How to avoid being a question junkie

Don’t ask too many questions.

We’ve heard it many times, “There are no stupid questions.” 

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Teachers tell this to their students, and parents to their kids all to encourage curiosity. But, sometimes we need to stop asking and start writing.

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My name is Jean, and I’m a “question” junkie.

Maybe I’m all alone in the world, I hope not. But here is how I became hooked on questions. It first started with “what about.”

I started a novel around a couple of years ago when up popped “what about.”

What about a cute little girl book? After all, I’d already written one children’s book, Tryouts for Ben. Made perfect sense to write another.

Ooh, yeah I can do that. So I set aside my novel and wrote A Most Reluctant Princess.

The results were everything I’d hoped. Happy and satisfied I went back to work on my novel. Well, you guessed it another “what about” reared its head and I bit.

What about a cute little boy book to mirror the little girl book?

Great idea! I’d written a picture book so it shouldn’t take as long to write another. Wrong, it did.

I finished A Reluctant Little Prince and couldn’t be more proud.

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So back to my novel I went. And this time I’m on fire,  burning up the keyboard.  Until you guessed it, another question appeared, and I couldn’t resist.

Hmm, can’t find a journal you like, then “what about” introduced me to his younger brother “what if.”

What if suggested I take a break from the novel and write my own journal. Cool idea!

Okay, wrote and published my journal. Looked pretty damn good too. I’m psyched, ready to get back to my novel, the ideas are popping around in my head like Orville Redenbacher.

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But “what if” was just getting started.

Did I mention all the ideas popping around in my head? Well, every time I’m on a roll, typing and talking to my characters, “what if” buts in with another thought. What if this or that happened? It could be interesting.

Next thing you know, I’m off chasing squirrels with my characters. If I keep this up, they’ll develop personality disorders, and I’m gonna have to spring for a psychologist. Not sure where I could fit a shrink in the plot. Hmm, wait a minute maybe if

I understand that “what if” and “what about” and other questions are useful tools for writers. They help us move from scene to scene, but these dudes are driving me batty. I need a little quiet to finish what I’ve started.

Thanks for listening. It felt good to clear the air. Now I need to go comfort my protagonist. At this point, she’s unsure whether to save or kill someone in this chapter.

Anyone else with these writing issues?

Do the abundance of possibilities give you whiplash?

Any other junkies that get bogged down with questions?

PS: Sorry about all the Gifs

But as I was writing this post “what ifs” cousin, “look how cute” dropped by. Sigh… I really must do some writing today.

Keep reading – great links ahead about good questions for writers.

Leave me a comment – I love comments.

Please head over and “like” my Facebook page at Facebook at jeanswriting . Or to connect with me, click the “write me” tab. Don’t forget you can follow me on StumbleUpon,  on Twitter @jeancogdell , and

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5 Key Questions to Ask as You Write Your Novel

Novel Writing: 10 Questions You Need to Ask Your Characters

7 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Write Your Novel  


2 thoughts on “How to avoid being a question junkie

  1. The “what ifs’ and “what abouts” come knocking while I am sloshing through my WiP making it hard for me to go forward with what I am working on. Very annoying, to say the least. My husband gave me a small calendar with notepad in the fake leather case. I should use it to write down those “what ifs” and “what abouts”.

    Liked by 1 person

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