ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

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Tuesday, 15 September 2015

How to boost our creativity by asking questions.

Hello there!

Just came across an article in Writers Digest by Tom Sturges where he tells how asking questions to which we don't know the answers is a great creativity boost. He calls them Excellent Questions--questions you have no idea about. The opposite of Trivial Pursuit. 
Image result for image showing questions
Excellent Questions are a way to pursue new knowledge in an interesting way. It can be played in groups or individually. I couldn't help relating it to the questions we as writers ask ourselves...sort of like the 'what if?' questions that can get a story idea humming along. 

Questions are a vital element of creativity. Instead of being annoyed at the child who keeps asking questions, we need to applaud this child's creativity. It's the way to develop this crucial area. 

Where would writers be without creativity? 

So, what Excellent Questions can you come up with? What would you like to know?

Image result for image showing questionsHmm. I'm a dunce when it comes to most things scientific. I could ponder questions about the planets...which is the biggest? How do they differ? Which is closest to the sun? To earth? 

Now people. Much more difficult. Hmm. How many different ways are there to be unique? Why do we like certain foods and hate others? Why do some people want to live alone, shun society, while others live for a sense of community? Why do some of us like to travel and others feel satisfied travelling through their television set? Why are some people born beautiful and others consider themselves as drawing the short straw in the looks department.

Aha. Now I've reached my point. I've been pondering some questions about people as I've been brainstorming ideas for a creepy story for the WEP Halloween Challenge. Which brought me to thoughts of Beauty and the Beast. And the rest, as they say, is history. All will be revealed when I post on October 21. Nice and creepy. I posed the odd Excellent Question. But I won't be giving any answers!

Image result for image showing questionsSo if the idea of Excellent Questions appeals to you, let's get that creativity happening. If it leads to Halloween-inspired creepiness, feel assured you are welcome to share it on WEP next month!


Hmm. Why are some kids afraid of the dark and others are not? Why do some kids see monsters under the bed while others see cuddly toys? Why aren't we all afraid of the same things? 

All Excellent Questions.

Thanks for reading. 
  • Do you have some Excellent Questions? 
  • Would you think about posting something creepy for WEP's October challenge--flash fiction, poetry, non fiction, photograph/s, artwork? Love it if you would...
  • Sign up on October 1st so we can have a gigantic creep-fest. You might even win a prize!


WEP's HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE!


41 comments:

  1. It led to your idea for WEP, which is cool. The what if types of questions tend to take my stories in directions I never would've considered.
    Why do we call them French fries when they don't come from France...?

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    1. Heh, heh. That applies to several things which aren't French. Interesting. Pommes frites sounds so much better.

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  2. Good creativity boosters is right. I can see how that can help with our characters too.

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    1. Yes, it helps tease out a lot of information that may/may not be useful to our stories.

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  3. Hi Denise - I don't think my mind works any other way ... constant questioning - maybe because I was able to ask as a kid - except much went in .. maybe I asked too much! I've been trying to find out about how routes came about from those early neolithic peoples to our main roads of today ... going via tracks, coach roads, turnpikes, then early tarmacing ... I spend my life looking things up - it is so much easier now with the internet ... but one needs to be careful about accuracy.

    French fries ... interesting ... and why is a hamburger a 'ham'burger - when it's beef (theoretically!) ... I have lots of useless information around this cerebral grey matter ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Yes, Hilary, you'd be the poster child for questioning. So much to learn. 'Ham' burger, snark, snark! I'll sound awfully clever old chap but I saw a program about it, and it apparently originates in Hamburg, Germany, where it was a bun made with shredded (gulp, often raw) beef. So nothing to do with 'ham' at all at all...:-)

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  4. I sure question all at my hall, brain just doesn't like being turned off. As for the food one, allergies make it easy to pick what you can and can't eat lol

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    1. I don't have any allergies, so, hmm. Pity I wasn't allergic to chocolate!

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  5. The most creative people I know are full of questions. I love them because they make me think about things in a different way. So glad you read that article. It made for an interesting post!

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    1. It's great to be surrounded by thinkers, Lee.

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    2. Keeps us young! That's why I love the bloggers I'm in contact with. They are always asking questions.

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  6. That is a killer idea of how to discover new stories through excellent questions. Killer!! Get it? XD

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  7. I'm always asking questions, the problem is I also answer myself (it's how I write my FF) or I google it. :) I think asking is a wonderful thing! Hubby plays the game with me and recently gave me some guidance regarding a story where the questions are never ending - an alternate universe.So cool to find the answers, but while based in reality they become twisted as only an author can. Such fun!

