Ask Questions to Find Your Story

This post by C.S. Lakin originally appeared as a guest post on the blog of Elizabeth Spann Craig on 2/17/14.

I ask a lot of questions in my line of work as a professional manuscript critiquer and copyeditor. Sure, I also give a lot of suggestions and fix badly constructed sentences. But it’s the questions that get to the heart of the story. Asking authors questions helps them get thinking about what they’re writing and why.

So much important information seems to be missing in so many novels—especially first novels by aspiring authors. Novel writing is tricky; there are countless essential components that all need to mesh cohesively. To me, the key to reaching that goal is to ask a lot of questions.


Questions Create Story

Starting a novel is asking a question. What if . . .? What would someone do if . . .? What if the world was like this and this happened . . .? Then those initial questions lead to more questions, which shape and bring life to characters and story. Questions are the key.

Thousands of hours of critiquing and editing has led me to notice that there are some questions I seem to ask a lot. Which tells me there are some general gaps that many writers have in common in their novel-constructing process. I thought I’d share these questions, because maybe they’ll help you as you work on your novel.


Click here to read the full post on Elizabeth Spann Craig’s blog.