ENGL 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 raise. 

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, dreams)

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 the story?

12) What makes this story worth reading?

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