I accidentally invented a new drafting technique while writing this blog, which I call “Q&A Drafting.” I just fell into it on bad days, when I had trouble deciding what I wanted to say and what order to put it in. I typed questions and answered them, mostly one paragraph at a time, although some answers sprawled for a screenful or two. Then I would rearrange the paragraphs and later revise the questions into statements.
Some people use this technique to write leads. They ask, “What’s this about?” and answer the question. Then they write the body text, and later rewrite the lead without the question.
This blog has a number of discussions that start with questions, something I seldom did before. The question-and-answer format sounds conversational and invites readers to think, which is part of my voice.
Then unexpectedly, the technique broadened into a way to organize. I wrote down a series of questions in a logical order, and treated the list as a plan. Then I drafted the answers and rewrote the questions. It turned out to be a relatively fast way to draft, even on good days. Once you start monkeying around with techniques, they turn into new ones.
[Got any good ways to use Q&A in your writing?]