It’s the Questions not the Answers


Life flummoxes me at times. Okay, most of the time. It leaves me with more questions than answers and yet, it’s one of the things about life I find most fascinating. I’ve always been fascinated by questions, in fact, it’s what drove me into education and a love of learning. Most of my students always think teaching and teachers are about answers, and I’ve met my share who are but not most. The truth is a lifelong learner is one who will never stop asking questions, never stop being curious, never be satisfied with “the answers” as given.

As a writer, this is particularly beneficial. The entire process of building a story is one of asking questions. My character is a cop but is he a street cop or a detective? Or is he with a federal branch? Does my character make his bed by mining his corners or slap the covers up over the pillows and call it good?

Will I tell the story in first person or third? Which character needs to tell the story? Where is it taking place? Will the setting be a production as in science fiction world building? What genre is this story?

The questions don’t end with the first draft. In fact, they multiply. Are my chapters well-developed? Are my scenes effective in propelling the story forward? Is there a strong character arc for my MC? Are any surprises or twists earned? Does the ending satisfy or frustrate the reader?

The polished draft is ready for submission? Who do I submit to? How many at one time? Simultaneous submissions okay?  Do I pursue traditional or self-publish, and at what point do I make that decision? Do I need an agent? If so, where do I find one? Which one will be best for me? For my novel? What about best for my career overall?

Questions. I have them. I’m surrounded by them. Finding the answers is always both the fun and the burden of the art. I cherish every minute of it.

How about you? What questions are your favorite in the process of creating? What questions do you dread finding an answer to?

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