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The Wise Reader

June 24, 2006

Filtered to the Novel-Reading Group:

slightlyjillian posted these a while back, and I’m gonna borrow them back, because someone has asked for things to help look over the rodeo novel.  These are suggestions, and don’t feel like they all have to be answered or whatever, but they’re pretty good guidelines. ^__^  Again, locked to the Novel Six. *G* Oh, yeah, and the questions needn’t be answered here, this is just to give you some guidance.

The Wise Reader

Rare is the writer who actually knows what he’s written when it first comes out on paper.  A passage you think is clear won’t be.  A character you think is fascinating will bore other people silly because you haven’t yet grasped what it is that makes him interesting.  But you won’t know it–until someone else has read it and told you.

You need someone to read it now, today, the minute you finish it.  Someone who is committed to your career and wants you to succeed almost as much as you do.

In other words, you need a…brilliant critic.

The Wise Reader doesn’t imagine for a moment that he can tell you how to fix your story.  All he can tell you is what it feels like to read it.

Questions

  1. Were you ever bored?
  2. Did you find your mind wandering?
  3. Can you tell me where in the story this was happening?
  4. Who was your favourite character?  Why?
  5. Who was your least favourite?  Why?
  6. Was there anything you didn’t understand?
  7. Is there any section you had to read twice?
  8. Is there any place where you got confused?
  9. Was there anything you didn’t believe?
  10. Any time when you said, “Oh, come on!”
  11. What do you think will happen next?
  12. What are you still wondering about?

from How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy  by Orson Scott Card

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