I always think of a first draft of a story ( fiction or non-fiction) like a garden bed. I know that I want to dig deeper and find more of the story. One way to do this is to ask someone to read my first draft and ask questions. Just like empathetic listening and questioning, I ask for empathetic reading and questions.

This means that a reader isn't going to give suggestions or correct my writing and even tell me if he or she likes what I have written.

He or she will simply ask the questions to help me dig deeper. When I consider the questions and answer them for my story's benefit, then I might dig a little deeper.

I think of those questions like the tops of potato plants. They are green and leafy and when you grab one and pull it up, you'll find the potato. Sometimes the potato that comes up is big and fat, sometimes it's tiny. I find that questions are like that, too. Some questions are about specific details and to clarify something (like: what time of the day does this happen?). I think of these as small potato questions--because they can be answered pretty quickly. Then there are the big potato questions and they usually involve more thought and more writing. They also usually involve WHY or WHAT (Not always!)  For example, why did the girl want her father to move away? Or, what did the prince want most of all and why?
Many of us are able to think of small potato questions--what color was her hair? What kind of house did they live in? Sometimes we have to think a little harder about questions that will pull up a big potato. Some people call these questions "open ended"  because the answer might go on and on. But, for our class, we'll call them big potato questions.

Now, the other reason I ask a friend to read my first draft and ask questions is to see if I am being clear and to see if I have raised questions that will make my reader want to turn the page and find out the answer. So, if I get asked some big potato questions that I know will be answered later in the story, I can assume that I'm doing a good job with creating suspense. Remember, our reader will  be pulled along in a story by what he or she wants to find out.

  Community is... a garden of friendship and power

 swaying across the soft and moist world.

Community is... a garden of friends,

Community is... a strong punch!

Community is... ants, helping anyone

and playing with family.

Community is... friendly, chocolate, cable

friends, smooth and sleep.


Community is... the favorite word

of Mr. Grimy who went to sleep

on a smushy electricity plant and

poured frappucino on his face.

Community is... playing in the garden.

Community is... chickens choke

Poseidon extra smooth in France.

Community is... sticky and people had to work hard.

But something working

in a community can be grimy but you do it anyway

to save the world.

Community is... smushy, soft dance, savers are people

such as spiderman.

Community is... hens in a coop that are laying eggs.

Community is... people helping France fly

frappucino and chocolate run!!!!

Community is... where Octopus chases Thor

to France with his strong power.


Community is... squishy and slimy

calming down with chocolate, grimy, frappucino

Community is... slimy chickens that Thor

smoothed out with a caffeine choked hawk

In the city while prancing open mushy chocolate

watching cable.

Community is... sticky electricity

swaying and bouncing towards the lumpy

Smushy city springing  toward the diving goo

with its grimy strut.

Community is... slimy caffeine

flying into chocolate that’s inside a frappucino.

Community is... diving with friends

Friends is also playing and dancing together.

Community is... a big garden, city, family, dancing

and playing together.

Community is... bumpy people eating chocolate in France.

 Community is... cars and flying, thanings

Ants, hawk.

Community is... play together

Doctor sway


The end.