10 questions I ask and answer while writing.


Does the hero/heroine lead the action? Is he/she proactive at every stage and fired up by a desire or goal?

Is the hero’s journey starting as far back as it needs, to see an arc of emotional growth by the end of the novel?

Are characters talking the plot? Telling the story and not showing?
For me, the best example of explaining the difference between SHOWING and TELLING comes from Mark Twain. He wrote: ‘Don’t write “the old lady screamed.” Bring her on and let her scream.’

Is the baddie evil enough?
Does the antagonist offer the hero the right challenge? Do they both belong in this book?

Does the plot move faster and grow more intense after the mid-point?

Are there more revelations about the main characters as the novel approaches the final chapters?

Is the manuscript “one-note” emotionally?
Is it all comedy? Drama? Sadness? Frustration? Does it need more emotional breaks?

Is the dialogue flat?
Does everyone talk the same? Can a reader differentiate between characters, just by how they speak?

Are minor characters standing out from each other in looks and manner?

Is the novel primal enough?
Are characters reaching out for something? Love? Survival? Family protection? Revenge?