Critique Guidelines

At this time, WordWrites Guild cannot offer online critiques. We ask that writers interested in receiving feedback, detailed critique, or simply a listening ear, please attend a meeting in person. Information about meeting locations and times are posted on the Home and Calendar pages on this site.

For the Author:

  1. While your work is being critiqued, please make every effort to withhold your comments or responses until everyone has finished with your piece.
  2. Remember that critique comments are opinions and suggestions. The reviewers are committed to supporting you as you fine-tune and polish your project before submitting it to a publishing house, agent, etc. They are not torturing your baby, even if it feels like it.  Also, they are offering only suggestions; you, as the author, have final say about your work.

For the Reviewers:

  1. Please come prepared, but don’t stay away because you were too busy to do your homework.  Just present what you have and feel free to join in the general discussion. Keep your oral critique and discussion brief and on point.
  2. Be honest in your critique but also be kind. Critique the story, not the author. Some comments are best made in writing on the copy handed back to the author. Be sure to comment on what is right as well as on what could be improved.
  3. Be concrete. Give examples. Handing back a line edited copy is very helpful.
  4. Should you find material offensive, or if you simply don’t care to read something, you are never obliged to offer a critique. No explanation is necessary, simply pass your turn.
  5. Sign your critique to make it easier for people to know who said what.

Submission Guidelines

  1. We ask that pieces only be submitted when the author will actually attend the meeting during which their work will be reviewed. Having the opportunity to discuss the author’s work in person provides the writer, as well as the reviewers, the optimum critique experience.
  2. Submissions should be submitted as an email attachment to (rtf format is preferred) and are due at least one week before a meeting to allow time for distribution and review.  Alternatively, paper copies of a work can be distributed at any meeting, for review at the next meeting.  Be aware that paper copies may exclude those not present for the distribution, and some reviewers prefer to use editing tools built into word processors.
  3. Submissions will be reviewed at the next meeting, but might need to be divided into segments, depending upon available time and overall number of submissions received.
  4. Submissions should be complete enough for meaningful review. For novels, an entire chapter is usually appropriate. For short stories, a scene or the entire story would suffice.
  5. It is useful for reviewers to know if the submitted piece must meet specific criteria such as word limit, genre, etc.

Formatting Guidelines – Optional for WWG Submissions

Please notice that these are guidelines not rules.  We will not refuse to critique a work because of formatting.  The guidelines below, however, will result in a professional looking document that is easier to critique and would be suitable for submission to many publications.

  1. Standard paper (8 ½ x 11), one side only, double spaced, with inch to inch and a quarter (1 – 1¼) margins all around.
  2. Do not use fancy fonts.  Ten or twelve point Times New Roman or Courier are clean and easy to read.  Do not right justify the right margin; let it be “ragged.”
  3. For WordWrites Guild, a cover page is not required.
  4. Either is okay for WordWrites Guild, but editors prefer paper clips over staples.
  5. The first page should begin with the title, your byline, your address (unnecessary for WordWrites Guild), your email address, the word count, and any special notes.  Also note if it is not a complete, stand-alone work (e.g. Character sketch, partial scene, etc.)  Example:

A Dark and Stormy Night
By P .D. G. Writer
5678 Some St.
Bright, IN 47025
4550 words
Chapter One of a Novel

  1. Never include your Social Security number.  If the work sells you will be asked for it as part of the contract.
  2. Copyright citation is not needed.  It’s a given, and professionals regard it as a sign of an amateur.
  3. All pages after the first should have a header containing your last name, the title, and the page number.
  4. Separate scenes with a line containing three centered asterisks or pound signs.  Examples:

* * *
# # #

  1. As appropriate, end the submission with “The End” or “To Be Continued.”

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