Seven Questions Every Writer Should Be Ready To Answer

The joy of finishing your story, the bliss of an acceptance, the struggle to write your bio. Yay! You’re done.

Wait! You’re not done. There’s more….

Just when you think you have a story nicely wrapped up, and have moved on to other things, you get an email asking you to answer a few questions.

These questions are worth taking seriously. Not only do your answers give readers a little more insight into your process and story, they can also give you more insight into your process and story.

That means: think about your answers from the moment you begin a new story.

The basic list:

1. What inspired this story?

After Hiroshima was bombed I saw a photograph of the side of a house with the shadows of the people who had lived there burned into the wall from the intensity of the bomb. The people were gone, but their shadows remained. That affected me so much, I wrote the story. Ray Bradbury about the inspiration for “There Will Come Soft Rains”, The Paris Review

2. How would you describe your story?

(Personally, as a reader, I’d only look at the answer to this question after reading the story so it doesn’t interfere with my reading.)

Great for practicing one-sentence loglines!

3. What is your story about?

Write down themes as you project them into the story AND as they emerge.

4. What is your favourite short story?

Just one? Impossible! (Ditto for #5 and 6) But is there a short story that you find you particularly connect with while writing this story?

5. Which writer has most influenced your style?

Are you experimenting? Are you discovering your style as you write? Can you see influences?

6. What book has most influenced you?

If you need a little nudge to help you think about this, try reading the posts on this topic on Goodreads.

7. What is the best book you’ve read recently?

What are your experiences with ‘interview’ questions?

Any suggestions to add to this list? Please share them in the comments box.


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