Continuing on from my post “Thoughts on a Page – Are You A Courageous Writer”, I have been reflecting on my coaching course and think I have another learning that can be applied to my writing. When you coach someone you are trying to get them to realize their own potential. It is not about giving them the answers, it is about getting them to work things out for themselves by asking open questions. For example, a coaching session might go something like this:-
Coachee: “I don’t know how to write this paragraph.”
Coach: “What is it that you’re struggling with?”
Coachee: “Well, I don’t know how someone would act under the influence of alcohol.”
Coach: “So what can you do to understand how someone would act under the influence?”
Coachee: “I could get drunk and see how I act.”
Coach: “You could do that… what other options do you have?”
Coachee: “I could go to the pub and watch other people that are drunk.”
Coach: “And what else could you do?”
Coachee: “I could research how people behave when drunk on the internet.”
Coach: “You have some good ideas, which one do you think is your best option?”
And so on…
I got to thinking, how can I apply this to my writing? The answer hit me straight away. I could ask myself questions. If it’s something that I am struggling with, I could do something like the above, but I can also look at it from my characters point of view.
“What would my character do in this situation?”
“What else could he/she do?”
“If they could do one more thing, what would it be?”
“Are those all his/her options?”
Or how about from a plot point of view?
“What would happen if I took my story in this direction?”
“What else could happen?”
If something even worse happened, what could it be?”
Only by exploring the options, can we choose the best course of action. It may be the best course of action for our character or it may be the best course for our plot. One idea may lead us to another better idea. I’m not sure how well it will work, but I am going to try this in my writing. Why don’t you give it a go too? And please, let me know how you fare.