We have been involved in a lot of community building in our time; most recently in the #WritingCommunity, first through the 2020-21 Pitch Wars group, and then a broader sphere as we met more people through Twitter and in real life. As Twitter looks less and less stable, I think semi-private spaces like Discord are going to become key to maintaining connections to other writers going forward.

In our main Discord we have the ‘#QOTD’ – a dedicated channel with one thought-provoking question about writing every day to start conversations and learn a little bit more about each other. It’s really interesting to hear people’s thoughts and get insight into the wide array of approaches and opinions on writing, publishing, and characters. This is a master list of questions from that channel, shared freely in the hopes that it might help foster more writerly connections.

(Normally these questions are posted in the channel from Monday-Thursday every week. Each Friday is a sharing day, where people are invited to share a snippet from what they’ve been working on that week. Everybody is heavily encouraged to leave positive comments on other people’s snippets.) 

Most questions are posed by E, but many other members have also contributed, and their names and links are included if you’d like to check out their work! We also sometimes use questions posted on Twitter; these have been linked so you can see the original post and the answers.

This list will be sporadically updated throughout the year.


  1. That infamous division… Are you a plotter or a pantster, or somewhere in between? How do you approach writing a new story?
  2. What does ‘success’ as a writer look like for you? What are you aiming for?
  3. Which do you prefer: drafting or revising?
  4. What usually ‘clicks’ first for you when coming up with/starting a new story: character, plot or setting?
  5. Are you good or bad at coming up with titles? What’s the best title you’ve ever devised?
  6. Have you written the ‘book of your heart’ yet? If so, tell us about it! If not, tell us what it will be.
  7. How do you pick character names?
  8. If a sorcerer appeared in a puff of smoke and cast a spell which transported you into the world of one of your own books or stories, which would you choose and why? Bearing in mind you’re not sure if you can ever come back. (Dave Goodman)
  9. How do you feel about the use of modern Earth-centric things (units of measurement, days of the week, slang) in sci-fi or fantasy books? Does it grind your gears, or are you more sanguine?
  10. What do you want to improve in your writing? What are you doing to get better at it?
  11. What’s a genre you haven’t written in that you’d like to try one day?
  12. How open are you about your writing in your personal life? Do you talk about it with friends, family, coworkers? If you were to ‘make it big’ would you want your real identity out there, or would you prefer to stay out of the spotlight?
  13. What’s the colour palette of your current WIP?
  14. What’s your ideal writing environment? Do you crave a cafe? Do you prefer to be curled up on your couch? Morning or evening? Quiet or ambient noise?
  15. Describe the situation your MC is currently in/their current mindset with a gif.
  16. What is cuisine like in your book? If you could eat one meal from your story, what would it be? 
  17. Drop three adjectives you think describe your writing style.
  18. What was a time you changed something about your writing habits, not the genre/content but the way you write, why’d you make the change and how do you think it impacted your writing? (CJ Dotson)
  19. What do you think about the adage “good writers write, great writers steal!”?
  20. Will you/do you read reviews for your books once they’re published?
  21. What types of stories do you want to see more of in publishing? Genres, mashups, tropes, plots… anything you’re hungry for more of.
  22. Sex scenes! Do you write them? Do you read them? (No shaming either way, please!)
  23. When do you feel like a story has ‘clicked’ for you – is it as soon as you start writing? After a certain threshold of words? Only once you’ve typed ‘the end’?
  24. Make up some terrible writing advice and share it.
  25. How much planning/prep do you do before putting down the first ‘official’ words of a new story? (Official = intended as the opening and in a prose-like state; even if it gets changed in a later revision) 
  26. What’s a non-writing skill you have that comes in handy when writing?
  27. Readers have to take a shot every time X happens in your book. What is it? (Recurring imagery, character quirk, plot contrivance, etc)
  28. If you had to do a re-imagining of a classic novel/fairy tale/myth, which would it be, and what spin would you put on it?
