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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • The "What if" question. : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
Page 1 of 2

The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:38 pm
by Mohamed Ali
What if questions, or so I'm told, are great for getting into premise ideas. Most of the time I'll pace the room saying "what if...what if" and draw a blank for an hour and give up for the day. Every premise I've come up with ultimately stemmed from unique sci fi or fantasy setting I dream up in my head that I "wander around" in for months trying to ask myself why this place matters before characters and plot come into vision. Sometimes music helps. Only time "what if" has worked for me was when I watched an episode of The Walking Dead, seeing how ugly and hopeless it all is and asking "What if the apocalypse was beautiful?"...but that was a fluke triggered by something I saw. How do you guys get into the "what if" zone.

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:53 pm
by shadowwalker
I don't worry about "premise ideas" - but I use "what if" a lot. I see a couple walking down the street - what if a car careened out of control as they reached the corner? What if a woman ran screaming out that house they just passed? What if they had a fight?

"What if" isn't a "zone" or anything like that. It's a jumpstart for a story, a chapter, a scene. As you'll hear me say over and over - don't worry about zones or premise or all this esoteric stuff writers love to talk about - just tell me a story.

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:37 am
by Brien Sz
Harlan Coben stated in a talk that he uses this method a lot.

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 12:49 pm
by TwoStepCharlie
Me, no--I don't use this method at all. I usually think past any plot-premise and focus instead on the kind of emotional punches which preoccupy me as a feeling person. For one example, I'm interested in remorse, so many of my stories are simply structures designed to expose that emotion in a character. I start at the end of the tale and work backward. 'What if' doesn't matter. Emotion is 'this IS'. I already know what I have, I just need to assemble a trail of breadcrumbs to get a reader to the same point.

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:48 pm
by nhope

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:45 am
by kimjune
This reminds me of my regrets not investing in Bitcoin back in 2009-2010 when 1 dollar could get you a hundred Bitcoins. Today the price is over $4,000 a coin, and i keep asking myself, "What if i invested $100 back then?". Well, you do the math. To be honest, that is the biggest regret in my life. That is the first thing that came to my mind when i read your post.

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 12:05 pm
by plughmann
[quote="kimjune"]This reminds me of my regrets not investing in Bitcoin back in 2009-2010 when 1 dollar could get you a hundred Bitcoins. Today the price is over $4,000 a coin, and i keep asking myself, "What if i invested $100 back then?". Well, you do the math. To be honest, that is the biggest regret in my life. That is the first thing that came to my mind when i read your post.[/quote]


There are no guarantees.
If you think it was so great an idea then why not buy the several newer competing 'coins' that have been invented recently.

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:01 am
by kimjune
i did buy some of those new coins, but there are just too many coins out there! You can never know which one will prevail.

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:00 am
by plughmann
[quote="kimjune"]i did buy some of those new coins, but there are just too many coins out there! You can never know which one will prevail.[/quote]

In the long run I guarantee that all of them will be worthless.
In the short run it is pure speculation and using the greater fool theory.

They have no intrinsic value. They cannot be used for anything practical like gold and silver is used in electronic devices.
The government wont take them in payment of taxes.
A few stores may do it but the volatility makes it too risky for most people and biz to use.

And it is a zero sum game. Whatever somebody makes , somebody else lost. There is no benefit to civilisation with any of the coin gimmicks.

Re: The "What if" question.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:50 pm
by T.A.Rodgers
I haven't invested in bitcoins nor plan to, but this 8-year gimmick seems to be doing pretty well. If the long run is 20 years from now, then investors can still make money off this no? As for it being risky...absolutely. Maybe more so than stocks.