I’ve noticed a lot of buzz lately about story question. Many
writers’ blogs are covering this great topic. I want to today as well, only
from a different angle. 
First, though, let me define what story question is. Story
question (also known as main dramatic question or dramatic question, etc.) is
the essential hook you include in the very first scene of your story that snags
readers’ attention and keeps them reading. It’s the question your story will
answer before it’s through.
For romance, story question is simplified: Will the H/H
(hero and heroine) overcome the obstacles and get together? Of course, with a
romance, you can include other questions: Will Fred save the ranch? Can Suzie find
love again? But the story question in a romance is whether they’ll end up
together. And to fit the romance genre (rather than the “love story” genre),
the answer to that question is “yes” and the story should end HEA (happily ever
after). (The “love story” genre can end with or include a tragedy where either
the hero or heroine dies–not an HEA ending.) 
For a mystery, the story question is linked to the case: Can
they solve this mystery?
For women’s fiction, the story question is as varied as your
heroine’s problems. You’ll have to choose a problem and ask if it can be
solved. 
Story questions are tied to moral premise and theme, but
they’re personalized to your character because character sympathy is what keeps
readers reading. 
And this brings me to my article’s point for the day: How do
you know when your story is finished, when the tale has been told? 
When you’ve answered the story question. 
That’s why romances often end with implied good times ahead.
“Will you marry me?” “Yes!” Sometimes, you can include the wedding itself. 
Yes, readers want to read on to see the characters thrive
now that the bombs have stopped going off, but not for too long. Don’t drag out
your ending. Readers have imaginations. Let them carry the story forward if
they like. 
So, here are some tips:
  •       
    Know your genre.
  •       
    Know your story question and write it out to
    refer to as you go. It’ll keep you on track as you write and essentially advance
    your characters toward the answer.
  •      
    Make the story question obvious in the first
    scene so readers know the “goal” of the story.
  •      
    Know how your story ends.
  •    Once you’ve answered the story question, end the
    story. The story’s over. 
So, do you know your story question? Have you answered it? Don’t
let word count overly influence story length because then there’s the
temptation to stuff the story with fluff. Story question should influence
story. If it does, you’re more likely to have a strong, logical story from
start to finish.
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