A Rubric to Grade a Science Fiction Story

The Assignment | Ideas for Stories | Peer editing | Grading Rubric

This rubric is intended as a general description of your story. It is possible that some areas of the rubric would not be appropriate for the story you wrote. For example, some stories may not need a strong setting, or it may be possible that characterization is not the focus of the story; if that is the case, then the story will not be evaluated in that area. For some stories, this rubric wouldn't apply at all; if that is the case, then a separate written explanation of the evaluation would be used.

Characterization:

_____ Advanced: Characters are strongly drawn, clearly separate and fully developed. The main character(s) are presented in multiple ways (appearance, action, thoughts, speech, etc.). They behave "within" their character. They have a past and a future.

_____ Proficient: Characters are clear and reasonably developed. The main character(s) have identifiable characteristics. They may seem to lack a past or future.

_____ In-Progress: Characters are unclear. They may be little more than a name and a description or do not rise beyond stereotype. They may be unbelievably inconsistent, or there may not be enough information to form a judgement about them.

Plot:

_____ Advanced: What the conflict is in the story is clear and the importance of it to the characters is convincing. Actions will produce new situations which will produce new actions. The characters will struggle with their problems in interesting and meaningful ways. The story will have a satisfying and logical climax that is the culmination of the proceeding events. The story explores and develops its SF element. The SF is integral to the plot.

_____ Proficient: What the conflict is in the story is clear. The importance of the conflict to the characters may be fuzzy, although it will clearly be important. Actions will produce new situations which will produce new actions. The characters will struggle with their problems. The story will have a climax that is the culmination of the proceeding events. The story explores its SF element.

_____ In-Progress: The conflict may be unclear or absent. The conflict may be clear, but the importance of it to the characters will never be communicated. There may be no actions (the story is static), or the actions do not seem related to an identifiable conflict. The characters may be passive and not struggle. The story may lack a climax that is the culmination of the proceeding events. There is an SF element, but the story would be no different without it, or there is no SF.

Setting, Narration and Exposition, and Appeals to the Senses:

_____ Advanced: Where the story takes place is clearly drawn and has an impact on the story. The reader will experience the story through multiple appeals to several senses. An appropriate amount of the story is shown rather than told.

_____ Proficient: Where the story takes place is clear. The story makes appeals to the senses. Some of the story is shown rather than told.

_____ In Progress: Where the story takes place may be unclear or setting may be absent altogether. The story may make very limited or no appeals to the senses. Most of the story is told rather than shown.

Style (use of language):

_____ Advanced: The style is appropriate to the story and heightens its effectiveness. This may include interesting and appropriate figurative language, diction and syntax. Sentences will be varied in length and type. The relationships between the parts of the story will be smoothly handled and clear.

_____ Proficient: The style will not interfere with the understanding of the story. Writing will be workmanlike and clear. The relationships between the parts of the story will be clear.

_____ In-Progress: The style will interfere with the understanding of the story. Sentences may need to be reread for meaning. Transitions may be absent. The relationships between the parts of the story may be unclear.

Mechanics:

_____ Advanced: The story will be closely proofread and will contain few or no errors in punctuation, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, capitalization, etc. The manuscript is "clean" and in proper format.

_____ Proficient: The story will be reasonably well proofread. There may be some errors, but they do not interfere with the understanding of the story. The manuscript is "clean" and in proper format.

_____ In-Progress: The story will show little evidence of proofreading. Proofreading errors will be pervasive and interfere with the understanding of the story. The manuscript may be sloppy or not in proper format.

Overall:

_____ Advanced: All the elements of the story will work together in a successful way. The meaningfulness of the narrative will be apparent, compelling and artful.

_____ Proficient: The story is competently told. The meaningfulness of the narrative will be apparent.

_____ In-Progress: The elements of the story may not work together. The meaningfulness of the narrative may be absent or confusing.

The Assignment | Ideas for Stories | Peer editing | Grading Rubric
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