For the past several posts, we've looked at the most important question a writer can ask, "why." We've seen how it can break writer's block, help the Q&A process, aid in sifting critiques and help writers face their fear.
So, when you reach that part of the writing process that ties you in knots and makes you more than a little crazy, stop as you would at a washed out section of roadway. Ask yourself why the story or scene, dialogue or description isn't working. You can also ask the lesser questions—who, what, where, when and how—but none of these gets at the heart of the matter better than "why."
As a reminder, the three keys that unlock the power of why are to answer the question honestly, in detail and in writing. See the posts below for more information, and visit my online editing workshop, "Show and Tell: How to Know, How to Fix."