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    1. And may you win the IWSG competition with it Yolanda!

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  8. I love to ask questions, especially if it relates to a WIP. I also love it when my nephews ask me questions because answering them...trying to explain things to kids...really gets your brain and creativity going.

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    1. We can learn a lot by listening to kids.

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  9. Imagine not asking questions? We would never find any info!

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  10. Your post reminded me of Kipling's 'six honest serving men' :) my inner world and its workings would be totally paralysed without them...

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    1. Must look up Kipling's reference Nila! See, you make me ask a question. :-)

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    2. I KEEP six honest serving-men
      (They taught me all I knew);
      Their names are What and Why and When
      And How and Where and Who.

      Thanks Nila!

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  11. Great post. Without asking questions we would not have any information and our creativity would be stifled.

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    1. Too true. So much to learn, so little time.

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  12. I find myself asking a lot of questions :) Many times that leads to trouble: too many books to read, a lot of time searching out answers, but I love it! And it definitely makes for good stories :)

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    1. Researching is the fun part of writing...well, one of the fun parts.

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  13. I usually have lots of questions, too. Those Excellent Questions are the ones that come to mind on those nights when I wake at 3 a.m. and can't go back to sleep.

    Happy Weekend!

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  14. All excellent questions. I now have some things to muse on. Yesterday, my brain was bogged down by questions about figs, haha (I've never eaten one before!) But in my research, I fleshed out something I think is going to be great. :)

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    1. I adore figs both fresh and dried. Now where is this going?

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  15. This sounds like it would be a fun thing to do in a writing workshop with kids or adults!

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  16. This does sound like a good technique to get people thinking! Even as I sit here thinking about different reasons people might have for being scared of certain things it is character development and background. :)
    ~Jess

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  17. Why are people in Townsville Australia finding huge snakes in their toilets? There is an excellent question for your Halloween creativity. Great idea, thanks for sharing.

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  18. Ah, good ideas. I'm often told I ask too many questions, so how do you know if you are inquisitive or a snoop?

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  19. I'm told that I was such an inquisitive kid that I was annoying. Glad your questions sparked an idea for your story. I can't wait to read it. I've been pondering two very unrelated topics lately: 1. I've been asking questions and reading about human cloning and 2. I've been wondering what makes certain people tick. This will hopefully lead to a good character arc in my next book. Actually it was the last IWSG post that stirred this question up in my head. We can all agree that we are all insecure about things, but what makes some peoples insecurity rise to the level of cruelty to others. Why are some insecure people determined to destroy people they envy or admire? Like I wrote in my post, when we use insecurity to challenge us to do better then it is a strength, but when we allow it to consume us or when someone becomes obsessed and hell bent on harming others to feed their own insecurity then it's a fatal flaw. I suppose my teenage daughter's high school drama issues and her recent ordeal as the victim of a bully led me to that question, but I've seen it in adults also and it's very disturbing - just how far an adult insecure bully will go. It's going to make one hell of a character arc for my next novel.
    Best of luck with the Halloween writing contest.

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  20. Oh, I forgot to answer your question about the shower and the towel. Even though we are clean after a shower, when we use a towel to dry our body, dead skin sloughs off and mixes with water to cause bacteria

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    1. Glad you cleared that one up Melissa! Good argument for changing towels every time we shower!

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  21. Why aren't we all afraid of the same things is an excellent question. I wonder that myself.

    I've always enjoyed the "what if" questions, and seeing where the brainstorming leads. Kids ask fascinating questions; I always answer, until I'm totally stumped. Sciency stuff is fascinating, and i'm always curious.

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  22. Humans are curious creatures and tend to question things, which is good. We wouldn't have any of the technology/science/etc. without questioning things. They're definitely good for figuring out stories too. :)

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    1. Yes, thank God for questioning minds. :-)

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  23. Great post!
    I always feel inadequate when it comes to writing spooky stuff, but I have something in mind for the Halloween WEP.

    My WHY offering:
    1. Why do we say that electricity comes from electrons – does morality come from morons? Lol
    2. Why does a round pizza come in a square box?
    3. Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are fading?
    4. Why does an individual have to be important (and how important?) before he/she is considered assassinated instead of just murdered?
    5. Why do we say that a person "slept like a baby, yet a small baby wakes up every 1 to 2 hours?
    And on that note, I'll have to sign off…

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  24. Hey Michelle. Great that you will be up for WEP in October. I love a good scare.
    Great questions. I've wondered about #4 myself. Why is one life more important than another? :-)

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  25. Nearly all my stories have come from curiosity and questions. Excellent post, as usual, Denise. Sharing!

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