Blake Snyder writes, "The hero knows and others around him look to him for answers, not the other way around. if you see a lot of question marks in your hero's dialogue, there's a problem" (SAVE THE CAT, p. 146).
So ... "a lot of question marks" ... how many does that equal exactly?
I took the challenge. I use the find feature in Word and discovered my WIP had 900 (exactly) question marks. Now, granted, not all of those were used by my main character, but I took it further and went through the entire ms with a fine tooth comb.
Of those 900 question marks, 511 belonged to my MC. Yikes. That's probably what Snyder meant by "a lot."
HOWEVER, to my defense, not all of those question marks were in dialogue. A LOT were in her inner monologue. Is that better or worse?
Well, again, upon further examination, I discovered that most of those questions she asked silently to herself were completely unnecessary. I could delete them without changing the meaning of the paragraph, scene, chapter, or plot. *sigh*
I also discovered that many of the questions in her dialogue could be altered to be said as a statement rather than a question, which resulted in a much stronger voice coming from my MC.
After cleaning up the ms, I had eliminated 123 questions - all from my MC. Is that enough? I don't know, yet.
I'll make another pass through the ms and have another beta reader take a look.
What do you think? Does your MC ask a lot of questions? Do you think that's a bad thing?