Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Questions

Q is for Questions and Quaker Oats

When I first started taking writing classes one of the first exercises we did was to ask our character a list of questions.
This is still one of my favorite exercises.
It is important to answer the questions as your character would answer them not how you would answer them.
Don't just ask you main character questions. Ask your character's best friend, ask your character's worst enemy.
Name?
Parents, siblings?
Pets? What pet would you really want to have?
What do you want the most?
What stops you from getting what you want?
What is in your pocket?
What is your biggest fear?
Why?

When you are stuck in your writing ask your character more questions.
When you meet a new person you ask questions. Treat new characters who come into your life the same way. Ask them every possible question you can think of. What does their room look like? What is in their desk at school?

Q is also for Quaker Oats. I went to Coe College in Cedar Rapids. Nestled between a Quaker Oats factory and a Purina factory Coe was full of interesting smells. Some days it smelled like dog food. Usually it smelled like oatmeal. But some days it smelled like Cap'n Crunch. It could never be a bad day if it smelled like Cap'n Crunch.
Today is Coe's 100th Flunk Day. A day designated for skipping classes. Definitely a good day. A Cap'n Crunch day.
Coe has a great song to motivate writers.
At old Coe College in Cedar Rapids
We Sling-a Da Ink and push-a da pen along.
Sling-a Da ink (Sling-a da ink)
Push-a da pen (push-a da pen)
Sling-a da ink and push-a da pen along.

My wish for everyone this wonderful Flunk Day, if you are a Kohawk or if you've never heard of Coe before and you still confuse Iowa with Ohio and Idaho. May you celebrate flunk day by slinging the ink and pushing the pen along.


6 comments:

Tim Riley said...

Wow, a place that smells like Cap n' Crunch? It's like a fairy tale. That's a detail that should make it into your writing I'd think.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I'm making up a tune for that chant in my head. How funny, that you went to a school that smelled like Captain Crunch. I went to UND in Grand Forks. EGF has a sugar beet plant. Processed sugar beets smell like rot.

Alicia Gregoire said...

Fact: I've never had Captain Crunch.

Julie said...

I wish I could go to the place that smells like Cap n' Crunch. Yum!

Love the question exercise too, great post.

Jaydee Morgan said...

My kids would love the smell of Captain Crunch!

And I agree, ask all your characters a ton of questions. The answers may surprise you :)

Stratoz said...

Questions! great Q. yes, ask questions and listen.