How To-sday: M.O.

Continuing our series on the Murder Method, today is all about the M.O. This part is both the most misunderstood and also the hardest. At this point, we are still not giving any opinions. For reference: o·pin·ion əˈpinyən noun

  1. a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
    "I'm writing to voice my opinion on an issue of great importance"
    synonyms: belief, judgment, thought(s), (way of) thinking, mind, (point of) view,viewpoint, outlook, attitude, stance, position, perspective, persuasion,standpoint; More

    • the beliefs or views of a large number or majority of people about a particular thing.
      "the changing climate of opinion"
    • an estimation of the quality or worth of someone or something.
      "I had a higher opinion of myself than I deserved"

It can be incredibly hard to keep from giving an opinion. Just try to think of this as asking for clarification. You can ask about the writer's intentions.

Examples of questions that are okay to ask:

  • What purpose does Derrick serve in the story?
  • Why did you choose this title?
  • What do you want the reader to take away from this story?
  • Where was Jordan heading before he ran into Sophie and they went to lunch?

Questions that you should not ask:

  • Why is this fight scene so confusing?
  • Why did you make Ash so unlikeable?
  • Why did you include this useless character?
  • Why did you pick such a crappy title?

See the difference?

This is the first time during the process that the author is allowed to talk. Try to be brief, but answer as fully as you can. Also, pay attention to the questions asked. If your readers are asking questions about stuff that you thought was made clear in the text or that you wanted them to pick up on, maybe that's something that you should focus on in your editing.

Readers, don't force the questions. If you have nothing to ask, that's fine. There's no reason to make the process drag on longer than necessary. If you find that you have an opinion after a question is answered, jot it down and save it. That part comes next.