What If [You Created A Story Using 7 Questions]?


Work has been slow. Both our secretaries are gone so I got to take care of the phone today. Instead of sitting in my regular cubicle, I got one secretary’s office and anyway (this is random, I know) but I found a really nice pen in her desk.

So besides my regular duties and whopping number of three calls, I did a lot of doodling. I also came up with some pretty cool love notes – if I may say so myself.


What if?

My favorite plotting method is asking “what if?”. If I have a story idea, I like to throw the craziest possibilities at it to see what I can come up with. More often than not, it changes and adds the idea in very good ways. Even if I don’t end up using the change, it spurs creativity.

What are some “what if’s” you have used to change your story? Here are some I have used currently and in the past. They are not too exciting because of spoilers. 🙂

  • What if neither died after all?
  • What if she is actually in love with him?
  • What if she killed his brother?
  • What if she’s part human?

I had a little “what if” spree as I was unpacking my doodle-y love notes from my purse after work. Here’s a story I came up with using seven questions –

  • What if someone found these?
  • What if I died on the way home and someone found these?
  • What if my sister read the love notes addressed to a man she has never heard of?
  • What if she tried to contact him?
  • What if they tried to figure out if the notes were related to my death?
  • What if they became friends?
  • What if they fell in love? (That one’s easy – I’d be jealous. But I’m dead, so it doesn’t matter anyway, I guess.)
    The End.

These are the kind of things that inspire me to write.

Take something random from your day and ask a bunch of  “what if’s.” I’d love to read what you come up with in the comments!



5 responses »

  1. Food for thought, indeed. 🙂
    Typical ‘What if…?’ questions (also in real life):
    What if I took the other route?
    What if I had a fifth mug of coffee?
    Other inspiring questions (for writing projects):
    What if he didn’t get to the phone in time?
    What if the thunder struck right beside her car?
    What if he could finally see after the blow?

  2. I hate to grammar Nazi, but you have “spurns creativity” right before the bullet lists when you mean “spurs creativity”. Current meaning is the opposite of what you mean. 😉

    On topic, my entire process for building out an idea starts with several what if’s that build off each other. What if this, then that, then this other thing? Lots of branching through the possibilities.

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