Thursday, May 15, 2008

But Why?


As a mom of 4 girls I've been through various stages with my children. There was the "Me" stage, the "No" stage, the "Mine" stage and so many others. With a couple of my girls we are firmly in the "But Why?" Stage.

While it can be very frustrating to have every decision I make challenged daily by a child, I try to remember that they're not trying to be critical-they're trying to understand.

Last week I encouraged all of you to work on your writing. I told you about a problem I was having with my heroine. Well, despite an insane week full of ballet, theater and teaching [my girls are in ballet and theater] I managed to squeeze in a little time to think about my character. And I solved the problem. It all came down to "But Why?"

Let me backtrack just slightly. When I was at ACFW conference last September Colleen Coble, a Romantic Suspense Author, was teaching on writing....suspense [duh]. What was cool is I realized that my brain worked very much like Colleen's [good news for me, sorry Colleen :-) ]. She went around a room of probably 100 people and asked them to talk about their WIP [Work in Progress]. I told her about a MS I was pitching while I was there.

Colleen: Why does Shannon do this?
Me: Because she is jealous of Nicki
Colleen: But why?
Me: Because Nicki had the opportunity she never had.
Colleen: But why?
Me: because Shannon's parents didn't see a future in real estate.
Colleen: But why?
Me: I don't know.
Colleen: Find out.

This week as I was trying to work on the problem with my character I remembered what Colleen had said about asking WHY. The phrase "But Why?" can deepen not only your characters, but your plot.

But why should the reader care?
But why does the hero/heroine care?
But why is this happening now?
But why is this affecting this person in this way?
But why is this [minor] character involving themself in the hero/heroine's problem?

Are you starting to see how this can help your writing?

And since I am passionate about Marketing you can ask yourself the EXACT same question when you are trying to create a marketing plan for your books. As amazing as it is, people will not simply fall all over themselves to purchase your book-simply because it has appeared on a shelf. [I know! It is hard to believe.] So by asking the "But Why?" question on your books and on your marketing you can take characters, plots...and Marketing much deeper.

I have to go. I have questions to ask.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

1 comment:

luv2read said...

Thanks for the post. Is me remember to ask myself why I do the things I'm doing in my daily life. That you have four girls got my attention because I do also. I am new to blogging and writing. spowell01(at)