I jotted the acronym, MDQ, down in my little tablet where I keep track of possible blog topics more than two months ago. I don't think I'd ever seen the acronym used though I did know what it meant.
The Major Dramatic Question is what I've always thought of as the big plot question that the story seeks to answer. It's the goal of the protagonists, the driving force behind the action and drama leading the reader toward the end of the novel. Where the lovers end up together in the romance novel? Will the forces of good overcome evil in the fantasy novel? Will Earth's spacecraft stop the alien invasion? Will the detectives stop the bad guys in the suspense novel? Joe Bunting makes it very simple in this short article.
The reader might buy into the MDQ, after all they picked up the book because they wanted a romance, fantasy or mystery novel. But what will keep them reading and have them buying the next book are the obstacles and conflicts that prevent the MDQ from being settled until that last chapter.
Analyzing a TV show or a movie is good way to visual the MDQ and the conflicts in the way. Any police procedural show will have false leads, events that confuse or create more questions, interesting characters or settings that influence the protagonist striving for the answers to the MDQ. Inspiring curiosity in the reader is a guarantee to keep them flipping pages.
Have you ever heard the acronym, MDQ? Do you love or hate acronyms? Is there a particular TV show that does a great job of demonstrating the Major Dramatic Question? Do you see how knowing your exact MDQ can help you write a one-liner for your novel?