  29. What is the relationship between magic and technology in your WIP? Do they co-exist? Does one take the place of the other?
  30. What POV do you enjoy writing in the most? Are there any you would like to try but haven’t?
  31. Complete the movie tagline for your current WIP: In a world… 
  32. Where/when do you get your best ideas? Do they come from reading or watching things, or float up to you in the shower? On a walk?
  33. What’s the most helpful writing resource you’ve come across lately? Could be a blog, a book, a video, a Twitter thread…
  34. How self-indulgent is your writing? Do you lean into the things you love most or do you try to hold back to make your work more ‘marketable’/’literary’/’acceptable’?
  35. What’s the weirdest research hole you’ve gone down for a book?
  36. When you sit down to write, do you set goals for yourself? Is it a certain number of words, a set amount of time, or something else?
  37. Describe your WIP using a Reductress headline (https://reductress.com/)
  38. What are you working on this week? What do you hope to get accomplished? Do you need any support, cheering or accountability from us?? 
  39. What is an aspect of writing you were surprised to find out you’re good at?
  40. What software do you write in? Do you do different things for drafting vs editing? What functions can you absolutely not live without?
  41. If your main character found the equivalent of £5 on the street, what would they do? What about your side characters? Your antagonist?
  42. What are the filler/filter words that plague your writing? What do you have to search and destroy when you’re editing?
  43. What action or aspect of your main character made the love interest fall for them? Alternatively, what is it about them that their closest friend sees in them? (Rose)
  44. All the characters bar one from your WIP are replaced by muppets. Who’s the sole remaining human? (Mo)
  45. What were your MC’s last few Google searches?
  46. Do you have any writing rituals you follow? Things to help get you in the mood or mindspace for writing
  47. Do your characters have any (or would they get any) tattoos, and if so what are they? (Anica Lewis)
  48. What do you do when you need to refill your creative well? How do you recharge yourself?
  49. Do you ever leave yourself placeholders while you draft? Or do you have to write everything out?
  50. Describe the scene you’re currently working on with emoji, and let us see if we can guess what’s happening.
  51. Who is your favourite side character in any of your books/WIPs?
  52. Your protagonist suddenly finds themselves in a talent show. What do they do, and how do they fare against the competition?
  53. What are you reading right now? Have you taken anything from it into your own writing?
  54. What is the economic set up in your WIP? How do your characters feel about it?
  55. What excites you about your WIP? This could be tropes, vibes, a scene you’ve written, a scene you’ve yet to write, imagining your CP’s reactions, new things you’re learning…
  56. A: Do you create playlists for your characters? B: Is there a song you have on repeat for a character lately? (Ryann)
  57. If you got the Book Deal of your Dreams (and/or the Breakout Self-Pub Hit of Your Dreams) and were able to write full time, what would your Perfect Writing Day look like? Give us details – where do you write? How long? What are your objectives for the day? (Dave Goodman)
  58. More literal with the ‘writing’ question today: what’s a word/words that you always misspell?
  59. How would your MC review your book?
  60. If the writing community had a Hunger Games, which of your characters would you send and why?
  61. What’s your favourite/most-used punctuation mark?
  62. What is your main character’s guilty pleasure?
  63. When did you first start wanting to be a writer and do you think you would have wanted it if someone had told you what it’s really like? (CJ Dotson)
  64. What is a thing that regularly catches you by surprise (in a good way) about your own writing? Little things you notice, at any stage of the process, that make you think ‘huh, maybe I’m actually good? At this?’ (Dave Goodman)
  65. What is your favourite word, and why?
  66. If you were an agent, what would your manuscript wishlist (MSWL) be? What books would you want to rep?
  67. Inspired by this tweet, how are you being ridiculous in your writing? How are you leaning into the indulgent and weird?
