7 Reasons Why ‘What If?’ Is the Most Essential Query A Writer Can Ask

The main purpose of this article is to discuss the advantages of adopting ‘What if?’ as a problem-solving and idea-generating tool for writers and authors. Hopefully, through demonstration, the readers can utilize it for three critical parts of storytelling and provide exercise ideas and other helpful hints.

‘What If?’—A Provocative Question

‘What if...?’ Two words. The following is a single question. The first and most crucial step in every creative endeavor. It’s a useful tool for authors at any stage of the writing process.

Suppose the villain does not die and reappears as a phantom instead. Instead of the suburbs, how about a small-town setting? What if the magic carpet whisks the princess right to her demise?

It is true that asking the question “What If?” might help you organize your thoughts, which are a bit disorganized at times. It is a method to let your imagination go wild while also giving your ‘daydreaming’ some direction.

A Great Writing Technique for Writers

Why not give it an attempt today if you haven’t already? You can utilize ‘What if?’ to generate ideas for stories or address a specific issue over a writing assignment.

Whatever motivates you, you’ll soon learn that the most crucial question you can ask yourself as a writer is ‘What if?’

7 Reasons Why ‘What If?’ Is the Most Essential Query A Writer Can Ask

1. Avoiding Clichés

Our default solutions are not always the best or most innovative. Frequently, the concept is a form of cryptomnesia, a simple parody of something you saw on TV on Friday or read last month in a novel. Writers who are sluggish seek the lowest shelf and pull out a bag of clichés. Experiment with your original concept.

2. Generate New Concepts

It is always preferable to have more concepts than fewer. When you have many ideas, it becomes easier to choose the best ones and eliminate those that will not work for the tale or novel.

3. Compelled to Generate Concepts or Scenarios

Suppose you arrange your brainstorming session or, better yet, impose a time limit on it. In that case, you’ll be shocked at how many ‘What if?’ scenarios you can generate in 10-30 minutes. Do not be distressed if most of the ideas are illogical or unclear. Write everything down.

4. Creativity Stimulation

When you go on a ‘What if?’ brainstorming session, you cannot but awaken the muse. The right brain gets activated, and the imagination is allowed to run wild. You will begin to perceive possibilities in a world that are expanding. Simply follow and record everything that comes to mind.

5. Prevent Writer’s Block

We are all aware of how easily the creative engine can become stalled. Writer’s block may be debilitating; it erodes our self-esteem. The exercise ‘What if?’ can be empowering. It reintroduces control into your life. Demonstrating your own inventiveness boosts your mood and productivity.

6. Developing Positive Writing Habits

The more frequently you practice the skill, the more powerful your creative muscles become. Your ideas will be novel and intriguing. As you practice, you’ll discover how much easier it is to develop good ideas in a short period. You will develop effective writing habits.

7. Writing Down Your Thoughts In A Single Session

Rather than drifting about, jotting scattered notes on scraps of paper or electronic notes on your phone, you consolidate everything into a single brainstorm. What is the advantage of this strategy? You are not distracted, and you are free of procrastination’s guilt.

The Secret To Achieving Success

To make ‘What if?’ ideas work, you must conduct your brainstorming sessions on paper. You are more likely to forget an idea than to dismiss it as too abstract or ambiguous — and therefore miss out on a gem of an idea.

Three Methods

Three prominent approaches to investigate are as follows:

1. Crazy Eights:

This can be done with a companion or yourself. Fold a blank sheet of paper in half three times. When the paper is unfolded, it will reveal eight squares. Each square should be filled with a ‘What if?’ scenario. Limit the duration of the exercise.

2. Sticky Concepts:

Test your ability to fit as many ‘What if?’ thoughts onto 44-inch Post-its or sticky notes in a specified period. You may use pink notes to indicate story ideas, orange notes to indicate subplots, blue notes to indicate characters, etc.

3. Pencil and Paper:

The most uncomplicated method is to use a pen and paper or a good old-fashioned notebook. Make a cup of coffee or herbal tea, find a peaceful area, and jot down your thoughts.

Utilize The Techniques To Complete Three Critical Story Elements

1. Scenario

Often, the plot of your narrative or novel will stump you. You may apply this strategy to broader plot arcs as well. Indeed, ‘What if?’ is an excellent method to conceive the overarching storyline or theme. For instance, ‘What if crime does indeed pay?’ ‘What if the apartment next door is purchased by a psychotic ex-lover?’ However, you may use it to generate ideas for certain scenes or chapters – or, indeed, for any pivotal moment in the plot.

2. Symbols

Identifying a character’s motivations might be difficult. You can undoubtedly utilize the strategy to delve beneath your antagonist’s skin or better understand your main character.

3. Setting

Your story’s setting can benefit from some creative brainstorming as well. A unique setting can help an editor or reader remember your work.

Occasionally, a setting will elicit a ‘What if?’ moment related to the plot and character. Consider the following scenario: ‘What if a rash surfer disregards the shark spotter’s warning and dives into the waves?’ What is going to happen next?


Let us conclude with some pointers on how to use ‘What if?’

  • Ideas are limitless, and unfortunately, so is the possibility for dithering and procrastination. As with ideation, impose a time constraint on decision-making. The difficulty is to avoid becoming trapped in an ideation cycle, as enjoyable as it may be.

  • Try the approach now, rather than waiting until you are frustrated, overwhelmed, or depressed. Suffering is reserved for the martyrs. Make problem-solving enjoyable. Put your manuscript aside, walk away from your computer screen, and pick up a pen and paper when you’re stuck.

  • Consider a child’s perspective: an idea cannot be too bizarre or strange at this point. Take it a step further. Consider yourself like a psychopath, a princess, an animal, or your relative. Let your imagination run wild!

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