Thursday, April 5, 2012

Asking Questions to get (Character, Plot, Setting) Answers

I am a firm believer in asking questions. Not just in my spiritual life but in my book writing life, which often happens for me spiritually anyway. And the questions I usually ask in the book writing world have to do with character, plot and setting.

Photo by: Bilal Kamoon, courtesy of Flickr
The questions may be: What problems will this character face and how will she overcome them? When she doesn't get that job, what will she do? Where is her job located and how is the location just the right place (or the wrong place) for the job to be?

I like to ask questions, because in asking I get answers, and the answers aren't always what I expect.

Take my latest Christian novel, "Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones." When Ms. Virginia Bean loses her job I expect that she'll go in search of a new one, but what ways does she manage to look for one? Who will she meet along the way to help her? What will be a surprise in this search for a new job? What obstacles will be in her way? How will she overcome?

Photo by: jemsweb, courtesy of Flickr
I had an idea of how I thought the story might end, but I was open to the characters telling me what they thought. If you're a writer, the thought of characters speaking to you about their life will probably not come as a big shock to you, but if you've just started out in writing, the thought might freak you out a bit.

Don't get freaked, get ready to listen, ask questions and be prepared for your character to tell you where it's at. There is something about not getting hooked into a plot when a better plot comes around. And I'm always ready to ask questions and get feedback.


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