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Scott Lax Blog

Finding Answers by Asking Different Questions

I think questions can often be more important than answers. What we ask of ourselves as writers - what motivates us to think, research, create - has great value. Here are some of the questions I ask of myself, and of my students. Our answers vary; I share mine with students, but encourage them to find their own answers, as well:

• How do you inhabit a character and a scene, yet maintain your distance?

• How do you lose yourself in the story, yet stay in control?

• How to you write with confidence, yet stay humble?

• How do you evoke emotion in the reader without slathering it on the page?

• How do you take an old story line yet show something new?

If you're blocked, ask yourself questions rather than searching for answers to the same issues that have been bothering you. New questions lead to new answers, or at least, to new journeys.

To put it another way, If you normally take a walk at dawn, try taking a walk at sunset.

Tonight, instead of turning on the fan, we listened to the night sounds. We were rewarded beyond any expectations. For nearly an hour, an owl spoke to his or her world - loudly, passionately, mysteriously.

Turn off the usual noise in your head and listen for different sounds. Ask yourself different questions. And then go at your writing with a new perspective.  Read More