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500 questions asked by writers when developing their story.

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
Came across this interesting video about screen writing. It's clips of writers and the questions they ask themselves to when they're developing their story. I don't think they're all useful to everyone, but it's interesting to get a glimpse into how other writers work. Because, I do believe asking the right questions at the right time can be invaluable.

 
I made it through the 7:30 mark.

Something about it is reassuring. Such variety of persons, but such familiar questioning, ideation!

I tried imagining asking those questions, as they were asking them, about my own projects.

I think I might return to the video sometime, watch more of it. But I can't do more than about 7 minutes at a time, I suspect.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
I do appreciate members sharing their finds, but this video isn't really 500. It's maybe fifty questions asked ten different ways. Or ten asked fifty different ways. It became a kind of barrage and I found myself ducking. Which is a strange place in which to find oneself!

Anyway, thanks, but I'll pass. I have more patience with text than with video.
 

WooHooMan

Auror
Before I watch this video, I’m going to make a prediction and guess that half of the questions will be some variation of “what gives you a strong emotional or personal connection to the story that you are looking to write?” since that seems to be the default “advice” that people (particularly screenwriters) like to ask rather than explaining the mechanics of storytelling or how to develop a plot from a theme.

Edit: ok, it wasn’t half the video. Just the first five minutes.

Either way, I still really don’t care for the “obvious rhetorical questions as a substitute for advice, guidance or suggestion” method of helping writers with their stories. As I look for advice and try to give advice, I’ve learned more and more that you can’t tell an up-and-coming writer anything meaningful unless you get some dialogue going on with them.
 
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Actually I do tend to ask one question as I write... and it’s the same as a classic SNL skit with Steve Martin and Bill Murray... What the hell is that?
 

pmmg

Istar
I think the questions I most often ask are:

1) Now that the story is here, how do I get the story to there?

2) Is anything in this connecting scene interesting?

3) Now that Character X has said or done X, what would character B say or do about it?

4) Ugh...this story is not going the way I want, how can I save it?

5) Should I go and rewrite that, or just start something new?

6) Does any of this matter, and will anyone read it anyway?

7) Will I ever finish this?

8) Will this ever sell?

9) Will anyone like it? Understand it? Appreciate it?

10) Would it be helpful if I did an outline?

11) What if I actually write out the history somewhere?

12) Why wont the world recognize my genius?

13) How can I let anyone read this with all those mistakes in it?

14) Crap that other guy used my idea first...Why am I always too slow?

15) Why wont the world go away so I can write this?


That seems like a good list of them.
 

Penpilot

Staff
Article Team
I think the questions I most often ask are:

I would say none of those are within the 500 questions asked. To me those are some of them most often asked by people just starting off. To me, they don't necessarily help develop the story. To me, finding the way through a story is about asking the right questions at the right time. The questions don't have to elaborate or deeply philosophical. They just have to push you into the right frame of mind in terms of looking at things.

IMHO, when people lose their way in their story, it's not because they don't have the answers, it's because they aren't asking the right questions.
 
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