Episode 5: Finding the Why of Your Story

A new podcast for writers

Sandra O'Donnell, Ph.D.

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Whether you are writing literary fiction or historical fiction, police procedurals or YA, before readers will fully invest in your story — to get them past those crucial first fifteen pages — you need to show the reader WHY. This week, we discuss how you find the WHY of your story and how the why becomes the basis for your inciting incident. Jump over Episode 5: Finding the Why of Your Story on the Your First Fifteen Pages podcast to join the conversation.

To write anything — a story, a report, or a book — you have to know why you are writing it. As a novelist, you have to hone in on the event that brings the story into being and why your reader should care. That why is the question at the heart of every novel.

The why is one of the first things readers look for when we pick up a book. We look for the why in those first pages and generally find it in the inciting incident of the story. Without an inciting incident, agents, editors, and readers will simply stop reading.

There are a million other reasons why we read fiction. We want to know what it is like to be a spy, fight for someone’s freedom, discover a treasure, change identities, fail and finally succeed, find true love, come back to life…the list goes on and on.

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Sandra O'Donnell, Ph.D.

Writing about life, death and everything In between. Reader of history, memoirs, and the stars. Looking for answers to life’s deeper questions.