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I'm currently reading a book that I can't put down. It is a fantasy and to be honest it isn't something I set myself to read as part of my research for my writing. But I'm glad I picked it up. Because, as it turns out, it is a wonderfully written book full of strong and fascinating characters. I was pondering it this morning as I considered what to write about in my blog. This in turn made me think about what I would say about this book and its story if I did write about it. In the end, I decided I wouldn't write about the book itself at all. Instead, I'd write about an exercise I've decided to do for myself out of curiosity to see where it leads and what may happen as a result.
I'll explain. The book I'm reading is the third in a series. In both of the books I've read so far, the underlying theme of each story and each character is the idea of choices. This might seem like a simple theme to consider for a story. But the writer in this case has made it wonderfully complex and has even stirred up quite a bit of controversy over the choices some of her characters have made. But to have choices don't we first have to have questions? How else would we know we have a choice to make in the first place if we didn't wonder why or what or when or how?
As I considered this I began to consider what would happen if I kept a journal of questions. People journal about lots of different things. Why not keep a journal of questions? When we are little we ask all sorts of questions, most of which start with, "Why?" At some point we stop doing this. Possibly because we're eventually told by the exhausted people we keep questioning to stop. Gaining a better understanding of the world around us could also cause our curiosity about everything to narrow down to only specific things that really interest us. Or a combination of both is likely too. You see how many questions can come up just by thinking about questions.
Keeping a journal of a few random questions everyday might prove very interesting. Who knows what things might result?
In my day-to-day life I tend to shy away from questions that I can't easily answer. I don't think this is unusual. In my writing world not having all the answers to questions about my stories can lead to the story stalling completely and be dangerous to the believability of the world I've created. Its a fine line to follow knowing how many of the questions you have to create for a reader to answer, as a story unfolds. You can't answer too many questions but you also can't go around making them wonder about stuff without giving them a few hints or clues along the way to wet their appetite for more.
I don't know how recording a question about why my refrigerator makes noises when its running sometimes that sound exactly like the birds that bathe themselves in the outside gutter of my house is going to help me. Perhaps writing down random questions will give me ideas of things to include in a novel to build the setting and make the scenes more real for the reader. Maybe my daily questions I record will help me better understand myself. Or it might prove to be a completely worthless endeavor. But it is a choice and I'm going to try and pursue it to see where it takes me.
What about you? Have any seemingly random musings about things, whether it was a show you watched, or a book you've read, led to inspiration of some sort? Have these musings ever helped you choose to do something? If so leave me a comment about it.