Charles Baxter is a wonderful writer and a legendary teacher of writing. I saw him speak as part of an AWP panel and my writing was transformed. Here’s a short piece from Glimmer Train that will show you what I mean:
"There are about five questions you can ask yourself about stories, and they're not foolproof, but they're useful. One is, what do these characters want? Second is, what are they afraid of? Third is, what's at stake in this story? Fourth is, what are the consequences of these scenes or these actions? And the last one is, how does the language of this story reflect the world of the story itself?"
Read the rest here.