Tag Archives: The why technique

INKSPILL: Archive 2013 Programme (selected) Historical Research &


INKSPILL 2013 Historical Research Parts 1 & 2

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How to Write Short Stories





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INKSPILL – Assisting you with Writing Projects: The Why Technique


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SATURDAY 26th October – DAY 2

AWF circleWe are currently focussing on Writing Historical Fiction – this is posted as an alternative for anyone who is not interested in the Historical Fiction Event – this doesn’t stop you from completing both if you choose.


Ink Well Alternative

Assisting you with your own writing projects. inkspill crit.

If you clicked this link it means that you are not interested in our first class on writing and researching Historical Fiction. The alternative is that you spend some time instead with your own writing projects.


If this project happens to be a work of fiction then you may find this Ink Well session useful.

We are looking at our creations, stories and characters. So find something you are currently writing and work through this post.




Jot the answers down in your notebook or as a blog post, don’t forget to post your link here in the comments.


Q. Ask yourself why are you writing this?

Write your answer and re-read it to gain another question from the answer.

Keep going until you reach a natural end.

Then go deeper, repeat this activity, this time the WHY question should refer to characters.

It is a good way to get to know your characters and keep your writing on the right track. It helps build a more solid picture of both what you’re writing and whom you’re writing about in your mind. Lots of this information will never see the light of day in your story. This exercise creates back story. However it is not a waste of time. It will help iron out weaknesses in your first draft.

Some writers’ use this method after they have finished their first draft to make sure they tighten up questions readers may have for characters motives, events in the plot etc.

You can also use the WHY technique to construct several different scenarios for how events pan out, this will allow you choice and you will find you don’t necessarily pick your first, often most obvious, idea.

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