Note to all reviewers and judges: this is a template for reviewing. Consider each factor (and more) that are given here for optimal results. Additionally, each section of this review should have at least 100 words (the author needs to know enough about his or her good/bad).
A tl;dr in a nutshell section is as follows.
The good: What did you like about this story? List good points here.
The bad: What did you not like?
Summary: What you think about the entire story in a few sentences.
N/10: Your thoughts on the plot along with a rating.
Story: Good? Bad? Dull? This is how interesting the story is.
Theme: There should be a visible theme. Even if it's only a one-shot, there should be a theme. If not, then the story would have no point. Some themes are: war is bad, people aren't perfect, etc.
Hooks: The author should use "hooks" to make the reader want to keep reading. These include cliffhangers, foreshadowing, quests, mystery, suspense, and others to invoke curiousity and excitement. Too many is bad, however, especially since this is only a short story (however, this also applies for long stories). Check for that.
Components of a Plot: Exposition (beginning), rising action (events happening), climax (the final, huge wave that hits as a result of the rising action), falling action (things cool down; the aftermath), and finally the resolution, or dénouement (conclusion; e.g. in a tragedy did the main character kill herself?). This should be considered in conjunction with the prose. THE PLOT SHOULD BE SMOOTH.
Other aspects from judge's decision.
N/10: Your thoughts on...
Presentation: How well the character is introduced, personality, occupation, other traits. If you use a canon character, KEEP HIM IN CHARACTER! If not, sorry. -a points!
Development: The character needs to change, learn, etc. A good story allows you to get to "know" the character.
Variety: This ain't the clone wars!
Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation (GSP)
N/10: Graded on the following.
Spelling: Accuracy of words.
Grammar: Capitalization, proper usage of verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. Also check for passive sentences.
Punctuation: Ties in with grammar, but should be considered by itself too. This is how well the author used quotation marks, exclams, periods, question marks, etc.
N/10: Again, as follows.
Suspension of Disbelief: Normally you wouldn't believe something could travel faster than light without totally warping space, but of course, the author could explain that with technology that could hold a wormhole open to allow quick travel.
Basically, the author can convince you that events in the story are believable. This includes TV programs from that world, government policies, etc.
Descriptions: How well the author explained the scenes, actions, and setting. It immerses the reader. He is swept into the story, as if he were right there! However, a fatal flaw to this is as follows.
Prose: The author should make sure the style and/or prose should be fluid. Not too awkward, not too liquidy, and NOT TOO COLORFUL! If the author uses too many adjectives to describe, this is purple prose. A big no-no. How dull is reading one adjective after another? (e.g. "Her long, brown hair was sprinkled with a myriad of tiny, silver droplets of rain. These ran down her graceful, swanlike neck in to her elegant dress, which was covered with many beautiful designs" BOR-ING!).
Dialogue: This is how well the author handled speech. Robotic dialogue is not good. Make people sound human: give 'em a brain! Additionally, the school bully shouldn't talk like a professor and vice versa.
Transitions, structure, starts: Tying in with the prose, sentences and paragraphs should be smooth and flowing, not awkward.
Clichés: A balance of cliché and original elements is ideal. Who likes a corny modern-day Disney movie? Or dare I say, Twilight?
Originality: Uniqueness; if this story is a rare gem in a sea of overused tropes and/or plots/plot devices. For example, Harry Potter has received criticism for being similar to Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc. This only results in the plot being extremely predictable and boring (i.e. gives you the "been there, done that" feeling).
Innovation: New ideas. Similar to originality, but just overall how creative the story is.
Entertainment And Enjoyment
N/10: How did YOU like it? This does not affect the final score.
The Bottom Line
N/10: THIS IS THE FINAL SCORE!
This is your conclusion. Summarize the good and bad, what you though should be improved, etc. Then give your rating. This is out of 10. Use careful consideration.
Reviews will be short and sweet.