201 Guidelines for Leading Story Discussion
The following questions are suggestions and are not
intended to limit
(or unduly expand) our discussions of your stories. Some
questions will obviously be more relevant than others,
or at any rate more interesting when applied to the story under
consideration. And there may be other questions you wish to
1) Who tells the story? Why is this a good choice of narrators
(or why not)?
2) What methods of characterization does the writer employ?
(e.g., dialogue, action, information, description, thoughts, memories,
3) How is the setting made significant?
4) How much time is covered? What is the proportion of scene and
summary? How are transitions achieved? To what extent are
flashbacks employed and to what purpose?
5) What does the opening sentence accomplish?
6) What does the last sentence accomplish? Why is this the right
ending for this story? Can you conceive of other endings?
7) How effective are descriptive passages? What descriptions
struck you as particularly strong? Why?
8) What sets the plot in motion? What are the significant points
of development in the plot? What provides the climax? Is
there a resolution?
9) Is the story told in the past or present tense? If present
tense, what has been gained (or lost) by this choice?
10) Is there anything unusual about the style of the story?
(sentence structure, diction, dialect, use of figurative language, etc.)
11) Does the author make use of any unusual or esoteric knowledge in
12) What makes this story worth reading?