Dear ((Client)),

Thank you for the opportunity to read your work. Following is a critique of your writing strengths and weaknesses based on my reading of your submissions.

Your submissions have received two thorough readings. The first time through I approached each story as a general reader to determine whether the plot held my interest, how I felt about the characters, if there were parts I didn't understand, etc. The second time I approached the stories as an editor focusing on what aspects of the writing caused my original reaction.

Your critique consists of two parts. The first part is a written review of what I felt to be your overall writing strengths and weaknesses. The second part is a list of your strengths and weaknesses condensed down to a sentence or two. Should you choose to apply comments in the critique to revisions of these submissions or your future writing, this can be a useful reference tool.

While I base my comments on several years of reviewing pieces for publication, the process is always somewhat subjective, and you should keep this in mind when reviewing my critique. However, I hope you find this helpful, and if there is anything you would like clarified, please feel free to contact me. Also, if you are interested, for an additional $10.00, I can provide exercises/readings to target the few areas that need work. This option is only available for three months after the critique as that is how long I keep the files active.

Thank you,

Nannette Croce


Client: -----
Service: Critique
Submissions: ----------
Date Completed: -------

I very much enjoyed reading these three submissions. You bring to your stories a strong sense of how married couples interact and the everyday issues they deal with, like negotiating childcare and household responsibilities while balancing work schedules. The dialogue between husband and wife is very realistic. All three stories have good solid beginnings that pull the reader in. This is something many writers have difficulty with. Your female characters are three-dimensional and nicely developed. The character ---- in ((story 3)) is also well developed. You seem to really know these characters down to the minute details. You also have a good ability to inject humor in just the right places. ----- in ((story 3)) is a very funny character.

One problem running through all three stories is that while the female main characters are well developed, the males, with the exception of ------, mentioned above, are a little flat. I think this is because ---- is a friend while the other male characters are spouses. The husbands’ dialogue feels realistic for the most part, but in other aspects they come off as stereotypes. You may want to put more thought into these characters and add at least one aspect that is unique to each individual. Maybe ---- does down beer and pretzels in front of the game every Sunday, but on Saturdays he does the cooking.

Also, for me, the endings of ((story 1)) and ((story 2)) were not in line with the overall tone of these stories. The ending to ((story 3) worked best, and I think that was because the entire piece had a lighter tone. The endings for the other two felt too neat and upbeat. I’m not saying the endings need to be apocalyptic or even gloom and doom, but these were very serious martial issues these couples were dealing with. To suddenly reach an agreement, and one that falls right in line with what the wife wanted all along, makes the reader, who has followed all their trials and tribulations, feel cheated. You could keep the original endings but hint that the husbands were not quite as satisfied with the outcome as their wives. You could also leave some loose ends. Everything doesn’t have to be resolved in the end. Real life rarely works that way.

One final thought, I prefer stories that incorporate a definite sense of place. Not all editors agree, but particularly when you are dealing with suburban middle class couples, I feel it grounds the piece to set it in a specific place rather than “anywhere, USA.” However, if you do that, you must remember that real settings have a unique character just like people. For this reason it is best to choose a place you know.


Client: -------
Outline of Writing Strengths and Weaknesses

• Good sense of how couples interact and the real life situations they deal with
• Realistic dialogue that fits the characters
• Well developed sympathetic female main characters
• Good injection of humor in just the right amount and in just the right places

• Male characters (husbands) come off flat and stereotypical
• Endings need to be more in tune with the tone of the story
• Consider setting your stories in real places

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