My New Critting System

There’s a new Critter System in Town….:)

2016-01-11 09.49.15

Pic is of Piginstein, and he is keeping an eye on that catnip mouse!

For several years now I’ve been editing, and asking Beta Readers for comments without a true system. I needed something that called out elements, without giving too much specific direction or limiting the creativity involved in revisions. It also needed to force me to think through the ‘why’ of a comment.If I’m looking at something that is not mine, the last thing I want to do is take ownership in the ‘That’s not how I would write that’ vein, which is kinda tricky because once you start editing the lines can get a little blurry.

A little searching online didn’t reveal a system either (but I’m sure one exist somewhere), so I developed my own. It keeps it simple, while explaining what I felt might be needed. It will be tweaked as I go along, as most things are, but here it is in all its commenting glory. I’m posting, hoping it will be of use to others in their own review process. Have a comment about it? Feel free to post it. I might use it. It can always be better.


General-Anything that doesn’t fit a specific category.

Word Choice-The word sounds wrong in my head. That doesn’t mean I’m convinced it’s wrong, just that it creates ‘noise’ when I’m reading the sentence, paragraph, etc.

Structure – Reorganizing the words/sentences/paragraphs might create a stronger scene, opening, etc.

Show- Walk me through the experience, let me form my own judgement from context.

Context – As a reader, I’m wanting more information to paint a scene.

Thoughts – What is the character thinking?

Sound – I’m wanting to hear something here.

Emotion – Either the emotion created seems at contrast with the situation (and thus needs clarification) or maybe it is absent and I think it might make the scene stronger to include it.

Action Shot – I’m wondering what the characters are doing, or what is going on around them.

Reaction Shot – I think the scene could be stronger if you include more details about the characters reactions.

Eye-Stumble – This means that something about the sentence or word causes a brief mental stumble when my goes over it. It doesn’t flow without thought, and too much of this can break the reader out of a scene.




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