I have a private online critique group that’s been going strong for about two years now. Recently we’ve stopped critiquing–just overwhelmed by life like everybody else–and I took down the page with the seven questions we ask in each critique because it seemed as though we were done with that. When several people said, “Can we please have the seven questions back?” I realized that even though the questions are a pain in the ass, they do give a form to critiques, and since I really do think they’re the seven most important things to ask about a scene or a story, the questions that are most likely to show you where you have a problem, I’m putting them here, too. They seemed to go with everything we’ve been doing lately. Yes, I know all this critique stuff is boring. I’m slamming to the end of the book, I’m using all my creativity there.
The Seven Questions:
Begin each scene critique by answering these seven questions, then follow up with whatever additional comments you want to make.
1. Who is the protagonist?
2. What is the protagonist’s goal?
3. Who is the antagonist?
4. What is the antagonist’s goal?
5. What do you expect will happen next in the story, given what you read in this scene?
6. What in this scene must be kept at all costs?
7. What in this scene needs work?