The short story is original and creative.
_____ truly fresh & interesting (exceeds expectations)
_____ a bit predictable but interesting (good; better than most)
_____ ordinary (typical at this level with minimal effort)
_____ painfully predictable or purloined (below expectations)
The short story maintains a strong plot & focus with a compelling conflict, climax, ending.
_____ powerfully focused plot w/ compelling conflict & climax and intriguing ending
_____ clearly focused plot w/ interesting conflict & climax and appropriate ending
_____ minor focus shifts in plot; may have a trite or predictable conflict, climax, and/or ending
_____ meandering plot; probably has notably weak conflict, climax, and/or ending
The short story is well paced and engaging.
_____ story moves naturally, holds the reader’s attention with suspense & style
_____ story may be a bit mechanical but still holds attention w/ some suspense & style
_____ story is probably mechanical & struggles to engage the reader
_____ story moves inconsistently & disengages the reader
The short story has a clear and compelling theme.
_____ the story’s theme is clear but subtle and compelling
_____ the story’s theme is clear but a bit obvious; still, it is compelling
_____ the story’s theme may not be clear or is overtly stated; may be trite
_____ the story’s theme is not evident (story seems pointless)
The short story is well-developed w/ vivid detail, diction, imagery, sophisticated setting, etc.
_____ startling development using myriad of literary techniques well; sophisticated setting.
_____ good development using vivid detail, diction, imagery, setting, & perhaps a few other devices
_____ adequate development using at least some vivid detail, diction, imagery, etc…
_____ clearly underdeveloped with lapses in detail, diction, imagery, &/or setting
The short story has well developed characters with strong dialogue.
_____ truly intriguing and believable characters; dialogue is powerfully crafted and used
_____ engaging and believable characters; dialogue is also believable
_____ ordinary characters, a bit cardboard; dialogue is weak or underdeveloped
_____ one dimensional characters; dialogue is unbelievable or lacking
The short story has strong style, voice, sentence variety and is mechanically sound.
_____ stylistically sophisticated, strong voice, & virtually flawless
_____ stylistically sophisticated, good voice, with some lapses in control of mechanics
_____ ordinary style and voice with only minor lapses in control of mechanics
_____ ordinary style and voice with obvious lapses in control of mechanics
SHORT STORY PEER READING GUIDE
1. Is the story original and creative? Why do you think so or think not? Explain clearly so the author knows what to do either way.
2. Does the story maintain a focused, well-constructed plot with a compelling conflict, climax, and appropriate ending? If not, tell the author what is confusing about the plot, boring about the climax, and/or inappropriate about the ending.
3. Is the story well paced or does it seem to drag in certain places and speed up in others? If it drags, tell the author where it happens and why it seems to drag for you in those places. If it’s too fast in places, tell the author where that happens and why it seems to go to fast at those points. In addition, comment on the author’s ability to build suspense and keep you, the reader, fully engaged.
4. Does the story have a theme? What is it? How can you tell? Is it subtle or obvious? Would you call it compelling? If it doesn’t have one, tell the author why you think the story doesn’t seem to have “a point.”
5. Is the story well developed with vivid detail and diction? How about imagery & other literary devices? If so, quote a couple of the good ones here. If not, make suggestions to the author right on the draft.
6. Does the story have a sophisticated presentation of setting? If yes, explain why you think so here. If no, tell the author what you think he/she could do to improve the quality and importance of the setting.
7. Does the story have well-developed characters with strong dialogue? If so, who are the best characters and why is their dialogue strong in your opinion? If not, tell the writer what needs to be done to make the characters more interesting and compelling.
8. Does the writing have a strong style with good sentence variety? If so, quote a couple of the good ones here; if not, suggest some good sentence revisions right on the paper.
9. Give the writer an overall opinion of the story -- be honest but be fair and polite.