  68. How do you feel about the adage ‘Show, don’t tell’ in writing?
  69. In the vein of PostSecret, what secret would your MC share if they knew it couldn’t be linked with them? 
  70. Your MC gets to go back and relive one event in their lives and make different choices. What would they choose to do differently, and how might that change things?
  71. What sort of nice self-care things do you do for yourself when you’re in a writing funk?
  72. What books make up the Venn diagram of your WIP? Choose as many as you want.
  73. Have you ever written a series? If not, would you consider it? If so, what tips do you have? 
  74. When a scene stalls, a sure way to get it going again is to throw in a(n) ________.
  75. Does your protagonist have a strong external goal? If so, what is it?
  76. What is your relationship to deadlines? Do you set them for yourself? Do they stress you out? Motivate you?
  77. If you had to write a dedication for your current WIP, who would it be?
  78. What makes you feel most like a writer? Is it praise from readers? Being ‘in the zone’ when you’re drafting? Staring at a blank screen with a hot drink in your hand?
  79. Do you write things other than novels? If so, what are the key differences? If not, what might you want to try writing in the future?
  80. What is your MC’s go-to comfort food? (Amanda J McGee)
  81. What’s your MCs pet peeves? Not the big issues, but the little things that get under their skin and put them in a bad mood? (Rose Black)
  82. What’s a hobby you do that’s not writing, and have you found its influence creeping into your writing in any way? (CJ Dotson)
  83. How do you feel about profanity in books? Do you use it? Have you made up any swear words, either to fit in your worldbuilding or to get around using known words?
  84. What tool (however you define it) do you use most when writing?
  85. What is the lie your MC tells themselves? How does the story make them confront it? (Rose Black)
  86. How do you deal with the negative feelings that come with writing? That could be imposter syndrome, professional envy, a lack of confidence in what you’re producing… What strategies and approaches do you have to cope with them and keep writing?
  87. Give us your primary protagonist, your primary antagonist and one (yes, sorry, just one) of your favourite side characters. Images or IMDB links along with why you think this actor would be a good fit for the people that live inside your brain. (Dave Goodman)
  88. How do you go about revisions? Do you do one big pass, lots of little passes, do you let it sit for a while, do you dive straight in after drafting?
  89. Pick a scene from your WIP and tell us about it, then post a Youtube video for the soundtrack you’d have in the background if it was made for TV or film. (Dave Goodman)
  90. Do you know your MC’s astrological sign? Does it fit them? If you don’t know it, what’s the best fitting sign for their personality type?
  91. Are there any important customs, rituals or traditions in the world of your WIP, either real-world or created solely for your work?
  92. What’s the last piece of media you consumed that sparked a writing idea in you?
  93. Are you doing Nanowrimo this year? Have you done it in the past? Does it work for you, or stress you out?
  94. What season is it in your WIP? Does it affect the plot at all? How do your characters feel about it?
  95. Do you have any big events in your WIP? Celebrations, feasts, religious rites, parties? Tell us about them!
  96. Do you act as a critique partner or beta reader for other writers? If so, how do you approach giving feedback? What’s your favourite part of being a CP? What’s the hardest?
  97. Go to the Incorrect Quotes Generator and share a quote that works for your book.
  98. What’s the most random thing you’ve ever been inspired by?
  99. How do you decide when a project is ‘done’?
  100. What’s your favourite thing about writing?
  101. If your book had a tasting menu, what would it be?
  102. Let’s talk about antagonists. What do you do to make sure they’re compelling and fun to read? Who’s your favourite antagonist that you’ve written?
