2. What is the story's theme?
3. What emotional response does the story provoke in the reader?
4. How has the writers used the tools of his/her craft to create that response?
5. List the story's sequence of events.
6. How many stories is the writer telling?
7. Describe the story's pacing. Where does it move quickly? Where does it move slowly? What creates that
effect? Does the story's pacing match up with its content?
8. What are the story's central metaphors/images? How can they be interpreted? Do they relate to the story's theme?
9. Examine the writer's use of summary and scene. Why does the writer tell what he/she tells and show what he/she shows?
10. How does the story move through time?
11. Where are the flashbacks? How many flashbacks are there? How long are the flashbacks? What function does each serve?
12. What point of view does the writer use? How closely is the P.O.V. aligned with the central character? Why is this P.O.V. the best possible choice for this story?
13. What is the story's setting? Does the setting contribute to the story's theme? How?
14. What is the psychic distance between the narrator and the event? How does that impact the narrator's ability to reflect?
15. Is the main character self-aware?
16. a. What are the main character’s external stakes?
b. What are the main character’s internal stakes?
c. How do these reveal the story’s philosophical stakes?
17. How does the story's language/level of diction
a. reveal character?
b. create a mood, feeling or atmosphere
c. establish a tone
18. Does the story's dialogue (direct and indirect) reveal character?
19. 1. How does the writer use the five basic senses?
i. To show setting?
ii. To reveal emotion?
iii. To trigger memory?
For the writer:
20. What details, characters, plotlines, passages are non-negotiable? What do you refuse to cut? What can you heartlessly slash?
21. If you have to pay me twenty bucks for every word you write, where would you cut back on language?