How to Write an Author Assessment
Author assessments and writing critiques can be performed on almost any type of writing, from fiction to creative non-fiction to scientific writing or persuasive essays. If you are assessing a short story, essay or excerpt, you will want to read the work 2 to 3 times in order to give a thorough assessment. Longer pieces often only get a single cursory reading before being returned to the author for editing. Outline your assessment according to the guidelines provided by your work, school or teacher. Then, review for positive points and thoughtful criticism of the work. Find out how to write an author assessment.
General Assessment Guidelines
Understand the purpose of your author assessment.Your assessment should never try to change the author's style toward your own style. However, you may have different goals based on the reason you are assessing the author.
- If you are being asked by an unpublished writer to critique their work, you must focus on giving positive critiques as well as identifying areas that need work. If the assessment is being done in a teaching capacity, make the assessment a careful critique that encourages the writer to take a certain direction in their next draft.
- If you are assessing an author and their work for a publishing company or other professional pursuit, you must focus on what is marketable about the work. Audience and initial reactions may have more importance in your assessment.
- If you are editing the work for publication, then you may be able to be more critical based on your publications standards. Request a written copy of the style sheet before beginning your assessment.
- If you are assessing the validity of a source or fact checking, you should pay extra attention to details that are inconsistent and make the author unreliable. Follow up your assessment with facts that need to be proven before using or publishing the work.
Read the piece you are being asked to assess.This time, you will want to read it all the way through as you would with any published work, so that you are looking at it as a whole work, rather than its pieces.
Take notes on your first impressions, once you have finished reading it once.Try to write down what you think the thesis or deeper meaning is, as well as any poignant or flat areas. This will help the author to see if you have understood what they were trying to accomplish, or not.
Return to the work and read it a second time.This time, you should read more slowly and thoughtfully, looking at each sentence and paragraph individually. Take notes on the following items:
- Grammar mistakes. If the author has made a number of spelling and grammatical errors, they should be noted and corrected for the author's benefit.
- Continuity. Look for contradictions in the plot and in the characters. Decide if there are any areas where the author needs to edit further to ensure the story or thesis is consistent. If this assessment is being done of an already published source, these details may be a sign of errors in research or a lack of fact-checking.
- Overuse. Many authors lose the ability to see if the words and concepts are used too often. Mark any instances where nouns, verbs and phrases are used in a way that distracts the reader from the story or argument.
- Look for biases in the writing. If you are critiquing a journal or persuasive piece, you should look out for places where other arguments are ignored, or the writing is not well-rounded. Persuasive essays should handle objections near the end, if not before.
Author Assessment Format
Decide how you will format your critique.This will depend upon how you will submit your critique.
- If you are writing an author assessment for school or work, find out if there is a form you should use. Some companies have a form that has questions that need to be answered for all considered work.
- Use Microsoft word or Adobe Acrobat to attach comments in a digital format. Click on the "Tools" menu and scroll to "Track Changes." Highlight the areas you are referring to and write comments about your suggested changes.
- Write a separate document on a word processor or by hand that addresses the work from your initial reactions, to positive encouragement and then to suggested changes.
Ensure you do a thorough critique.Include the following items in your author assessment.
- Include your initial reactions and what you learned in the introductory paragraph. Offer your opinions about what the scope of the work is. This paragraph should explain the work to someone who has not read it.
- Add a paragraph about what the author has done well. Include examples or references to pages, if possible.
- Address grammatical errors on the copy of the work itself. These are given for editing purposes and do not need to be explained in prose.
- Outline your constructive criticism about the work. Include comments about the plot, structure, scope and specific sentences or points. Include concrete examples, but do not rewrite sentences themselves, unless you are an editor.
- Include a section about why you think this work would be marketable and who would enjoy it. If you are doing a book review or a manuscript assessment, this is essential to advise future readers.
Review your author assessment.Remove any sections that try to change the voice or writing style of the author. Add any further helpful comments and proof for spelling and grammar errors.
Video: Writing skills-1: How to prepare for Essays and Writing Assessment Test (WAT)
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