Some Dos and Don’ts For Critiquing The First Draft Sneak Peak Writer


  • Make all the same comments offered for the “share and share alike” writer
  • Evaluate the tone of the work.  Is it consistent?  Does it compliment the story?
  • Along with tone and pacing, now is a good time to start notes on tension.  Is there tension?  What kinds of tension are represented?  Is it well balanced?
  • Evaluate the themes in the manuscript.  Are there any themes, are they obvious?  How are they expressed and do they enhance the story? 
  • Tackle anything specific the writer asks for.


  • Dig into grammar.  The specific words and framing will change significantly between now and a final draft.  Grammar edits is a waste of a critique partner’s time at this point.
  • Over focus on awkward phrasing.  Critique partners may wish to begin addressing some passages of awkward phrasing in stronger passages, but if a segment looks as a whole is weak for other reasons, focus on tackling those larger story elements first.
  • Consistency of timeline.  While helpful to make some basic notes regarding the time flow, first drafts are a time to figure out when things should happen in a manuscript.  Keep critique to helping settle the timeline before auditing it’s overall continuity.

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