I found several insight-generating prompts in a ProWritingAid booklet that’s titled “Twenty Editing Tips from Pro Writers.” These critical reading checkpoints can be helpful pre-publication, when a writer engages alpha or beta readers and/or an editor.
The PWA booklet assumes the reader’s point of view is that of a writer whose work is being checked and/or corrected but these points will also help any reader do thorough work as a prose checker. I would want anyone reading my work for quality to provide these observations. These checkpoints can also help with a writer’s own self-editing:
ASK GOOD QUESTIONS
To avoid generic feedback like “I liked it” or “it was good”, ask your reader specific questions.
A. For articles and blog posts, ask a friend or colleague:
Did it read smoothly from top to bottom, or were there areas that felt rough or out of place?
Were there any sentences that you had to read twice to get the meaning?
Were there words that you were unfamiliar with?
Was the argument cohesive?
Are there elements that should be fleshed out further?
Is the tone right for the target audience?
B. For fiction writing, here are some questions that you might find helpful:
Did the beginning of the story capture your interest right away?
Did you find the main character relatable?
Did you care what happened to him or her?
What was your favorite scene?
What sections did you find boring?
Were there points in the story that didn’t make sense or that you found frustrating?
Did you feel compelled to keep reading? Why or why not?
Did you ever get confused about who was who?
Were there any sections that you felt got bogged down with too much backstory, dialogue, or description? Or that needed more?
I include these checkpoints in my self-editing list. I’ll use them (and more) as I read my own drafts or when I edit or test-read for other writers. Yes, I do edit as well as write and self-publish and I love it all.