Monday, January 26, 2015

Ask The Easy Questions

Sometimes we're looking for answers, but we don't even know the questions.

As a repair person for commercial/industrial water softeners, my late husband's philosophy was go back to basics. Before getting into complex solutions, see if the problem is related to something simple and easy to fix. Even I learned to ask a customer, "Did you check the strainer?"

When I'm having difficulties with my writing, I ask the easy questions first:

1)  Do I have a strong opening hook?

2)  Am I giving backstory when I should be jumping into the action?

3)  Am I raising story questions to keep the reader turning pages?

4)  Are the setting details vivid enough?

5)  Is there a take-away for the reader?

Those questions alone could fix what ails your manuscript. If you're satisfied with the answers to these questions, then you can pursue the more involved issues like story structure, deep point of view, and inconsistencies in either your story or characters.

Writers:  Do you have your own set of story diagnostics? Please share.

Readers:  Do you try to analyze why you enjoy or don't enjoy a book? What catches your interest or makes you yawn?

Photo Credit:  beni bb


Loree Huebner said...

You hit the nail on the head with this post, Susan. Great list of questions.

I don't have set story diagnostics, but you just made me think about what I should be asking.

Jessica Nelson said...

I should ask more than what I do. It would be helpful to be more analytical when approaching my writing.
Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Loree - It's so nice to see you! Discovering your problem is any easy fix can save you a lot of time.

Hi Jessica - Congrats on your upcoming release. I'm popping over there in a bit to check it out.

God bless,
Susan :)

Terri Tiffany said...

Perfect reminder to bring back the focus.