• Jason E. Fort

What if? The Question that Helps Me Write...


Have you ever wanted to write a story, but had trouble thinking of the idea. Well I have a simple way to start; think of any hot topic in society today, and then simply ask yourself 'What if-' questions regarding that topic. We can have a lot of fun with this, but I thought I could use this blog to fill it with fun examples, and then maybe you can apply this same idea to something you want to write. Sounds fun, right?

This is one major thing I did when coming up with the plots for my novels. For example, I started my first book, Misguided, by asking one simple question: What if my family were kidnapped by terrorists? What would I do?

Obviously one could go in all sorts of directions with a story about that; I happened to come up with the character of the Jesus Assassin. And once I answered that 'What if' question, I came up with more 'What if' questions, and answers to them. Then I go through and I embellish, and find ways to 'believably exaggerate'. Sounds simple enough, right?

For Mistaken, I simply asked 'What if a Muslim discovered that his imprisoned father had become a Christian?' then went on to ask, 'What if a Muslim denounced Islam?' (See more of that answer in Tracking Game)... or 'What if an assassin began to see the error of his ways?'

For Misled, things became a little large in spectrum; 'What if all this hate against police in America were intentional; part of something bigger?' You can imagine where that will go before even picking up the book, right?

Take anything popular out there in the news right now, and you could come up with a great story.

The Gorilla - 'What if the mom had jumped the barrier to try to save her baby?'

The Alligator - 'What if the Dad had a KABAR (close quarters combat fighting knife)?'

The election - 'What if Hillary forgot one important piece of undeniable evidence, and it came to light?'

Are you beginning to see how easy this is? Seriously...have fun with it. Apply it to anything you want. Apply it to something controversial (I did!). Apply to family life and write a comedy! Apply it to non-fiction but a speculative blog post. Apply into writing a story anyway you want...just know your audience :) and know who's out there reading it.

Hopefully this triggers a writing inspiration for someone out there. Give it a whirl; what could it hurt? Ha - I could probably even write a story to answer that question :)

Good luck, and God Bless

Jason