Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Finish Your Book


Writing a book is hard, no one can deny it. You’ve got to put the time and effort in. Even as a bare minimum writing enough words and putting together a story that’s long enough to make into a book is challenging, but if you want it to be any good - well, that’s a different story altogether!
One of the ways to make sure that you have got all the ingredients of a good novel in your book is to have a handy list of questions by your side. While lots of writing is up to the individual, their skill and creativity, there are also certain ingredients that every novel should include.
So while you are writing a book, and certainly before you submit it to publishers or self-publish, ask yourself the following checklist questions to ensure you have done everything you can to make it the best it can possibly be.
Have you done a spelling and grammar check?
Have you formatted it correctly?
Is the chronology correct?
Have you used clear language that is easy to understand?
Are your sentences short and to the point?
Is your text readable? Does it flow? Is it too complicated or too obscure?
Do you welcome your reader and invite them in as soon as they begin to read your story?
Have you made sure you never patronise your reader?
Are all your characters necessary?
Do your characters all feel different from one another?
Do your characters all sound the same?
Is it clear whose perspective we are following at all times?
Will your reader be able to identify with your protagonist?
Are you showing or telling?
Does your book have a theme?
What is the genre of your book?
Is the dialogue engaging and realistic?
Does your story build?
Does each chapter end on a cliffhanger?
Is your story easy to follow?
Does your reader care what happens?
Are all the plots and subplots relevant to your story?
Could you summarise your story in just a few sentences?
Does your story start at the right time?
Have you made every word count?
Have you made the reader engage emotionally with your story?
Does your ending leave your reader satisfied?
By asking yourself these questions, you can make sure you have thoroughly checked your book and can feel confident that your readers will be gripped from the very first page to the very last. So before you decide your book is complete, make sure you ask yourself these questions and that you have answers to all of them - if not there is still more work to be done!

Until I saw this, I would not have thought of most of these, though I have a feeling that if I let others read things I wrote, they amy ask things such as "Is this necessary?" which could refer to just about anything. 

One thing I have encountered with writing a diary novel is how long to keep it going. I have been writing different incidents, but have been uncertain how long to make the the entire story our to break it into more than one book (a series). 

And how do I determine the answers to some of these questions? Such as if the reader cares what happens, and if I have made the reader engage emotionally with the story.

As far as my memoir goes, I'm not too certain how these questions pertain, though I have wondered how many extra characters have been necessary for some parts and if naming each of them is necessary. In some cases, I left them unnamed,mostly because of not remembering their real names.

How have you writers out there dealt with these questions? 


  1. Most of these are good, but I don't agree with the short and to the point sentences. The sentence structure should be varied and not all the same.

  2. Echoing Sandra here. I don't want to only read staccato sentences. Sometimes a longer, gentler approach is necessary.