- What is the real point of the story? ("Just" entertainment is fine for an answer incidentally but here I'd add the question how is it going to entertain? By making people laugh, cry or provide escapism for a bit).
- Who is the real lead character and why? What are their attributes for being the lead character?
- How can your lead character achieve their objective? Is it a strong enough objective that readers will understand and sympathise with?
- Name obstacles(including other characters) they will have to overcome and ensure they are significant ones. Are they significant enough? There was an old insurance advert years ago in the UK with the line "we won't make a drama out of a crisis". Well, writers need to do the exact opposite of that!!! No drama = no story.
- If writing fantasy/fairytales etc, can your readers picture the world you've created? Have you given them enough insight as to how it works? (Not by lots of description incidentally but you can pick up a lot of how the world works by how the characters cope with their setting and their own thoughts about it, just to name one example. Outside commentators/characters can also shed light on how the world works by their noting of what is the same as what they are used to and what is different to name another example). (Same question applies for sci-fi and any "alien" world, which can include our one as well!).
Asking yourself the right questions can be key to a successful story. (For me as I outline most of my fiction before writing it, it would also be key to getting my outline as good as I can get it, which helps me to make my story as good as I can get it on a first draft). So some key questions then are, for me, as follows:-
I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.