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Critical Reading: Ending & Reflections

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve finished the novel.

The End
1. Go back to what you thought the main plot and theme were just from reading the back cover. Is that actually what the theme/plot were?

2. Was the plot well-paced?

3. Did the level of conflict/tension continually rise? Did the author give a few lulls in the action to allow you a breather before moving onto greater conflict/tension?

4.  Do all conflicts/events of the plot/subplot lead up to/set up the climax?

5. What is the climax? Does it work? Is it realistic? Does it pull in all elements of character and plot?

6. After the climax, is there a satisfying denoument?

7. Has the author left any threads dangling/left anything unconcluded? Is this book one of a series? If so, does the author give a satisfying ending for this volume, yet leave you wanting to read the next book?

8. Is the ending satisfying? Not necessarily happy, but satisfying?

9. Is there a strong last line/paragraph?

10. If there’s an epilogue, is it necessary? Does it add to the satisfaction of the ending, or is it just more information?

11. If you don’t find the climax and ending satisfying, how would you have done it differently?

But wait . . . there’s more! Now it’s time to reflect on what you’ve read:
1. Did you enjoy reading this book?

2. Were there ever times when you got so caught up in reading that you forgot to critique?

3. What did you like most about the book?

4. What did you like least?

5. What took you totally by surprise?

6. Were there conflicts/plot twists that kept the story feeling fresh and new, or did you know what was going to happen before it did?

7. If you were to write a review of this book, what would be three positive things you would mention? Three negative?

8. Would you recommend this book to your friends and family?

9. Reflect on why you chose this book. Did you get out of it what you hoped?

10. What have you learned about craft to apply to your own writing?

11. How does the title tie in with the story?

12. Did the back-cover copy accurately set-up/convey what the novel is really about?

13. Will you ever re-read this book just for pleasure?

  1. Saturday, December 8, 2007 11:10 am

    That’s what usually happens to me–I get so caught up in a good book I forget to read critically. Thanks for the great series!


  2. Carol Collett permalink
    Sunday, December 9, 2007 7:13 pm

    Great series, Kaye. Thanks so much. I just read a book for pleasure I’m going to read again critically. I loved the book so now I’m going to see if I can determine specifically what made me enjoy it so much.



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