Monday, October 5, 2009

Writing Tools - Reader Worksheet

One of the most important things you can do as a writer is receive input from a group of trusted readers. I like to have 10, but you can have as many as you feel comfortable (the more the better). Avid readers who aren't afraid to be honest are the best people for the job. However, people can be surprisingly reticent about sharing their opinions. So I give them a worksheet. This has the combined effect of giving them direction (instead of having vague comments like "It was ok"), and helping them be honest.
So if you have had some trouble getting people to critique you, try this out. It works!

Reader Worksheet
Rate the story in each of these categories using 1 through 5 (5 being the best):

The Trap - does the story pull the reader in right away and hold their interest?
The Conflict - what is at stake in the story, and how is the tension used?
The Characters - are these compelling, realistic people whom the reader cares about?
Setting and Mood - does the story make the reader feel like they are really there?
Pace and Style - how well does the writer use the words to move the story along?
Resolution - does it have a satisfying ending?
Grammar and Spelling - this must be perfect, no exceptions
Overall Enjoyment - was this a story you’d actually buy?

  • Hook
  • Conflict
  • Characters
  • Setting & Mood
  • Pace & Style
  • Resolution
  • Spelling & Grammar
  • Enjoyment

Additional Comments & Criticisms:


  1. Thank you for a clearly composed worksheet that won't take long to complete! I'm telling every one I know about this one!

  2. I know I'm terrible about commenting but I do enjoy your blog immensely so I gave you an award today on mine.

  3. Great post. I'm going to make a worksheet for my beta readers. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

    Peace, blessings, and much love to you.

  4. Hey super excited I found you on FB. Great worksheet, esp for crit groups.

    This is a great place and I will be letting people in my critique group know about it. Me crit partner and I also have a blog, its more of a place to vent about the process, joke and laugh. Please come and comment, follow, read, and enjoy.

  5. I'm looking for the 'Like' button. :-)