25 Questions Writing Experts Challenge You to Answer

by | Writing | 15 comments

“Good questions out rank easy answers.” — Paul Samuelson


by geralt

 I’ve studied the craft of writing for a while now. Sometimes all the questions experts say I need to ask myself gets overwhelming.

by geralt

by geralt

But the more I write, the less often I need to ask myself some of the questions. I finally know a grammar rule. Or I’ve gained a scene-enhancing habit. But some questions I’ll always need to ask myself.

For me, the most important question is: Have I consulted God, my Co-Author, today on what I am to write?

25 Common Questions From the Experts

  1. Who is my audience?
  2. Why would someone care about this story or character?
  3. Will my opening sentence or two hook my reader?
  4. What’s the event or incident that sends my character on her journey?
  5. What can my character do at the end that she couldn’t do in the beginning?
  6. Is my main character likeable?woman-241330_1280
  7. What are my characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts for the story or for this scene?
  8. Are my secondary characters doing their jobs; are some unnecessary?
  9. Have I grounded my reader in the scene opening?
  10. Have I shown my character using her 5 senses?
  11. Is this sentence, paragraph, scene, chapter, or backstory necessary?
  12. Can I come up with a better phrase than this overused cliché?
  13. Is this the best word for what I’m saying?
  14. Is this sentence too complicated, verbose, or confusing?
  15. Have I ended my chapter with a hook to keep my reader reading?
  16. Does my character’s dialog sound fresh, seem consistent with his character, and move the story along?
  17. Have I cut out phrases that distance the reader from my character?
  18. Have I told the reader something I could have shown?
  19. Did this word exist during the time period of my story?
  20. Have I used too many words my readers will need to look up?
  21. Should I reconsider what my critique partner or editor suggested?
  22. Will this 15- or 25-word synopsis hook a potential editor or reader?
  23. Which plot points, sentences, or words should I cut out of my synopsis to meet the page requirement?
  24. Does my synopsis read enough like a story?
  25. Which editor should I employ to edit my manuscript?

Ask these questions as you write and up your chances of interesting an editor. Click to tweet.

by johnhain

by johnhain

Which of these questions do you need to ask yourself as you write?

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American Christian Fiction Writers

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  1. anemulligan

    My first question is what is the Lie they believe about themselves? That will color their motivation.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Oooh, Ane, I forgot that one. Susie May Warren might frown that I did. Thanks for adding that.

        • Zoe M. McCarthy

          You’re welcome, MaryAnn, I’m glad you caught Ane’s comment.

    • Dr. MaryAnn Diorio

      Excellent poing, Ane! Thanks for mentioning it. 🙂

    • Marcia A. Lahti

      This is so important. I’m looking forward to taking your class Lies& Motivation Key to Great Character and Plots.

  2. davidkitz

    Your posts are always very helpful. Thank you, Zoe.

  3. Zoe M. McCarthy

    Thanks, David. Writing the posts is helpful to me.

  4. marilyn leach

    I love this list, it covers just about everything. Thanks for giving us a really useful tool. Cheers

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thanks, Marilyn. Be sure to see the question Ane added in her comment.

  5. Mary Hagen

    What great questions. Thanks for the information.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      You’re welcome. I appreciate that, Mary.

  6. Marcia A. Lahti

    This is a useful list to use while critiquing others too.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      I agree, Marcia. Deeper editing and suggestions.

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