Q is for Questions

I am using this month's #morethanwriters post to coincide with today's April AtoZ Challenge. April AtoZ is an annual blogging challenge following the letters of the alphabet. My post today is about 'Questions' and how I use them in my writing. They help me when I feel the plot is stalling, I also use them if I'm struggling with writer's block. The question I use most is, what if?

Sometimes it is as simple as, what if there is a knock at the door? or, what if the phone rings? It interrupts the action and potentially brings a new character into the story. I used it in my novel, Gorse Lodge. It didn't bring a new character in that instance, but it connected two previous characters which gave me a great new subplot to pursue.

The questions often take me off on a tangent and I need to be careful not to go awandering, and literally lose the plot. It's worth it though. Asking the questions widens my view of the scene. Especially the question, 'what else can I see?' I imagine a particular scene in my head, then I do a 360 degree turn of the scene. Is there another door in the room, or a table with something significant on it? Is there another person in the in the vicinity? Is there a vaguely familiar face in the crowd, or suspicious behaviour from someone. If outdoors, what is the view? If in doors, what is the room like?

If I get stuck, questions can help me get my story out the mud and back on the road. It's always helpful and definitely worth doing. 

Do you ever use questions? If not, how do you get unstuck, when you're stuck? 

Annmarie Miles is from Dublin, Ireland.
She lives with her husband Richard who is a pastor in the Eastern Valley of Gwent, in South Wales. She writes short stories, magazine articles, devotional pieces for Christian radio, and blogs about her faith at www.auntyamo.com Her first collection of short stories published in 2013, is called 'The Long & The Short of it'. Her second collection, 'A Sense of the Sea and other stories,' was published in 2018 and in December 2019 she published her first novel, Gorse Lodge. She is currently editing a non-fiction book about being an overweight Christian called, 'Have mercy on me O Lord, a slimmer.'


  1. Thank you, Annmarie - this is helpful!

  2. I am a little bit stuck at the moment. Thank you - I'll give this a try

  3. I do exactly the same. 'What if?' is such a great question. Another one I'm asking more and more is, 'What happens in this scene to move the story further on?' It really works and stops me writing scenes which are fine in some ways but in which the status quo is maintained.

  4. Asking questions and taking in surroundings to discover something new to include in a scene is a great way to infuse new life into a story that is beginning to lose steam. I tend to move away from the computer and do something disconnected to writing when a story stalls. This gives my mind time to work out any unresolved issues that caused the stall. Thanks for the idea of asking questions.

  5. Fabulous post. I often ask myself, what can I smell? What can I hear? I often forget about these very important senses in my writing!


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