Evaluating books and why they do or don’t work.

Before you write, it’s very helpful to read a book or two (or five or 10) written by authors you admire in your genre. You may know that you like those authors, but do you know why?  Learning why will help you develop qualities in your won writing that your fans will love.

Here are some points to consider when reading to evaluate a novel…

1. What is the overall theme of the novel?

2. How many subplots are there?

3. Do the subplots share the main theme or do they have themes of their own?

4. If they have themes of their own, what are they?

5. Name the overall point of view of the novel.

6. Does the point of view work well?  If not, what point of view would work better?

7. Do the subplots use the same point of view as the main plot? If not, does it work well or can you envision it working better with the same point of view?

8. Compare the amount of dialog in the book to the amount of narration?

9. Would the book work better with a different ratio?

10. Make a graph of the tension/suspense in the book. Put the numbers of the chapters along the bottom of the graph, and plot the tension in each chapter on a scale of 1 (low tension) to 10 high tension).

11. Mark the climax of the book specifically. How close to the end of the book is the plot climax? Does this placement of the climax seem about right? Should it be later or earlier?

12. What did you like best about the book?

13. What would you have changed about the book if you had written it?

14. What advice would give the author to make the book better?

15. Name one thing that will make you remember this book throughout your life?

After analyzing several books using these questions you may begin to notice areas in your book that need changes.   Remember that many of the reasons you like the writing of your favorite authors may someday become the reasons your readers like your writing. This is not meant to be an exercise for you to determine how  to make your writing like someone else’s. Instead, it is meant to show you a way to analyze writing in general: yours and theirs.

About loubelcher

I'm a freelance artist and writer. I enjoy anything whimsical and my art and writing generally concentrate on the lighter side of life.
This entry was posted in fiction, writing general and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Evaluating books and why they do or don’t work.

  1. Great tips, Lou! Thanks.

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