Thursday, July 23, 2009

Running Questions

I just wanted to offer this quick question to all the writers out there.

Do you have a running question in your mind as you go through your story. What I mean is, as you read, or re-read your story, are you asking yourself if something needs to be answered?

Only recently have I started reading like that. This topic is probably common sense for writers, but I'd never thought about it this way.

I guess some running question examples would be: Who did it? Where are we going? What exactly is going on?

I've been reading my 'finished' novels from years ago, and I realize I don't have a running question. My characters simply run around, doing somewhat interesting stuff without there being any real direction, or mystery, or carrot dangling from a stick.

Maybe, if your style is hyperkinetically literary, you can get away without having a running question, but I'm starting to see that it really helps me gain some perspective.


  1. This is exactly what Donald Maass said about one of my characters. She shows up and has no goal, or purpose, there is no tension, or question.

    I'm working on that.

  2. Dang it. I thought you had questions about running (you know, jogging, sprinting, etc)

    I think I have a persistent question about the sanity of my MC. Which leads to the question of my own sanity.

  3. I know exactly what you're talking about! The first two ms I wrote have interesting characters but they don't DO andything, they have no purpose. My current WIP isn't like that at all. But now, the funny thing is, when I'm reading OTHER'S books, I find myself going 'I wonder how he's going to tie that in?' 'Is this character going to make another appearance, or are they just showing up for amusement value?' 'I wonder if there will be a second book, loss of loose ends to tie up...'


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