Today I was in tip top creative form…
I started off my day as usual with a little writing session. This is when I just write freely about whatever comes to mind at the moment. Today my creative juices were flowing like the boats on the Delaware River in the middle of trout season. I came up with a great idea for a short story. I don’t want to give to much away about the the plot right now but I would love to share how I begin to start this process.
It all starts with an idea..
… usually this idea is just a flash of a thought that runs through your mind. It takes some imaginary thinking to take that flash and slow it down. This idea needs to grow into a concept or theme. This theme is the central idea or belief for everything that happens throughout the story and should include the what, who, and how. What is happening and what does it lead to? Who are the influencers of what is happening? How are they influencing the what and how are they going to change the what. If you go back to your grade school years you will know these as the plot, characters, and conflict. Now after you get more of a developed idea of the basics for these three things, it is time to figure out where this is all happening, that’s right, the scene. Once you decide on a location it is time to start thinking about your conflict. The conflict is the point in the story that sets your plot into motion. It is the reason your characters are going in a different path, a different path that leads to a greater ending.
Next is the part that I am currently working on and just like any other story, I will continue to work on throughout the story. The characters. Once you have your theme figured out and a general idea of what you want your story to contain, you start to develop your characters. You give them personalities and morals. You use these to shape your character and show us their ethics which will then lead us to our conflict that sends their whole world upside down on a search of improving them selves(most of the time without out the character realizing it). This character transformation is called a character arc, the character starts the story off one way and then after a change or development in the story (conflict, climax) they are a changed person.
To get this detail of my characters I like to lay them all out and list their personality traits, their morals and ethics, and also their main purpose throughout the story. How are they involved and how do they react to the conflict and what do they become as a result. Now this process continues to grow throughout the writing process, simply because, if it is a good story your characters should always be growing.
When I get my main points and ideas set it is time for me to just start writing. THIS IS THE BIGGEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE YOU: Just Start Writing!! I guess where you start all depends on where your idea is at in your head. For example, the story I am working on right now, my first thought was, ‘well what is the back story?’ So I started by writing the prologue. Now this isn’t the greatest writing I have ever done because it doesn’t have to be, not yet. To start your story you have to make a draft, another great thing you probably learned in grade school, but unlike those times, you can have as many drafts as you need. Another example of the way I treat my stories, I write down what I am thinking and create a mini story almost. This will have everything a story needs: characters, plot, scene, conflict, and theme. This will essentially be the spine of your story. From there you take your draft and break it into sections, like the anatomy of your body, the arms, legs, torso, you get the idea. From there you build into them and create more details, more conflicts, more character arcs, and plot! This is the birthmarks and scars of your story. Everything is where it is for a reason. Remember that. If you find that a part of your story isn’t working in one area change it up and see if it works in another part of your story. If it doesn’t, don’t just through it in the story for whatever purpose you think it is holding because 9/10, it doesn’t have a purpose at all and is a part of the story for no reason. It doesn’t help improve the plot, it doesn’t help solve the conflict, and it doesn’t ad to the character arc. Know when something works and something doesn’t, make everything have a purpose and a reason for being where it is.
With all this in mind…
I encourage you to just write. It is a great practice of creativity and getting your brain juices flowing. Stay tuned for more updates on my story and advice for your own story writing!