How to ask the right questions

As a writer, I’m discovering more and more the importance of asking the right questions.

The questions are how we find good ideas for our writing. Questions make us work to think of answers.

I’m always on the lookout for more ways I can improve as a writer. Ways I can find incorporate good ideas in my writing.

On Wednesday, I gave you a link to a question that might spark the old brain cells. Robin Oliver suggested you ask the question “I am often asked…”

Then I read Jane Friedman‘s post. The lights flickered and I heard bells ringing as I realized just how many questions needed to be asked.

The Big Reason Why Agents and Editors Often Stop Reading 

Not just one to get started, but question after question throughout a story is what keeps the reader turning the pages.

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Everyone knows the standards, – What if? – Who, what and when?

But what about…

If you applied those questions over and over in each scene?

Will he succeed? Who pulled the lever? Who ran by? When will she recognize her true love? What is he doing? Who does that belong to? Where did it come from? How did she find that?

See where I’m heading.

Now, you head over and read the Jane Friedmans post and let me know did this help?

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Does your group speak truth?

Reading the post at Jane Friedman’s by guest writer Jennie Nash on 

The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups

The first fix Ms. Nash wrote, that stood out in this article for me was:
  • Give each writer time to talk about the weaknesses they see in their work and the solutions they are contemplating. Let them try to sort those things out in a supportive space. Often, simply having to articulate your problem goes a long way towards solving it. I find that writers frequently know what’s wrong with their own work if you give them the time and space to confront those truths, and this is far better than asking people who are not trained to weigh in on what’s wrong with the work. Click here to read the entire article by Jennie Nash The 4 Hidden Dangers of Writing Groups.
This is how my critique partner and I work. We bounce idea’s, and portions of our writing, off each other to work out issues. Ms. Nash is correct about the importance of complete honesty. My friend listens as I talk through whatever writing problem I’m dealing with in the moment and doesn’t hesitate to tell me when I need to change something.

Just remember everything is easier to swallow with a spoon full of sugar. Kindness pared with a truthful suggestion or critique is helpful and constructive.

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