How to ask good interview questions
Who? What? When? Where? Why?
Those questions are journalistic tools that can help us find great life stories — or condemn us to a lifetime of cranking out just-the-facts-ma’am pieces.
You know all about the five W’s. But what questions can you ask to make your piece an interesting story instead of just a report?
Instead of seeking basic facts, shift focus. Richard Zahler of The Seattle Times suggests that when you’re interviewing for story, you let:
Who stand for character
What stand for plot
When stand for chronology
Where stand for setting
Why stand for motivation
Using this approach, “what,” for example, is transformed into questions like:
- What happened next?
- What were you thinking when …?
- What made you say that?
Those questions can lead to stories — not just the facts.
Work with — not against — your brain
While we talk a lot about what to write — More stories! Fewer words! Shorter sentences! — we don’t focus so much on how.
Writing is hard because we weren’t taught how to write. Instead, we were taught how to edit: how to spell, punctuate and use the right grammar.
But there is a how to writing. Learn a few simple steps that will make your writing time more effective and efficient at How to write Better, Easier & Faster — our writing-process workshop starting Dec. 12.
You’ll learn to invest your time where it’ll do you the most good … stop committing creative incest … even save time by editing before writing.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.