Writer's Checklist!

Here are just a few interesting questions to think about regarding your manuscript. Feel free to just skim the list but there are some thought provoking points in there (many of them sent in by other writers like yourself).


1. What is the dramatic opening moment that captures reader attention and defines the protagonist as interesting? What makes this protagonist someone we want to know more about?
2. Who other than the protagonist is the reader rooting for?  
3.Is the antagonist sufficiently formidable?  
4.Does the story explore human emotions, values and/or beliefs?
5. Do the key characters come to know themselves in convincing situations?
6.Does the protagonist do things, or do things just happen to them? (Is she active or passive?)
7.Does the protagonist confront and resolve a moral/ethical dilemma?
8.Is the antagonist in some measure likeable?  
9. Does the story reflect that "life is a continual struggle to do the right thing"?
10.Are character names in synch with the image of the character?
11.Are all the characters active particpants rather than passive observers?
12. Is every part of the story, each scene, dramatised?
13. Does each scene hook the reader via action, rather than set the scene?
14. Does each scene develop the plot AND develop reader emotional involvement?
15.Does the hero go from one predicament to another (i.e a bigger one).
16.Is each scene entertaining?    
17.Does the story "turn" every four to six pages,  (ie the situation changes)?
18.Does every character have a thrust, something they yearn for?
19. Is the character's motive clear? (at least to the author!)  
20. What dire consequences follow if the protagonist were to fail?
21. What is the protagonist's biggest fear?    
22. Are the obstacles that face the protagonist sufficiently and increasingly formidable?
23. Does the protagonist need/have a sidekick? Batman and Robin, Holmes and Watson etc
24. Does the antagonist have clear, strong and believable motives?
25.Is the protagonist confronted at the outset by a life changing incident?
26.Is the reader swept up and carried in a torrent of events? (suspension of belief, that we see in novels like Harry Potter, Narnia etc)
27. Are there secret lies in the story?    


28. Is there conflict on every page?

29. Does the character have a secret or hidden goal that creates internal conflict?
30. Is at least half of every scene dialogue?  
31. Does each scene feed the reader need to know "what happens next"?
32. Is there a use of cliff-hanger type scene ends? (very noticeable in thrillers especially, e.g John Grisham novels)  
33.Do we reveal character motives from the character's viewpoint?
34.Is the denoument a maximum of 2 pages?  
35. Is the closing scene filled with action and dialogue?
36.Is retribution served on the antagonist?  
37. Are the stakes in the story as high as we can make them?
38. Does the story have gut emotional appeal?  
39. Can we see the exact pages in which the stakes escalate?
40. Does the reader see the protagonist change/grow as the story unfolds?
41. Do the protagonist's qualities include self-sacrifice and forgiveness?
44. Ultimately, is it a happy ending, or at least leaves the reader feeling satisfied?



Overall, though your work does not have to adhere to all these features (obviously!), it does help to at least give these points some thought!


Also, feel free to email me any of your own suggestions that we can post for other writers! 



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