Writing

Making ?what ifs? part of your writing

Some people say that along with ?if only?, the saddest words in the English language are ?what if.? Which of course is true in many instances. Unfortunately no one can change the past. Only learn from it. That?s why it?s usually best not to dwell on them.

Unless you?re writing fiction that is. Those same words are what authors ask themselves all the time. It?s what keeps that story going from beginning to end. Here are some reasons why;

You might have a good idea for a story. But how do you move on from that to actually getting it down and making it work? By asking yourself what happens next. ?What if??A story is more than a single idea, it?s a whole series of them. One leads on from another by you thinking up situations for your characters to deal with.

This is how your story moves forward. Everyone in it has to have something to do otherwise they shouldn?t be there. There has to be problems of some sort to resolve. Or conflict to overcome. By asking yourself how that happens and what the likely consequences are, you?ll be well on the way to setting out a plot that works.

You can also use this as a way of keeping readers guessing. Their subconscious will already be trying to work things out for themselves. By gently diverting their attention onto something else, you can still surprise them with those all important plot twists.

Those words can also be a great help if you?re facing that infamous writer?s block. ?What if,? can go a long way in nudging your imagination back to life. You know yourself if something slips your mind it usually pops back in again when it?s had time to process the right information. If you give it time to work and don?t worry it to death. Setting it a challenge usually gets results. Even if it doesn?t happen immediately.

So you see ?what ifs? can be good thing. If used in the right way. Writing being one of them. You?ll be surprised by some of the answers you come up with. Which means your readers will be as well. And that after all is what makes a good story.

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