"So, what's it called when you work for someone for free?"
Okay. So not the answer I was looking for but he had a point. After I finished laughing and trying to clear the ater that I'd been drinking from my nose, I rephrased the question.
"Okay then. What's it called when you work for someone to learn something?"
You can tell he's into mystical things. "Okay, better. How about intern?"
This conversation got me to thinking about two things.
1) How important it is to ask the right questions.
2) How important each word we use is.
Because let's face it. The wrong questions can lead us and our characters down the wrong path, and we won't realize it until it's too late. How many times have you come up against a wall, that had you known which questions to ask or delved deeper into the character, you may have been able to avoid? Or had you rephrased it, may have gotten acompletely different answer?
Using the right word to convey a mood or feeling is intregral to the story. How may times have you been pulled out of a story because the author didn't use the right word or convey the right meaning? Or how many times you've used your favorite word or words until it's overdone?
I'm guilty of all of the above, which is why I never turn out a final manuscript the first time or even the second time around. One of these days, I hope to take my own advice.
So ask and choose wisely or you may be the one snorting water when you hear the answer.