Concrete Questions for Nonfiction and Biographies

Setting: Time and Place

  1. When does the story occur?
  2. What are the characteristics of the period?
  3. What issues are important during this time period?
  4. Where does the story take place?
  5. Why did the author choose this time period to tell the story?
  6. How does the setting affect the story?

Plot: Order of Events

  1. What is happening?
  2. Why is it happening?
  3. How is it happening?
  4. Why did the author choose this series of events?
  5. Does the story flow from event to event or is it jumping around?

Characters: The people

  1. What does the author say about each person?
  2. What do the character's words say about him or her?
  3. What do other characters say about the person?
  4. What does the character's actions say about him or her?
  5. Do all these perceptions about the character agree?
  6. What roles does each person play in the story?
  7. What would the story be like if the person was deleted?

Theme: The Message

  1. What are the key ideas the author wants to get across?
  2. What general statement can sum up the meaning behind the events and characters.
  3. Do these key ideas relate to anything that is happening in the world today?