Every now and then at 5am (probably posted by my clone) I will be bringing you a newsflash, update on what I’m doing, invited guest piece, or whatever takes my fancy, and today I’d like to mention a great article I spotted online (via a Twitter tweet actually)…
10 Questions Your Readers Shouldn’t Have to Ask by K.M. Weiland.
This article starts… ‘The most important thing an author can present in the beginning of any scene is a question that will hook readers into needing to know the answer. The second most important thing is making certain that question isn’t the wrong question.’ The ten questions are… (see the article for K.M.’s explanations)
- What is the character’s name?
- How old is this person?
- What does this person look like?
- Who is this person?
- Where is this scene taking place?
- What year / season / day is it?
- Who is this character interacting with
- What is the narrator’s relation to the other character(s)?
- What is the character trying to accomplish in this scene?
- Why should I care about any of this?
These are brilliant questions that, as writers, we should be asking ourselves when writing / editing the story. We will of course know more than goes into the piece but as long as we can answer the questions from the final version then we will, hopefully, feel that the reader won’t stumble on any aspect of it and reach the end feeling entertained / educated… or both.
See http://wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.fr/2012/07/10-questions-your-readers-shouldnt-have.html for the full article.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.