  103. What books does your character own and/or what books is your character currently reading? (Courtney Floyd)
  104. What mundane life thing that everyone hates but has to do sometimes would your characters consider the most stressful, and what would they do to unwind and/or celebrate after they’ve accomplished it (if they accomplish it)?  (CJ Dotson)
  105. If you could go back in time to the very beginning of your writing (or a particularly difficult time where you struggled) but you could only say one thing to yourself, what would you choose to say? Would you reassure your younger self? Give them a specific tip to follow? Give yourself a hug? How are things different now, compared to back then? (Dave Goodman)
  106. Do you have any plans / desires to write something in a different genre? If so, do you have any specific plot, vibes etc, or is it more of a “that genre is cool I want a bite of it?” (Rose Black)
  107. What’s your favourite character relationship to write?
  108. Take the main character from your current WIP and throw them into your last project. How do they fare? What about vice versa?
  109. Where do you do most of your writing? Do you write on a device or by hand? Share a picture if you like!
  110. What’s one thing you absolutely must know about a main character before you can write them? 
  111. If someone was to dress up as your book/a character from your book, what would they wear?
  112. Is there any travel in your WIP? Do you go into detail about it or skim over it? Does it inform the story or is it mostly to get characters from one place to another?
  113. How does your MC feel about their birthday? Do they celebrate? Ignore the day? Do they love presents?
  114. What’s a genre you have never written in, and how would you approach it if you did?
  115. How do you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to sifting through your writing ideas? (JJ Lloyd)
  116. What narrator would you want to read your book? This could either be an audiobook narrator or an actor.
  117. What elements would you want to see on the cover for your current WIP? What style would you want it in?
  118. Fill in the blank: My main character is really just ___ in a trench coat.
  119. What was your easiest character to write, what character appeared on the page and you thought oh yes this will be one of my favorites forever? What was the character you’ve had the hardest time writing, what character did you want to like or want to accomplish something with but for some reason you just couldn’t make them work or fit? (CJ Dotson)
  120. How do you feel about monarchies in SFF? Do you write them? Do you try to subvert them?
  121. How do you know what the ‘right’ ending is for a book? And do you prefer to leave things for the reader to put together on their own, or do you like to write it all out? 
  122. Have you ever written an epilogue?
  123. What role does weather play in your WIP? Does it impact the plot or protagonists at all?
  124. What’s a special comfort item for your characters? (AS Crowder)
  125. What is an unusual word that you use a lot/too often in your work? (Ryann Fletcher)
  126. How do you approach writing action scenes? Do you enjoy them? Fear them? Do you have any tricks or tips for writing them well? What makes an action scene ‘good’ when you’re reading it in a book?
  127. What sort of things do you not have to worry about revising in your writing? What do you nail the first time round?
  128. What aspect of your writing have you improved the most since you began? What has helped you improve in that area?
  129. What are your characters thankful for, at this point in the story? What will they be thankful for at the end?
  130. How many editing passes do you do before you consider a project ‘done’ (whatever that means – ready to query, ready to show your agent, ready to publish)?
  131. What are your working title(s) for your current writing project? (JJ Lloyd))
  132. What non-writing activity helps you write? Could be long walks, exercise, playing video games, etc….
  133. Have you ever killed off a major character in your writing? Why did you choose to (or choose not to, if you haven’t)?
  134. If you could be mentored by any author currently alive/working today, who would it be and why?
  135. Do you use any beat sheets/craft books/templates/formulas when you write or edit? What have you found most useful, if anything?
  136. Give your characters an award – make them as silly or serious as you like.
  137. For your current WIP what was the first scene that really crystallised for you – either as you were writing, or even before you started the drafting process?
  138. If you had to use the ‘Blank’  of  ‘Blank’ and ‘Blank’ naming convention for your WIP, what would it be? 
  139.  How do you insert tension in your story? What choices do you make to ramp it up for the characters and the readers?
  140.  What would the ideal writing retreat look like for you? This could be location, type of accommodation, any facilitated sessions, participants, themes/focus, etc.
  141. When was the last time your MC lied? Do they regret it? Are they frequently untruthful?
  142. If you got a well-paying publishing deal for your current WIP but as part of the contract they wanted you to write five more books just like it (same age group, same genre, same vibes) – would you do it?
