Peer Editing of Schreibprojekt 10: Ein Märchen

A. Vor dem Lesen. Without reading the entire story, you should first evaluate some basic questions about your partner’s writing project. Answer the following questions before you read his/her story. For this small section, please answer in German -- in the other sections you should answer in English.

1.Gibt es einen Titel? Heißt es einfach “Schreibprojekt” oder hat es einen deskriptiven Titel?

2.Ist das Schreibprojekt getippt? Ist es doppelzeilig (=double-spaced)?

3.Ist es mindestens 120 Wörter? (You don’t have to count every word: does it appear to be around the proper length or longer?)

4.Gibt es mehrere Paragraphen, oder ist alles nur in einem Paragraph?

B. Erster Paragraph. Now read the first paragraph (or two, if the first is extremely short). If there are no paragraph breaks, read at least the first three or four sentences. Then answer the following questions. Some require subjective analysis -- don’t hesitate to give your opinion, whether it’s good or bad! From here on out, please answer in English to all questions, or make comments on your partner’s paper.

1.Is there a good set-up, or does the story simply start? Good introductions to fairy tales usually begin with something like “Es war einmal ein Mädchen ...” or “Es gab einen Müller ...”. If the story simply starts out “Rotkäppchen ging zu ihrer Großmutter,” then some basic explanatory information is missing.

2.Does the first sentence (or two) clue you in to the fact that this is a fairy tale? For example: does it mention specific fairy-tale characters (Prinz, König, Frosch) or settings (Schloss, Hütte)? Does something else indicate that we’re dealing with a traditional or folk-based story? If the story is a retelling from a different perspective, is the perspective made clear?

3.Is it written in the simple past tense (e.g. kam, ging, war)?

C. Erstes Lesen. Now read the entire story. As you read, think about the following questions. Feel free to make comments either here or on your partner’s paper. Again, please express your opinion, whether good or bad!

1.Are there any sections/phrases that simply aren’t clear? If so, put a wavy line under them. Does it seem to you that the problem is due to vocabulary (either mis-chosen words or words that you don’t recognize), or to grammar/structural problems, or is it simply incomprehensible?

2.Circle at least two or three words that you don’t immediately recognize. Do you think that these words should be glossed or explained for an audience of your peers? Do they seem to be important to the story, or can you understand the main idea without knowing exactly what they mean?

3.Does the story progress logically? Obviously, fairy-tales have fantastic elements to them, but they usually follow a certain logical progression. Does this story have any large time gaps that need filling in, or chronological jumps that might cause confusion? Do the actions of the characters seem reasonable? Does the action seem motivated by the story, or does it feel forced by the author?

4.In retrospect, does the title (if there is one) match the actual story? Would you suggest any changes to the title? If there is no title, what title would you suggest?

5.Does the story ‘end’ or simply ‘stop’? In other words, is there a satisfactory conclusion, or do you feel that more should have been said/done?

6.Is the story creative? (Remember that this was not a requirement, but can be a bonus.) Is the story funny or particularly good at what it does (e.g. satire or authentic historical tone)? Did you enjoy reading it? Will you remember any of the details a week from now?

D. Zweites Lesen. Finally it’s time to read the story one last time. This time, focus on the author’s style and sentence structure, and if possible, on the grammar as well. I don’t expect you to be able to catch tiny grammar mistakes, but rather to focus on overall possibilities for improvement.

1.How is the sentence structure? Ideally, there should be some variation between long and short sentences: some should consist of simple phrases, while others should be longer and include a clause (such as weil or dass or aber). Does the author vary his/her sentences enough? Do you notice any areas where the sentences seem too short or too long? Mark any areas like this on your partner’s paper.

2.How is the word order? It’s a good idea to vary word order a bit, as well as sentence structure. Do all of the author’s sentences start in the same way (e.g. with the subject), or does s/he sometimes start with a time element or an adverb? If you sense that certain areas are repetitive, see if you can find one or two sentences where a time element or adverb could be moved to the beginning, or where the addition of “Dann ...” or “Danach ...” might help the flow of the story.

3.From a language-learning standpoint, how challenging do you think this author’s style is? Do you see places where s/he uses adjective endings, genitive constructions or relative pronouns? If so, do they appear to be used correctly? If not, can you suggest any particular sentences that would benefit from a more advanced style? (This may be hard to find -- don’t worry if you can’t come up with any particular suggestions!)

4.Now, scan a small section of the story -- about 6-10 typewritten lines -- and try to find a few grammatical or spelling errors. You may not find any (that’s okay!), but if you do, mark what you think is wrong and what the correction should be. Rest assured that if you can’t find any grammar errors, it won’t be counted against you. :)

5.Finally -- and this is purely an optional question which you do not have to answer at all -- what grade would you give this paper? (The grade you give will have no effect on the actual grade, I’m just curious to see what people’s expectations are.)