Basic Checklist for Your Story

10.8K 194 42

Here's a quick checklist of ideas and dynamics you might want to consider including in your story. Taken from http://the-right-writing.tumblr.com/post/89376879178/basic-checklist-for-your-story (linked to in the External Link). Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive list, and by no means do you need to include all of these points in your story. Not all of these points apply to every story, and that is perfectly okay! It's just a spring board to spark ideas. 

I've bolded the points I personally think are the most important to note. Some points, like "Does your protagonist have flaws?" are definitely important and should be considered, but it's kind of common sense in the writing world and you probably already knew that. Or at the very least, it's something you keep hearing over and over again. I've bolded some of those more obscure, but thought-provoking, questions that you probably don't hear too often. (They aren't, by any means, requirements to writing a good story. Just something to think about.)

YOUR PROTAGONIST

Does your protagonist have a personality beyond being heroic and nice?

Does your protagonist have agency?

Does your protagonist’s personality change?

Did your protagonist have a life and relationships before the events of the story?

Does your protagonist have flaws?

Is your protagonist active as opposed to passive or reactive?

YOUR SETTING

Is your setting described well enough that readers can imagine themselves there?

Is your setting used or described differently than similar settings by other authors?

Do readers have a sense that your world extends outside the events of your story?

Does your setting have its own unique atmosphere aside from being a backdrop for your plot?

Is it important that the events in your story take place in this setting and not another?

YOUR ROMANTIC SUBPLOT (IF APPLICABLE)

Does the relationship have flaws?

Does the relationship take time to develop?

Does the love interest have their own personality beyond their romantic traits?

Does the love interest have agency both inside and outside the relationship?

Does the love interest have flaws?

YOUR MAJOR NON-PROTAGONIST CHARACTERS

Do your major characters have varying opinions on your protagonist?

Do your major characters have traits outside of their relationships with the protagonist?

Do your major characters have varying gender identities, races, ability statuses, and sexual orientations, unless there is a good plot reason otherwise (such as the story taking place mainly at a male prison or a gay bar)?

Do your major characters have different worldviews and senses of morality?

Do most of your major characters have agency?

Do your major characters have flaws?

Do all of your major characters need to be there?

Do most of your major characters’ personalities change?

YOUR MINOR BACKGROUND CHARACTERS

Do most of your minor characters have something that makes them interesting and memorable?

Do your minor characters have varying gender identities, races, ability statuses, and sexual orientations, unless there is a good plot reason otherwise (such as the story taking place mainly at a male prison or a gay bar)?

Do all of your minor characters need to be there?

YOUR ANTAGONIST

Does your antagonist have a reasonable motive for their actions?

Does your antagonist have agency?

Has your antagonist done enough to be taken seriously?

Does your antagonist have good traits?

Does your antagonist have traits outside of their relationship with the protagonist?

YOUR PLOT

Do your scenes flow logically?

Are all of your questions either answered or left unanswered for a reason?

Are there too many coincidences?

Does your plot begin at the perfect spot?

Does your plot end at the perfect spot?

Is there conflict?

Are there any scenes that could be left out?

Does your plot happen because of the actions, reactions, and decisions of your characters?

 

YOUR MECHANICS

Are there any spelling or grammatical errors?

Are there any sentences that could be left out?

Are most of your sentences active instead of passive?

Do you use mostly strong verbs (ex: drank, ran) instead of weak verbs (ex: was, did)?

Do you use too many adverbs?

Are your sentences varied in structure?

Yuffie's Writing How-To'sWhere stories live. Discover now