialogue. Is the dialogue natural, authentic? Are there moments of empty dialogue (writing that mirrors life but doesn’t add to the story)? Are characters’ voices distinct and appropriate for the setting, time, scenario? Is the dialogue’s subtext clear?
6. Scenes. Is the story built with clearly defined scenes, showing characters in action? Do scenes’ opening lines orient readers to the time, place, and point-of-view character? Does the curtain rise and fall at appropriate times? Does each scene advance the story? Does the pacing keep readers interested?
7. Setting. Is the story clearly set in a specific time and place? Is the setting more than a backdrop but an element that contributes to the story? Are aspects of local culture integrated? Is the place developed as a character?
8. Mechanics. Does the author have a command of grammar, punctuation, and spelling? Is standard manuscript format used? Is the presentation professional?
9. Showing vs. Telling. Are readers able to enter deeply into the story and its world: experiencing the events with all five senses? Are key actions fully dramatized or conveyed through narrative summary? Is backstory presented naturally and in small portions or inserted intrusively?
10. Writing Quality. Does the author engage readers with strong, tight writing? Is point of view clear and consistent? Do sentence structures vary in pleasing ways? Did the author take care to choose the right words? Does the dialogue make good use of beats/action tags and avoid telling dialogue tags?
Before you send your manuscript and story synopsis, email Andy@AndyScheer.com to confirm I’ll be able to fit your fiction critique into my editing schedule.
Format requirements: Manuscript and 500- to 750-word synopsis should be sent by email attachment as .doc or .docx files. Name the files using this system:
Synopsis: Last Name Story Title Synopsis (e.g.: Cooper Last of Mohicans Synopsis)
Manuscript: Last Name Story Title Ms (e.g.: Cooper Last of Mohicans Ms)
Critique Fee: $105 (Payable by check at the time you send your novel’s manuscript and 500- to 750-word story synopsis.)