What about the dog? or the Writer’s Friend: Why? and What if?

Needless to say, I’ve been stalled lately, not writing, not even writing blog posts. I’ve been thinking a lot about writing, but never able to get a firm grasp on the story, until this morning.

The tools to pull myself out of this slump have been there all along. I’ve known about them since I first started writing, but in the midst of other things going on in my life, I somehow forgot about them.

I just needed to start asking myself the questions. Why? What if?

Usually the what ifs come first. What if there was a girl named Beryl who … ? Then the whys come, a natural progression in the process of asking what if.

In this case, since I know the basics of the story, since I know its quirks and turns, I started asking myself the whys today, bigger whys. I won’t give you a list of them because it would give the story away. But as I answered the whys, more what ifs emerged.

I will give you one example:

The dog must move the story forward or there is no point in writing some lovely prose about Beryl finding a dog. So why is there a dog in this story? What role does the dog play? How does it move the story forward?

The crazy thing is I haven’t answered that question yet, but I’m doing the what ifs, in my head, even as I write this. I know that the dog is important, important to Beryl, hence important to the story. And to me.

Now I have to figure out why.