An Easy Scorecard to See How Well You Write


As we’ve finished determining what you’ll write, it’s important to go back to basics. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started, or an established writer, basics are never a bad thing to revisit.

Step one will be determining how well you write. Everyone asks that about themselves as a writer, sometimes to a scrutinizing end. Here it’s not going to be overcomplicated. In fact, it’s going to be a basic test to determine what your strengths are, and where you need to focus on improvement.

Don’t just score yourself, get a group and have everyone score one another. In an ideal world, the score you give yourself will be relatively close to what others give you. If the scores are consistent, then your path to improvement will be brightly illuminated. If your scores seem all over the place, perhaps you need to refine your style and voice, find your focus.

Here you have an easy way to score yourself on your writing. Give yourself a score from a 1-10. 1 meaning it’s your worst category that makes you shiver, 10 meaning it’s what everyone (serious critiques, not your Mom) says you do best. If you want a bit more information on the subject at hand, each one has a hyperlink to a blog post/article explaining further.

1)   Plot

  1. 1 means you don’t even try to have a beginning, middle, or end.
  2. 10: My lord, every moment had to be in there. Nothing can be cut the plot is so tightly woven.

2)   Character

  1. 1 means every character sounds the same and has no development.
  2. 10 means these people seem real, and readers ask you who you based the character on because there was no way you invented that person.

3)   Setting

  1. 1 means readers can’t figure out if the chapter takes place on a beach, or a shady alleyway.
  2. 10 means they can smell the air, see the clouds and stars, and see the people in this world.

4)   Dialogue

  1. 1 “Hold me, Anakin. Hold me like you did at the lake on Naboo.”
  2. 10 “I love you.” “I know.”

5)   Prose

  1. 1 means the reader has no idea what experience they’re gaining from reading your book.
  2. 10 means readers will clearly, and passionately, discuss what this book delivers to as many people as they can.

6)   Description

  1. 1 means they don’t know your character’s age, physical features, religion, nothing. Or an action scene makes no sense because they can’t tell what’s happening.
  2. 10 means they could draw their own interpretation of a character or a movie director could create storyboards for a scene of the chapter just from your pages, the description is so clear.

7)   Sentence Structure

  1. 1 means sentences read like speed bumps on a highway, terribly planned and completely mess up the mojo of the experience.
  2. 10 means that your reader forgets that they’re reading, it’s a smooth, flowing experience

8)   Tension

  1. 1 means every character agrees with one another, moves forward, and then nothing of any consequence happens.
  2. 10 means even your heroes are at odds with one another and each scene brings peril of some sort.

9)   Grammar

  1. 1 mens your screwing all it up: all you’re things in the sentence’s you try to righting?
  2. 10 means that the reader never has to take note of your grammar.

10)  Active Voice

  1. 1 means the subject has no involvement in the action.
  2. 10 means your subject is always doing the action, they are needed. 

There you have it, nothing too complicated. So, how did your test scores come out? Here’s an easy way to gauge your scores.

0-10: Take it easy on yourself. If you can read, and understand, this text, there is no way you’re that bad.

10-25: Again, it really can’t be that bad. If your friends gave you this, tell them they aren’t that pretentious and to ease up.

26-50: You’re being pretty harsh, but sometimes a dose of truth can be a path to artistic freedom.

50-75: All right, you understand the fundamentals, but you’ve got some serious work to do.

75-85: You’re pretty decent, but definitely lack the panache to prove yourself to a worthy agent, editor, publisher, or reader.

86-94: You feel very confident, with some areas of refinement needed, but you’re doing well.

95-100: Get off your high horse, no one’s that good. Writers are supposed to be self-deprecating, so deprecate.

Thanks for stopping by, updates are always available at www.ThomasAFowler.com, subscribe to this blog to receive updates in your e-mail automatically. The conversation’s always alive on Twitter @ThomasAFowler, use the hashtag #WritersConquest with any inquiries, talking points, or vexing issues.

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