Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Writing Tip Wednesday: What If?

“If” is the most powerful word in writing.

-If a mother knew she was going to die…

-If a teenaged boy thought everyone he loved was dead…

-If a couple went for a swim in the lake in the middle of the night…

-If there was a dance at the school…

-If a convict fell in love…

-If two people were so angry they swore never to talk to each other again…

You get the idea…once the “if” pops into your mind, you have to come up with the “then.” That's pretty much what we do. Some of our most recent Euterpe what-ifs have included:

  • What if people completely lost their relationship with horses?
  • What if a blacksmith suddenly found herself married to a prince?
  • What if you discovered that you could turn into a dragon?
  • What if your parents went missing and your uncle wanted to kill you and steal your inheritance?
  • What if the ravens in the Tower of London were far more than just simple ravens?
  • What if you felt you had to win your father's approval, no matter what?

The if: it's the storyteller's most powerful tool.

4 comments:

Sara Daniel said...

I love brainstorming "what ifs." It's how I figure out who my characters are and what the story is about. It's also how I figure out how to fix the parts of the book that don't make sense when I'm revising. I am free to think up wild possibilities, but since it's only a "what if" possibility, my internal critic can't shoot it down.

Adam said...

Interesting. I kind of like the concept of your parents disappearing and your uncle wanting to steal your inheritance. Ooh! Ooh! What IF he had a claw where his hand used to be? Huh? How about that? I think I like it. I like it a LOT.

Kathy Teel said...

Ah, love that internal critic! So, IF is even more powerful than I thought, if it can shut that critic down!

Kathy Teel said...

Adam...I KNOW, right? If only SOMEONE would write a book like that!