  143. Write a travel brochure/blurb for your setting/world. For example: Forks, Washington: Dreary, overcast weather is made up for by a great local school system – no questions asked!
  144. Do you have any rituals when starting a new project? Any ways of getting in the right mindset/setting the new vibes?
  145. What’s your MC’s favourite meal?
  146. Pitch your book Pride and Prejudice style: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a [Character], must be in want of [Blank]‘.
  147. What recurring themes, accidental or intentional, keep showing up in your work?
  148. How would your character get out of a boring meeting if they didn’t have a legitimate reason to leave it but needed to escape the tedium nonetheless? (CJ Dotson)
  149. If you had to share ‘one neat trick’ that you practise in your writing, what would it be? 
  150. Have you ever resurrected an old/trunked story and rewritten or revised it?
  151. Would you rather: meet your favourite author or your favourite character?
  152. What do you rewrite the most? Dialogue, setting descriptions, action scenes, etc?
  153. What is your writing philosophy (whatever that means to you)?
  154. If there was a Met Gala theme inspired by your book, what would it be? (Bonus if you link any pics that illustrate what someone might wear!)
  155. What colours is your WIP? Either literally or more metaphorically…
  156. What’s the best gift your character’s ever been given? Who gave it to them and why does it mean so much? (Rose Black)
  157. What is something, good or bad, that your character thought would never happen—not something they didn’t expect at all, but something they considered and decided was impossible—that then did happen? (CJ Dotson)
  158. How are your characters at cooking? Do they have any special dishes / favourite recipes? Or are they on first name terms with the delivery driver? (Rose Black)
  159. What’s an irrational belief your character holds (big or small). Is the belief ever challenged and do they change their mind? (Rose Black)
  160. Your main character (any main character from any WIP or past project, whichever pops to mind first) has been teleported into your favourite movie. What do they do? How does it go? (CJ Dotson)
  161. How well do your characters sleep? Are they a fall asleep anywhere type, or do they need a proper bed? Do they sleep well or wake up repeatedly, playing over past events? Do they need to sleep with someone or have a favourite pillow? Good dreams or nightmares? (Rose Black)
  162. If your character started a podcast, what would they call it and what would it be about? (CJ Dotson)
  163. If your MC could travel to anywhere in the(ir) world, where would it be? 
  164. What book (that you have yet to start writing) are you most excited to work on? (Red)
  165. Generate 5 random archetypes using this generator; which of the five best matches your MC?
  166. How clearly do you visualize locations, actions, and characters as you write? (Beth Sobel)
  167. If your MC was on a wanted poster, what would it say on it?
  168. What scene is living in your head rent-free right now? Could be something you read, something from a beta partner, or your own writing…
  169. What sort of beta reader comments do you hope for? Incoherent screaming? An ‘oh snap, I see what you did there’? 
  170. What are you reading right now?
  171. Which animal would each character in your WIP be? (Beth Sobel)
  172. How does your MC feel about their birthday? Do they celebrate? Avoid it? What’s the best present they’ve ever gotten?
  173. If you were granted three writing-related wishes right now what would they be?
  174. Share a song and/or lyrics that you think of for your MC (bonus points for YouTube links!)
  175. Do you have a preferred font to draft in? Do you ever change it up for any reason?
  176. If your characters were in a horror movie, what role would they end up in? (if they are horror characters, what role would they play in a romcom?)
  177. What isn’t writing, but counts as writing?
  178. Use a gif to describe how you’re feeling about your WIP at this point in time.
  179. How do you view your role as an author? Are you channelling your characters? Watching from a distance and writing down what they get up to? Creating everything from atoms in your head?
  180. We’ve spoken a lot about bad writing takes, but what’s a good writing rule/guideline/piece of advice that you follow?
