How questions help your writing

Are you writing a novel?questionsface

Chances are then you will constantly be generating questions for yourself.

You aren’t?

Well you should!

Now I’ve talked about The Power of Questions before but I feel I need to talk about it again!

We all know writing a novel is hard.

You have to build a landscape, create characters, give voices, design conflict, structure a plot… there’s a lot to think about.

As well as all that, you have to be consistent, you have to remember subplots, tie up loose ends, keep characters on track.

How the heck are you suppose to remember all that?

Glad you asked. You use questions!

If you are not generating a shit-load of questions throughout your brainstorming, writing and even editing phase, then you aren’t looking deeply enough at your manuscript.

Here is what I do

IMG_7113.JPGWhen I am actively working on a manuscript, one of my early processes is to assign a Question Pad.

I snag a simple, lined, ringed pad that is small enough to fit in my bag and I carry everywhere.

(I have like a bazillion of these types of pads from when I got obsessed with stationery shops in my teens)

I mark it with my WIP title so I know only questions regarding THIS project go into this pad.

Here is my current questions pad for my novel Dark Hart. There is usually a pen threaded through the rings so that I always have it handy… you know how sneaky pens can be, always running off and getting lost…or stolen!! Damn you pen-thieves!!

Why ear-mark a specific pad? Why not use your phone or just write questions down on any random piece of paper?

Truthfully, I have done just that in the past… and I can tell you, it is a freakin’ nightmare scrabbling round trying to find the question you wrote on some random scrap of paper two weeks ago or scrolling endlessly through your phone looking for that one question. Or more likely…watching your phone die as you try to hurriedly make that note before it gives a death rattle…and you without a charger!

Having a Questions Pad keeps all my important questions in one place.

What do you put in the Questions Pad?

Statements!

lol No, obviously I put in questions, and these can be anything – stuff about my characters, stuff about locations, queries about when the sun would set, what is the 0-60 acceleration of x car, would Y character react this way….

I just put down everything. Small questions, big questions… whatever I need to address gets written down.

What do you do with the questions?

Burn them!

Nope again, I answer them. When I have time, I pull out the pad and read through the questions. This is great for killing time while waiting at the doctor’s surgery, queuing at the bank, while bored at work! I am a big believer in using all this “dead time” productively.

I always leave 2 or 3 lines between each question (more if the question is pretty intense) and it allows me to write in the answer beneath.

All my questions are numbered so if I need more space to answer, I flip to the back of the pad, write down the question’s number and put down the answer.

Then when I’m writing I get out the pad, flip through and put my answers into the manuscript.

What good is writing all these questions?

Questions keep you consistent. They give you a deeper knowledge of your writing. They help to clear up any weak spots and allow you to create stronger characters. Questions help you look at your writing with a critical eye.

So do you find questions helpful? Do you ask yourselves questions while you write?Β  Let me know in the comments below!

DONT FORGET: ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING A GUEST POSTER ON THE ETERNAL SCRIBBLER? – Want so exposure? Then check out this post which goes through details of what is needed and has a list of available dates. Just leave a comment if you’re interested but DO check out the post first. πŸ™‚

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I am still coughing up my lungs but mostly feeling better! Thanks for all the kind words you guys sent me, when you found out I was ill!

I hope you enjoyed the blog post, if you did please like, comment, share, stand on the street and brag about how awesome it is! :p

I will be making a slight change to this blog – guest posts will now be going up on Mondays. This is in preparation of me vlogging (yes, I am actually going to attempt vlogging) on Wednesdays.

This way I will have guests on Mondays, Vlog on Wednesdays and my blog posts on Fridays so it’s nicely spread out throughout the week.

Not 100% sure when the vlogs will start – they will mostly be covering blog posts I’ve already done and I won’t be sat before a camera because…well…just nope! So they will take me a bit longer as I have to build up animation but hey you will get to hear my brash English accent (nope I don’t sound like the Queen or James Bond)… instead I’m from ‘up north’ so my accent is a little rougher.

Happy writing

Ari

About Ari Meghlen

I’ve been a writer since I was given unsupervised access to pens and am unable to write anything shorter than a trilogy. I live in the greener part of the UK with my awesome boyfriend, 3 mad cats and 1 overly-confident budgie. I spend my time lost in imaginary worlds, making jewellery, taking nature photos or watching bad movies. Visit me on Facebook or on my Website or just leave me a comment on this blog. I love comments πŸ™‚

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20 thoughts on “How questions help your writing

  1. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually realize what you are talking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also talk over with my site =). We could have a link trade agreement among us!

  2. Brilliant idea! I’ve had note books for ideas and books that I write down issues as I read through my drafts, but never one dedicated to questions. That’s a great way to develop the world and characters. I think I should go stationery shopping (even though I have a shelf full of notebooks). Any excuse!

  3. I reblogged this, Ari! I like the “label the notebook” part of it. I’m always losing notes I make for my stories and that could really help. 😊 ❀️

    Glad to hear you’re slowly getting better. πŸ‘

    • Thanks Pearl, I really appreciate it! Oh yes, after writing in the wrong pad too often I now make sure they are always labelled πŸ™‚

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