Maybe the first question many authors ask is to themselves – “Could I really write a book?” Then we proceed to quizzing ourselves on plot, character, and the ever-important “what if this were to happen-?” and these are all good things to ask. But it’s also important to ask questions of other people.
My writing group and/or NaNo team has just picked up a few new members in the runup to November’s madness, and in among all the introductions, there are a few questions being thrown about. “Do I need this software?” and “What on earth is a writing sprint?” and “When’s the first write-in?” – good questions, all. And, of course, there are simple requests for any advice, which I’ve both answered in the group and posted myself in the Horror genre forums on the NaNo site, since it’s my first time in the genre. I’m really enjoying being able to answer the same questions I was asking myself at the start of my NaNo journey and even just upon joining the group this time last year, and I’m also looking forward to learning from those more experienced writers and their tips.
It’s also important, when you’re writing about something you don’t have personal experience with, to ask questions. It may be more appropriate to ask a search engine or make a general post on a forum than to pick someone out and interrogate them about their knowledge or experiences, but it’s really important to find out as much as you can about what you’re writing so as not to make big mistakes – whether that’s in the context of a character of a different gender, orientation, religion or culture from your own, or in terms of getting accurate details of Stevenson’s Rocket for your historical fiction. Ask the right questions, in the right places, and coupled with your own research you’ll be in a good position to write well.
So I suppose what I’m saying is: don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t even hesitate, as long as you’re not likely to offend someone. If you think you might offend someone, hesitate for long enough to phrase it carefully, and then ask the question.
Questions are good. Questions open up new thoughts and get us answers. If you’ve got any for me, by all means leave them in the comments – if not, then I’ll talk to you tomorrow!