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Develop your inner story god by asking questions

Someone once told me that in our questions lie the answers. As writers, we know the importance of asking questions. We ask ourselves questions about our story, characters, plot, and even point of view.

Yesterday, I was trying to figure out how to integrate 1st and 3rd person points of view in my current manuscript without it feeling forced or artificial. As I sat in the sauna reading Chris Baty’s NaNoWriMo book “No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days,” I asked myself, “What would it take for this combination of different points of view to work and flow organically from my story?”

I played around with a couple scenarios and then an idea came to me. Instead of giving my protagonist the ability I was going to give her, I thought of another ability that would suit the story better and solve my problem—allowing the 1st and 3rd person points of view to grow naturally from the story. This new ability came from my protagonist’s backstory, was nurtured by her profession and was unusual and unexpected enough to pervert my readers’ expectations. Viola! Story problem solved.

Exercise: Imagine you’re talking to the part of yourself that is the all-knowing Story God. Ask the Story God what he or she would do and see what answers you get. If an answer doesn’t come right away, try asking the question in a different way and keep asking until you find your answer.

And remember: the answer is within the question. (Really, Yoda told me so).

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