WRITING: Asking the Right Questions

I should have known this, but was reminded of how to write story that extends beyond self.  In Big Tim Dawson, I have been asking the wrong question:  Why?

This leads to a lot of needless backstory and rhetoric that plumps out a piece, but is all just added calories.

What I need to do is ask:  What?

A much harder question to answer.

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2 Responses to WRITING: Asking the Right Questions

  1. Backstory is good for the writer, but not for the reader. I find it necessary for me to know a lot more about the characters’ histories than I allow the reader to know. This helps me build more believable characters and be able to get inside their heads. The trick is knowing how much to reveal to the reader, and how much (usually much more) to leave out of the story. It’s important to remember the reader is intelligent and often only needs a hint, tough I may have volumes of notes.

  2. susan says:

    Yes, you’re right. I’m eliminating backstory with each draft, but I’m glad that it was written into the first one because it established a relationship between myself and the character. Revisions reveal how much of that backstory is necessary to the story, and how much is unnecessary because it shows in the actions of the character as he moves through the story itself. I’m learning!

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