Last week I talked about Plot – this week, I’m giving you a list of questions to apply to your story concerning plot, characters, and more. If you can’t answer the questions, then perhaps you need to go back and look at your story. Something might be missing, or out of place, or there might be too much of something.
1. What is your story about?
2. Who are the main characters in your book? There should be one or two – three at the very most (hero, heroine, villain).
3. What do they want? What are their internal and external goals and are the goals important enough to carry the entire story?
4. Why does it matter if your characters do or don’t reach their goals? If it doesn’t matter, you don’t have a story.
5. When are the goals met? If too soon, you might have a short story, but not necessarily a novel.
6. How do they meet their goals? They should have to overcome obstacles that make it exceedingly difficult to reach their goals.
7. Do you have subplots? How do they relate to the main plot?
8. Is there enough of a story to fill an entire book?
9. What is the initiating event that sets off the rest of the action in the book?
10. Does the conflict escalate, with a major complication every few chapters, throughout the book? Is the conflict believable?
11. Do you use compelling hooks at the end of chapters to keep the reader interested?
12. Are there enough twists in the plot, especially towards the end, to keep the reader reading?
13. Do you have subplots? How do they relate to the main plot?
14. Are all conflicts, problems, loose ends solved at the end?
15. Do you have a compelling opening sentence? One that draws the reader in and makes him or her want to continue reading? If not, can you make it more compelling?
16. Where does the story start? Have you included too much backstory?
17. Do you have a catchy or unique title that is appropriate for the story?
18. What makes your story unique? What gives it an edge over other stories?