Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing a Novel

Novel writing is a profoundly personal journey. It’s one that requires perseverance, passion, and a keen awareness of oneself and one’s work. Part of this journey is rooted in the process of self-questioning. Asking the right questions during the creation process can shape the direction and potency of a narrative, setting the backdrop for a compelling story that resonates with readers.

Understanding the essence of your ideas, developing your characters and plot, creating an engaging world and setting, crafting authentic dialogues, considering the reader’s perspective, and continually revisiting and revising your work – all these factors are critical in writing a novel. Posing crucial questions related to these elements can mold your narrative’s course and create a powerful impact on your readers.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing a Novel:

Understanding the Essence of Your Story

At the heart of every novel lies a unique essence, a concept, or a message that the author wishes to convey. To identify this core element, asking the following questions can be helpful: What are the central themes of my story? What stimulation do I wish to provoke in my readers’ minds? The answers to these queries will help in understanding the message you aim to deliver through your novel.

Draw out the conflict or challenge that drives your narrative. What problems do your characters face, and how do they resolve them? This conflict forms the heart of your novel, propelling the story forward and engaging your readers.

Character Development

Strong, relatable characters can make your narrative resonate with readers. Therefore, it is pivotal to ask questions about your main characters. What are their motivations, desires, fears, background, and flaws? How do they interact with each other? What conflicts arise between them, and how are they resolved?

Understanding the evolution of your characters is equally important. How do they change and grow throughout the story? Watch out for flat or static characters – these are the aspects that can make your story feel stagnant and uninteresting.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing a Novel

Plot Development

A well-crafted plot can make your novel intriguing and compelling. To develop a fascinating plot, try pulling apart the action sequences of your story. What are the main events, and how can they surprise the readers? Evaluate potential plot twists and turns that could shock and excite your audience.

Do not forget to thoroughly plan the climax and resolution of your story. Keep in mind the narrative flow and ensure that your story progresses smoothly from one scene to another, maintaining its dynamism and interest level throughout.

Setting and World Building

The world in which your story unfolds can add a captivating depth to your narrative. Therefore, specify your setting in detail. What is the time period? What are the distinct features of the location? How does this world look, feel, smell, or sound?

Your setting should not just be a backdrop but should build the mood and assist in driving the plot forward. Ensure that the world you create is unique and engaging, pulling readers into your narrative and making them part of the journey.

Dialogue and Voice

The dialogues in a novel supplement character development and guide the plot. Assess the function of dialogue in your narrative. Is it authentic, and does it reflect each character’s individuality? Are there different voices for different characters?

Moreover, decide on the tone and language style that suits your narrative best. Ensure that it aligns with the genre and overall mood of your story. Authentic voices and well-written dialogues can breathe life into your characters and make your narrative more engaging.

Reader Engagement and Expectations

To write an impactful novel, understanding your target audience is fundamental. Who are your readers? What are their likes, dislikes, age group, and reading habits? Having a clear picture of your audience can ensure that your story resonates with them.

Effective storytelling guarantees reader engagement. Are your chapters ending in suspense, keeping your readers hooked? Are the conflicts and challenges faced by the characters compelling enough to maintain interest? Finally, does your conclusion deliver a satisfying end, leaving your readers contemplating long after they’ve turned the last page?

Revision and Editing

The refinement of your story lies in revisiting, reviewing, and revising it. Look for any inconsistencies in the plot, character development or dialogues, focusing primarily on fixing the most prominent issues first.

Rethink and rewrite portions of your story, if necessary, polishing it to its best version. The final proofreading step is of utmost importance to eliminate any grammatical, spelling, or syntax errors, ensuring a flawless narrative.


The Purpose of Writing

As you proceed in your writing process, regularly remind yourself why you embarked on this journey. What made you pick this plot or this character? Why did you want to write this novel? Regularly reassessing your motivation keeps your passion alive.

At this point, it’s also important to take a step back and evaluate if your narrative aligns with your initial concept. Consider the commercial viability of your work; if you plan on publishing it, does it fit in the current market scenario?


Writing a novel requires courage, dedication, and a lot of introspection. The importance of asking oneself regular, critical questions during the writing process is indispensable. It not only helps shape a compelling narrative but also reinforces your connection with your work, unveiling facets of your narrative that even you might not have realized existed.

Every question you ask yourself will draw out a piece of the puzzle, bringing you one step closer to your goal of creating a captivating novel. Keep questioning, keep discovering, and remember, the journey of novel-writing is as significant as the novel itself. You are embarking on an exciting adventure, one that will help you learn, grow, and create something truly extraordinary.