Monday, May 30, 2011

We're Always Learning

Ask yourself, have you ever gone one day without asking a question?  If you think about it, we’re always asking questions for the purpose of learning something, or to find out what others might think of our decisions or opinions.  Really, the main purpose of asking questions is to gain insight, and to grow.

That’s the key right there.  If we never asked questions, we wouldn’t grow.  Our knowledge would be stifled.  As children, we go through a stage where the question is always why.  As adults, isn’t it true that we ask the same question often enough.  Of course, the question doesn’t come out in a constant stream, but you get my point.  We grow every day, and some of this comes as a direct result of asking questions, and getting the answers.

How can we apply this to our writing?

Think character development.  As a plot advances, different twists and turns may have our characters out of their “comfort zone”.  Maybe they don’t understand why another character is acting a certain way.  Or if your character is a detective or investigator, they’re asking questions all the time – who, what, where, why, when, and how (maybe not in that order, but you get my point).

You could also play on the contrast in human nature.  While most of us might not hesitate to ask questions when we don’t understand something, I assure you there’s another portion of the population that would rather try and figure something out themselves before admitting “they don’t know”.  Maybe you can have a stubborn, "know-it-all-type" character.

These are just a couple ways we can put the use of questions, and the concept that we’re always growing to good use in our writing.  What about you?  How have you used it?

2 comments:

  1. Good advice, Carolyn!

    As a creative nonfiction writer, I would argue this is useful even when writing about "real" people. The CNF writer is often put in the position of trying to understand, interpret and explain the actions of others through motivation, and thinking about the different ways people approach life outside their comfort zone can help.

    Patrick

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  2. Very happy that you found it informative and useful, Patrick. Thank you for your comment.

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