Reading with a writers eye

This book is designed to help you understand how to read with a writer's eye, taking the time to analyse how an author manages to grab your attention and hold it so that you keep on reading through to the end.

Your notebook will become a valuable source of reference. Failure to write ideas down can result in you losing them altogether. Committing them to paper helps commit them to memory and stimulate new writing projects.

Use the questionnaire in Figure 1 to analyse published examples of your particular writing interest. Whether you intend to write non-fiction articles, short stories or novels, you will discover that the same basic principles apply.

As your critical faculties develop, you may find your reading enjoyment is spoilt by the way technical points you were previously unaware of suddenly become glaringly obvious. Gradually, however, as your new-found understanding helps you to appreciate the skills being employed, the sheer pleasure of reading something that is both beautifully written and well-constructed will return and increase.

By the time this stage is reached, your own writing will be showing a marked improvement.

The following questions are designed to provide an insight into the techniques employed by published authors of both fact and fiction to catch and hold their readers'attention.




Was the first sentence shorter than the others in the opening paragraph?


Was the first paragraph shorter than the second?


Did the first paragraph tell you what the article/ story was about?


What was it about the article/story that made you read on?

(a) You wanted to know how to perform a specific task

(b) You found the topic fascinating

(c) You discovered something you didn't know before

(d) You had to know what happened next

(e) You wanted to find out how it all ended

□ □ □ □ □

□ □ □ □ □


Was the middle informative/entertaining?


Was it set out in a logical order?


Did each section/scene lead you on to read the next?


Did you feel compelled to keep reading?


If characters were included, could you relate to them ?


Did the end bring the whole thing to a logical conclusion?


Was the ending satisfactory?


Were all the questions answered/loose ends tied up?


Did the author deliver what they promised?


Did you enjoy reading it?


Would you read more by this author?

Answers to the above questions should mostlybe "lés'.

Fig. 1. Analysis sheet.

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