The Only 2 Questions

According to the inimitable Steve Almond, the only two questions readers care about are these:

1. Who do I care about?

2. What do they care about?

“It doesn’t especially matter what your heroine cares about. as long as she cares a lot. Love and death are the usual suspects, but a great novel just might arise from a nun’s thwarted effort to remove dental floss from between her teeth (to borrow an example from Kurt Vonnegut). As long as her passion places her in peril, you’re in business.”

Sure, style matters. As does voice and technique and talent and all sorts of other writerly stuff.

But I think there’s a boatload of wisdom in Almond’s distillation.

So, what do you think?

2 thoughts on “The Only 2 Questions

  1. “As long as her passion places her in peril”

    And that is a great thought… I’m thinking about my writing, and I’m finding that far too often it’s the passions of others that get the stories moving. Time to make my protagonists protag a little more! Their passions should move the story forward — I need to answer more “What do they care about.” Thanks for pointing it out!

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