I have a book called The Daily Writer by Fred White. I wish I could say that I consult it every morning, but I don’t. I’m going to try to be more diligent about it, though, because the short meditations and writing prompts are wonderful.
October 12 – “So What?”
Every so often writers need to pinch themselves to ensure that they aren’t writing merely to display their egos or to hear the sound of their own voice. In other words, writers need to ask the “bottom line” question: So what?
We ask the “so what?” question of works in progress to remind us that our writing won’t get very far if it doesn’t offer something of value beyond a superficial conflict situation. we writers want to avoid writing in a vacuum or writing without thinking deeply about societal or historical contexts for the stories we want to tell. A good story should, in its own special way, broaden readers’ understanding of human nature, the times in which we are living, or the story’s historical milieu.
The “so what?” question, asked repeatedly throughout composition, can help writers avoid superficial or directionless storylines. However, it isn’t necessary to begin with that question. Conceiving of substantive characters in fascinating social contexts should come first. Interesting people and places have a way of leading to satisfying answers to the “so what?” question.
Writing is life. Take inspiration from Isaac Asimov’s words: “If my doctor told me I had only six months to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.”