5 Questions Smart Writers Ask
blogger: Cynthia Ruchti
Writers ask questions. It’s what we do.
Novelists ask, “What if…?”
All writers serious about improving their craft and their work’s appeal to publishers and readers ask five key questions.
Why should anyone care about what I’m writing?
If the book holds meaning for the writer, but none for the reader, it has missed its mark and its potential. Even a memoir needs to matter to the reader.
Who is this book’s primary reader?
Understanding your target audience informs the way you write, what you write, and how the book’s marketing dollars and efforts (yours and your publisher’s) are spent.
What is this book’s overarching theme?
If it’s hard to pinpoint, it will be impossible for sales teams to sell it and impossible for retailers and librarians to know where it best fits in their floor plan or web pages.
In what way will readers walk away changed after this reading experience?
Better informed? Freed? Better organized? Burdens eased? Motivated? Wiser? More compassionate? Refreshed?
Have I used the best possible structure for telling this story?
A 28-week devotional needs to lose two weeks or gain 24. A 10,000-word nonfiction book with more footnotes than content will fail to appeal to readers for its structure alone (most nonfiction books aim for the 50,o00-word range). Is my nursing home techno-drama sure to resonate or provoke a question from readers: “Huh?”
Notice that this blog post isn’t titled THE 5 Questions Smart Writers Ask.
What would you add to this list? In your opinion, what are other questions a writer should ask, other than, “Where did I put my reading glasses?” and “How could we have run out of coffee?”
EXTRA CREDIT: Ask the five questions regarding your current work-in-progress. If you get stumped on any of your answers, commit to working on it until you’re confident on all five points.