Three Key Story Questions

Having trouble getting a handle on your story? Stuck in the middle and not sure how to get going  again?  Here are three key questions from screenwriter Michael Hauge to help you think more deeply about your story and your characters.

Who is your protagonist and why will readers immediately empathize with him/her?

What is your protagonist’s greatest fear? What wound led to that fear? This question, more than any other, has helped me fill holes in my plot. Try it and see if it helps you.

What is her essence, or truth? Who does she have the potential to become if she’s courageous enough?  I was reminded of this question again this week and realized I need to spend more time thinking about this one for my current novel in progress.

The more deeply you know your characters, the more story possibilities you’ll generate. Whether you use the character interview technique or some other, these three story questions can open up delightful and surprising avenues for your novel. Good luck!

2 thoughts on “Three Key Story Questions

  1. Elizabeth Camden

    I wrote an article a few years ago for a college newletter on this exact topic! After some prowling, I was able to identify words generally considered the “most beautiful” as well as the ugliest of the English language. Here they are:

    Most beautiful: Chalice, Tranquil, Halcyon, Camellia, Murmuring, Luminous, Cerulean, Meandering, Gossamer, Wisteria

    Most Ugly: Kumquat, Pudding, Fructify, Phlegmatic, Plutocrat, Gargoyle, Jukebox, Victuals, Carbuncle, Crepuscular


    1. dorothy Post author


      I love this list! Especially “gossamer” and “cerulean” and I concur on the most ugly list. Phlegmatic. Ugh. Not sure I agree with Jukebox, though. Maybe it’s just the fond memories I have of them that makes the word appealing.

      Thanks for checking into Writers Caffeine and for sharing.

      Warmest wishes,

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