“Good questions out rank easy answers.” — Paul Samuelson
I’ve studied the craft of writing for a while now. Sometimes all the questions experts say I need to ask myself gets overwhelming.
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
- Who is my audience?
- Why would someone care about this story or character?
- Will my opening sentence or two hook my reader?
- What’s the event or incident that sends my character on her journey?
- What can my character do at the end that she couldn’t do in the beginning?
- Is my main character likeable?
- What are my characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts for the story or for this scene?
- Are my secondary characters doing their jobs; are some unnecessary?
- Have I grounded my reader in the scene opening?
- Have I shown my character using her 5 senses?
- Is this sentence, paragraph, scene, chapter, or backstory necessary?
- Can I come up with a better phrase than this overused cliché?
- Is this the best word for what I’m saying?
- Is this sentence too complicated, verbose, or confusing?
- Have I ended my chapter with a hook to keep my reader reading?
- Does my character’s dialog sound fresh, seem consistent with his character, and move the story along?
- Have I cut out phrases that distance the reader from my character?
- Have I told the reader something I could have shown?
- Did this word exist during the time period of my story?
- Have I used too many words my readers will need to look up?
- Should I reconsider what my critique partner or editor suggested?
- Will this 15- or 25-word synopsis hook a potential editor or reader?
- Which plot points, sentences, or words should I cut out of my synopsis to meet the page requirement?
- Does my synopsis read enough like a story?
- 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.