What if questions govern a writer’s life in a multitude of ways.
To begin with, it helps a writer create.
A story idea might originate from a simple ‘what if’ question. A spectacular twist in the story comes out of a ‘what if’ idea.
The various dimensions of a character become evident as answers to different what if questions. The pace of the story, the character arc, the climax, the ending… every element becomes different from a similar story when the writer attempts to give life to a ‘what if’ idea.
A writer brings in variety and newness into the scene ideas, the dialogues, and the conflicts by asking many what if questions.
What if the villain turned out to be an extraterrestrial? Such a question is bound to change the genre of the story.
What if the characters begin to speak as if they were given different scripts? It can lead to hilarious situations or create conflicts.
What if one of the characters dies unexpectedly? This technique is widely used. ‘Kill your darlings’ is a tactic often adopted by authors when writing a book series. The Harry porter series sees the death of at least one prominent character in each book.
Yet, ‘What if’ questions also hinder creativity. It is one of the main questions that can bring in fear.
Some of the common what if questions that trouble writers right from the beginning of their writing career are:
What if I am not meant to be a writer?
What if I am not able to complete this novel that I have begun?
What if this book turns out to be the worst book ever?
What if I face multiple rejections from agents and publishers?
What if the book never gets published?
What if the readers hate what I write?
What if the critics tear my book apart?
What if this book doesn’t match the popularity of the previous one?
What if I earn peanuts as a writer?
What if… such fears haunt the writer and the result is often ‘Writer’s Block’.
It is for us to decide whether we will use this simple phrase to create a question that will make us create or block our creativity.
Do you think what if questions are powerful?
During this A-Z April Challenge, I am exploring the A-Z journey of writing a Novel with examples from Literature.
The Letter of the day is W
Linking this post to Blogging from A-Z