Look critically at your draft, get responses—and revise.

Read your draft slowly and carefully. Try to see it as if for the first time: Does the story grab your attention, and can you follow it? Can you tell what the point is, and will your audience care? Be sure to get feedback from others during workshop days.

Following 8 sections are some questions that can help you or others examine a narrative with a critical eye:


1. Does the title suggest what the narrative is about, and will it make an audience want to read on?  How do the early paragraphs capture the audience’s interest? Is it clear why you’re telling the story, and have you given readers reason to read further or to find out what happened? How else might the narrative begin?  10 points





2. Who’s telling the story? Have you maintained a consistent point of view and voice or attitude? How have you established authority and credibility? How would you describe the stance and tone—and are they appropriate for your audience and purpose?  10 points





3. Is the setting of your story clear and significant? Have you situated the events in a well-described time and place that helps flesh your character, or set the mood or the “one thing more” for your story?  10 points





4. Is the story mostly easy to follow? If it’s too confusing, would a few short explanations or transitions help your audience follow the sequence of events? Or does it need some rearranging—would a chronological structure help?  10 points





5. Are there enough vivid, sensory details that get low on the scale of abstraction? Have you included any dialogue or direct quotations (dramatized scenes)—and if not, would adding some help the story come alive?  20 points





6. Does it have a relative balance of ideas/argument and detailed narration? If not, where does it need more or less of each?  10 points





7. Does the story have a clear point/theme or deeper significance? Is the point stated explicitly in an introduction or at the end—and if not, should it be? If the main point is implied rather than stated, is the significance of the story still clear?  20 points





8. How satisfying is the conclusion and its significance? What does it leave the audience thinking? How else might the narrative end? How might the author avoid leaving the audience with the feeling of “so what”? 10 points