Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Asking the right questions

I have a simple, yet useful post for you wonderful readers today. I've been student teaching in a Grade 5 class this month and one of the topics I've been giving lessons on is the reading comprehension strategy of asking questions. It dawned on me that as writers we have to constantly be asking ourselves questions. It all starts with the simple: "What am I going to write about?" which is usually followed by: "How am I going to write this?" After that, there are an endless number of questions you should be asking yourself. Here are twenty of the most important ones.

What does my character want?

Who is my audience?

What age group am I writing for?

What point-of-view is best to tell my story?

What genre am I writing in?

What tense am I writing in?

Do I have an authentic voice?

How long will my chapters be?

Have I eliminated passive voice?

Do all the words serve to advance the story?

Are my characters developed enough?

Have I hooked the reader from page one?

Have I done enough research?

Where do I want this story to go?

What is my title going to be?

Have I checked for run-ons, fragments, comma splices, awkward phrasing, and dangling modifiers?

Is my sentence and paragraph structure appropriate for my audience, and is it varied enough?

Have I started the story as close to the end as possible?

Have I gotten rid of any unnecessary words?

How is my flow and pacing?

And one more...

What agents should I submit to?


  1. Wow, I read those too fast and now my head is spinning ;) But yes, these are questions we always need to answer. Great list!

  2. So I need to start mine with: Have I created a list using Ryan's awesome list of what I need to ask myself next time I write a novel :D

    Very cool stuff and useful!

  3. It's the process of answering the questions you listed that produce the meat for a great story, and sometimes more stories to follow.

  4. Great questions, thanks! Nice having these in one place. Now, how can I affix them onto my wall?