Monday, August 24, 2009

Four Questions

This morning's post centers around four questions that I found here and here on the Adventures in Writing blog. So, you know the rules by now . . . click on the links and read the blog posts. Yeah, I'm borrowing the questions for this post, but that doesn't mean you should shortcut yourselves or the team at Adventures in Writing by not reading the original posts and comments. I'm just saying . . .

The questions, in order of appearance . . .

1) Are my characters DOING something?
2) Is there a CONFLICT?
3) If I'm 90 years old and sitting on the porch with my partner (insert designation of choice here), will I say: "I am so glad I wrote THAT novel."?
4) Why does your character want to tell this story?

So, for fun, let me ask and answer these questions for my novel currently in revision stage.

  1. Are my characters DOING something? Yes. Definitely. They're living their lives, interacting with each other, and desperately trying to make the right choices that will bring them happiness and resolve . . .
  2. Is there a CONFLICT? Well, yes, there is, which is how I'd finish the sentence I left dangling with those pretty little ellipses . . . and resolve the conflicts in their lives. Each character has a conflict they are dealing with and trying to resolve. The choices aren't simple, and the repercussions, for some of the characters, are far reaching.
  3. If I'm 90 years old and sitting on the porch with my partner, will I say: "I am so glad I wrote THAT novel."? Yes. I love, love, love this project. It was written from my heart. It was written solely for me with little thought giving to any outside influences - OMG, what if my mother reads this? Is there an audience? There is, btw. Will the contents of this novel cause the downfall of society? Will this story make an impact on people? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, yes, I am glad I wrote THAT novel.
  4. Why does your character want to tell this story? Because it is a story that needs to be told. Life isn't, no matter what the eternal optimists in the world might say, a proverbial bed of roses. Roses have thorns, people, and every now and then, no matter how careful we are, we get pricked by one of those thorns. Let me tell you, it hurts, it stings, and sometimes it bleeds . . . and yet we survive. So, the travails of an unraveling relationship, the indecision of a man as he exists in a bad relationship and is unable to find the courage to seek something better, the aftermath of a violent attack, and the realization that even the most meaningless relationships, ironically, have meaning after all, are why my characters want to tell this story.

Now, go check out the other blogs, and then start asking yourselves these same questions!

S

6 comments:

Tess said...

Love the Adventures in Writing blog...they do a good job over there. And, good questions here. Hope you had a great and relaxing weekend :)

ElanaJ said...

Excellent questions. And good answers, Scott! I love the part about the thorns; that's so true.

T. Anne said...

Great questions and I'm not answering very favorably for some of my older WIp's hmm....

Scott said...

Tess - I love that blog too. It's one of my faves . . . as is yours, and Elana's, and . . . oh, my the list is quite big. The weekend was relaxing and productive. Hope yours was the same.

Elana - thanks. It really made me think when I was answering the questions. I'm almost tempted to take the 'thorns' paragraph and use that as my query letter . . . with at least one agent to see what response I might get. : )

T. Anne - I haven't applied the question to my other projects . . .yet. I have a feeling I'll get the same results you're getting on some of those projects. : )

S

Robyn Campbell said...

Scott, I will have to remember to ask myself these questions as I go through my new WIP. I did ask these about the one I just finished. And it's all GOOD! I am proud of it. And when I'm 90? Yikes! I'll be very glad I wrote it, no matter what.

I just hope a lot of others are glad too. :) Nice post, my friend.

Rebecca Knight said...

GREAT questions, Scott! I especially love the "when I'm 90.." question. I think if you're not proud of what you're doing, then you're probably doing it for the wrong reasons.

Great post :D.