Monday, October 14, 2013

Writing Tips - Asking Why

The one question you can't ask enough while you are writing is "Why?"

Check with any child under the age of five and you'll see that their favorite word is "Why?"



A thirst for knowledge.

As a writer, you are going to use this question as a tool to help you create your characters and structure your plot.

So, let's start with the first use of "Why?"

Why do you want to write this story?

  • What is it about this particular story that encourages you to write it? 
  • Why do you think other people will want to read it?
  • What is it about the characters that motivates you to tell their story?

Why do you want to write about character X?

  • What makes your character fascinating?
  • What does your character have to gain? 
  • What does your character have to lose?
  • Why does the character act the way they do?

With each answer, ask another question to further define your character. Go deep. Dig down until you know your character intimately.

Let's move on to the plot of the story.

Why did you structure your plot with this kind of beginning and end?

When you identify key plot developments, work backward using "Why?" to generate more action to drive the story.

There is no "right" answer to each "Why?" question, but if you keep drilling deeper, you'll be able to explore several possible lines of questions and answers. What you're looking for is an answer that suits the tone of your story and if possible, surprises your readers and still remains plausible.

Working forward in your story, ask "What could happen next?"

You'll come up with a number of answers. Jot them all down. Don't just work with the first answer. Figure out how each would fit in the story line, whether or not the plot point works, and if it can be strong enough to last.

Asking these questions gives you a good start to coming up with vivid, interesting characters and intriguing and logical plots.

So, let's go ask some questions and write an exciting story!

Image credit: 3dagentur / 123RF Stock Photo

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