  181. Do you ever base the characters in your stories or novels on people you know?
  182. Do you have any scenes that you know in your head or have written down, even though they have no place in the actual book (rather than ones cut out)? What makes them stand out or important to you? (Rose Black)
  183. Do you like writing small cast or large cast stories? How come? Have you ever tried to step outside of your comfort zone?
  184. If your main character was faced with a challenge (mental, physical, anything really) that was 95% impossible would they rather try and most likely fail, or refuse to engage with it so as not to risk losing? Would this change if they were alone vs being observed by other characters?
  185. What would the dedication for your current WIP be?
  186. Can you think of an example of when you’ve used the description of sound effectively in your writing? Share it with us and tell us why you chose it!
  187. Do you prefer writing contemporary/real world/historical stories, where you need to be accurate to what’s known, or secondary world/speculative stories where you’re responsible for making up the details?
  188. Rate your MC’s core D&D stats (between 3-18 for each) Strength | Dexterity | Constitution | Wisdom | Intelligence | Charisma
  189. Are you an underwriter or an overwriter? Do you have to focus on adding words on revision – and if so, what sort of things do you focus on adding? Or do you have to cut – and if so, what things get the chop?(Cat Hellisen)
  190. If you were to send out swag or goodies specific to your WIP, what would they be? (Imagine money is no object). 
  191. Where do you go to find books to read? Are you a GoodReads trawler? A BookTok fan? Do you read best of lists? Wait for a trusted friend to shove a book directly into your hands?
  192. If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
  193. What role do love and relationships play in your WIP? Romantic, platonic, familial – how do you engage with and explore love in all its forms?
  194. What’s your favourite POV to write in? Are there any that you haven’t tried yet that you’d like to? 
  195. if your MC could time travel one single time, and spend one single day in their chosen time, and then be returned to the moment they left (but let’s assume to the moment they left, but in the case of altered timelines in the appropriate location for the new timeline), when would they go and what would they do? (bonus question, what would be the unintended consequences of their actions in that one day?) (CJ Dotson)
  196. Where do you do most of your writing? At a desk? On your couch? Desktop/laptop/tablet/typewriter/paper?
  197. Use autocomplete to summarise your book. Suggested template: [Book name] is a book about [autocomplete]. It tells the story of [main character], a/n [autocomplete]. It explores themes of [autocomplete] and will make you [autocomplete] and [autocomplete].
  198. What story/novel/poem have you written that you’re proudest of?
  199. What part of the book is the ‘hardest’ (whatever that means for you?) Beginning, middle, or end?
  200. How do you keep track of edits/revisions? Do you make a separate document to collate all the changes you want to make? Comment up the draft? Do you have a fancy system, or is it chaos? 
  201. What would your author launch be like if it was for your current WIP? What food or drink would you serve? Who might you invite to speak with you? Any activities? 
  202. What would it take for your character to do a murder & how would they feel about it afterwards?  (Lorraine Wilson)
  203. What are your feelings on writing description? Is it a strength, or a challenge? Do you have any tricks or tips for doing it well?
  204. What’s the silliest or most self-indulgent detail you’ve put into a WIP? Did it make it through to the final draft?
  205. How do you come up with character names? Do you enjoy the process? Do you ever change a character’s name partway through a project?
  206. If someone was to write a pompous-sounding PhD title for a dissertation focusing on your WIP, what would it be?
  207. What is your MC’s relationship with power/authority? Do they rebel against it? Crave it? Wield it against others?
  208. What thing, other than doing the work of writing itself, has helped you improve your writing the most? This could mean helping you find your voice, helping your output, helping you enjoy the process, etc…
  209. Tell us two truths and a lie about your book, and we’ll try to guess which is the lie!
  210. Would you rather: write 2000 words a day that need significant editing to be final-draft ready, or write 200 words a day that need no editing at all?
  211. How do you approach dialogue in your writing? Is it a strength? A challenge? Do you have any tips for making it sing?
  212. Time for your characters to look ahead – what are their resolutions?

(last updated 29/05/23)


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