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3 Questions To Ask Instead Of 'is It Good?'

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David Stafford offers some solid advice on targeted questions to ask from your readers instead of 'is it good.'




“Good” is the answer you get when you don’t ask for effective, specific writing feedback. It is usually the word non-writers use because they aren’t keen on the moving parts to the complex machine we’ve created.

That is why we should use this question instead: “Does it work?”



  1. “Did you understand what the Protagonist wanted and why?”
    Here, you’re basically asking: “Does my Protagonist-Goal-Motivation structure work?”
    The fundamental building block of any story is the Protagonist’s goal. His/her motivation for pursuing the goal is also essential, as the reader has to be sufficiently motivated to care about what happens.
  2. “Did the Protagonist’s choices make sense?”
    It’s important that you never define your plot as “what happens.”
    Your plot is “what characters choose, followed by consequences, followed by more choices.”
  3. “Did you have emotional responses during the story? When?”
    Finally, with this question, you are asking: “Do my story’s stakes and consequences work?”
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I really like Mr. Stafford's approach to the issue.  Some of our editors use the question "Does it make sense, or with others it is the angled approach of asking whether or not the events or responses are realistic?"  But after reading what you posted, I'm going to pass along the approach of "Does it work?"  It is, frankly, a better way of looking at it.

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