That’s why it becomes important to have Critique Partners/Groups and Beta Readers. The entry of crit partners and readers comes later, definitely after we have completed the first few drafts.
What we can do to become critical towards our work is ask ourselves a list of questions. We can use these questions not just for our own books, but, also while critiquing others stories and also while reading a novel.
- Is the characterization original and rounded? Do the characters come across as fresh and not venture into stereotype territory?
- Is the language used fresh, lively and uncliched? Has the writer tried to add his/her own individual style of writing into it?
- Does the story work on its own terms? For instance, if there is a mystery or intrigue, does the author make us interested enough to keep turning the pages and march ahead to the final unravelment?
- If there is humour, does the author invoke the laughter? How does the humour come across: contrived, situational or natural.
- If there is a world building, does it come across as believable, or is it looking too far fetched. Do we as readers believe in the world the author has created?
- Are the relationships in the story plausible? Do they strike a chord with us?
- Is the story straightforward and one-dimensional or is it infused with layers and layers of meaning that is keeping our brain cells ticking overtime while keeping a track of everything going on in the story.
- Is the dialogue original or stilted?
- Are there pages and pages of information overload?
- Does the story grab our interest and is it able to sustain that level of interest throughout? Is there a way the story can be made more interesting?
After we make notes on each point, we get an entire new perspective on the story. This works well even while we critique someone else’s work. We will realize the areas the writer needs to focus on. Do you have any questions that you ask yourself when it comes to getting critical about your work? How do you judge your own work or someone elses?