Hidden Question

July 26, 2019

I had always had trouble writing longer pieces of writing. Throughout school, I would struggle to achieve the word count on essays as I would simply run out of things to say. I have realized recently that many of my sentences within a paragraph are rather disconnected. hey don't follow very smoothly from each other. The reason was obvious, my thoughts would run faster than my words, and by the time I finish one sentence I've already jumped to a completely new idea in my head.

As typical of life, epiphanies often come at unexpected moments. And so while listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, I was suddenly struck by a realization. In between every sentence I could imagine a hidden question. If you simply pause at any point within a story, there will be certain questions left unanswered: where did he go then? what happened next? Why is she limping? What is this character's motive? and I realized that the next sentence usually follows from a question asked based on the previous sentences.

The idea of the hidden question is rather simple, but has made a profound affect on how I write. Essentially it forces me to think from the reader's point of view. If I stopped writing now, what questions would arise? what idea remains unfinished? And it does not have to be limited to the interstices of sentences, one can ask these hidden questions between paragraphs or chapters, whether fiction or non-fiction.