One word we hate hearing for the fear of unleashing the unknown – The word Question. Having questions is a fool proof technique to ensure progression of plot. Here is a summary of what I picked up from the MIT eDX course ware.
- Every book needs a big question. This is often the reason to entice a reader to pick up the book and keep it going. If it’s a mystery, it’s either who committed the murder or who is the thief. If it’s romance, will the protagonist find true love. If it is a fantasy, will the protagonist set to achieve what he wanted to. The big question is the driving force of any book. To leave the question unanswered is a choice, but to not have a question at all in place is a near blunder.
- The smaller questions for the sub plots. This is to complement and increase the momentum of the story. These questions, however, shouldn’t deviate from the bigger question. One example I could associate with was from the book, “The A.B.C. Murders” by Agatha Christie. There was a killer on loose, no doubt, but why was he murdering people alphabetically. The killer leaves letters to Hercule Poirot (the detective). For someone who is meticulous, the killer misspells his Poirot’s name in one letter. Why does he do so?
- Unanswered questions – The cliffhanger! I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one. “Why did Kattapa kill Baahubali?” – The best ever example of ensuring that people return to the story to find the answer. As a matter of fact, this particular type of plot of the most difficult one to execute perfectly. You have to drop hints to ensure that the reader doesn’t stop reading, yet you shouldn’t give away the answer. Doesn’t that need a lot planning? It is easier to change track and forget the big question in first place – As a rookie, that’s what I dread the most!
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PS. Don’t ask me questions. As Kamal from Panchathanthiram says, asking question is very easy, try answering them!