51 Questions That Will Take Your Book From Good to Great
You’re finally finished.
You can’t believe it’s done. Too many weeks turned into too many months. It took several seasons, seven broken dishes, one bruised knee and two of your oldest child’s baby teeth before you typed the last page.
Sweat and soul, blood and bruises; you said you would do it and you did.
It could be awesome.
However, it might be terrible.
Yeah, you think, it’s probably terrible.
But what if it isn’t?
Writers manage the impossible by juggling opposite thoughts. How many times have you written something you thought was awesome and terrible, equal in tandem?
Many times for me.
At some point in the writing process, a writer needs perspective. Yet this can be difficult. What someone else says about your work can send you sailing or sink your spirits. Though some writers are more fragile than others are, the feedback will surely affect you in some way.
The worst kinds of criticism come from readers who don’t really know what you’re looking for. You need to tell them.
If you are clear from the beginning, then you can get a sharper critique without having your feelings hurt.
Pick any of the 51 following questions to help your reader or readers help you.
1. Did the book grab your attention from the first sentence?
2. By the end of chapter 1, did you feel confused in any way?
3. At any point in the book, did you feel an urgent need to turn the page?
4. Did you feel connected to the book?
5. Could you explain what the book was about in under a minute?
6. What would you say was the book’s greatest strength: writing, story, or characters?
7. Did the book touch your senses? Did you feel like you were there?
8. Were the characters unique?
9. Were the characters layered or one-dimensional?
10. Did the characters seem like real people?
11. Were characters consistent or did they stray past borders established by the writer?
12. Were characters individuals or did personalities seem to bleed into one another?
13. Could anything have enhanced the personality or believability of the characters?
14. Did you like the main character?
15. Was the dialogue believable?
16. Was dialogue ever used in the book solely as a means to deliver back-story?
17. Was the dialect used well?
18. Was the setting believable?
19. Were the characters with their setting?
20. Was the narrator’s voice or style distinctive?
21. Was the narrator’s voice or style consistent?
22. Did the story maintain its first, second, or third person narrative?
23. Was the plot easy to follow?
24. Was the language clean and clear, or wordy and difficult to understand?
25. Was the plot believable?
26. Did the writer seem confident?
27. Did the book remind you of any another book you have read?
28. If you could describe the book in three words, what would they be?
29. Was the villain layered? Did he/she seem realistic? Sympathetic?
30. Did you think about the book when you were not reading it?
31. Did the book contain enough description?
32. Are there parts of the book that need to be fleshed out more? If so, which parts?
33. Which parts of the book, if any, would you remove?
34. What was your favorite part of the book?
35. Was the book easy to get through? If not, what made it difficult?
36. Did you notice any factual errors?
37. Did you feel there was anything missing? If so, can you put your finger on what it was?
38. Did you enjoy the subplots? Did they add or subtract from the story?
39. Was there anything you found confusing?
40. Did you think the book was predictable?
41. Was the storyline worthy of your time and attention?
42. Did you enjoy the book in general?
43. What books or authors would you say are similar?
44. How did you feel about the book’s length?
45. Would you pay to read it?
46. Were you sad when it was finished?
47. Would you ever want to read it again?
48. Would you recommend it to a friend?
49. Were the themes of the book relevant to your life?
50. Was the theme too preachy, simplistic, or obvious?
51. If you could make one suggestion for improvement, what would it be?
At some point, you will want to share your work. By controlling which questions you give your reader, detailing what you want to know will help you to prepare for the answers.
Knowing what to expect will help you know what to accept. Which means you can more easily improve.
That means you can use the second draft to knock it out of the park. Of course, if you would like another pair of eyes on the book, eyes with experience in writing and storytelling, then you might consider hiring us to read your work.
Thanks for reading!
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