Question Your Baby #amwriting #amediting

YouAstMeMy heroes, Robert and Darrin McGraw, authors of ANIMAL FUTURE, which I reviewed here as the Best. Book Ever., have been working on a new book. I was privileged to be one of their beta readers, and was strongly impressed by the questions they asked when I had finished.

These are the questions I plan to ask myself about my own baby before I send it out into the world:

1.) What is it about the book that works really well?

2.) What is it that sparkles, that might make this story stand out from other books?

3.) Are there any aspects that might make readers think “Wow, this is a great book. This should win an award!”

4.) Is there anything special about this book?

These are excellent questions, for oneself and for one’s beta readers (assuming, of course, that one’s beta readers are reasonably honest and upfront with one. Brandishing a pistol or a machete while asking would probably not be useful.

What other questions would be particularly helpful to ask of oneself and/or of one’s beta readers?

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Answer these questions about your favorite book.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Question Your Baby #amwriting #amediting

    • Author

      Marian Allen

      April 5, 2016 at 12:01pm

      Good one, Roy! In the McGraws’ case, the answer is a resounding YES!!! I utterly adored their first novel, Animal Future. Good question to add to the list.

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  1. Nate Wilson

    April 5, 2016 at 4:19pm

    All of these questions are in the positive vein. I’d want to balance things out by also asking the converse: what doesn’t work well, are there aspects that might confuse the reader, that sort of thing.

    If all you ask for is the good, you won’t find out where improvements could be made, and your writing won’t be as great as it could be.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      April 5, 2016 at 5:08pm

      Nate, nobody has to ask me for the converse when they ask me for a critique. I always assume a book is given me to beta read because the writer wants me to be honest about what I perceive as flaws. If I don’t expect the book to be good with maybe some room for improvement, I’d rather not read it.

      I did get these questions as a follow-up to a critique, but I want to remember them to ask MYSELF about any book or story I write. If I have no good, honest answer to these questions, maybe I need to do a serious rewrite. If I can come up with good answers for them, I have some material for a knockout blurb. And maybe that’s what the McGraws were looking for when they asked these questions.

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      • Nate Wilson

        April 5, 2016 at 5:40pm

        Aha, now I get it. I’ve only beta read two books, and neither were close enough to publishable to really ask those questions seriously. If they’re already expecting honest feedback, these extra questions certainly make sense.

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