Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How Do I Develop Writing Ideas?

I know I said not to expect me to be blogging as much, but here I am. I do want to be consistent, I just said don't expect it of me.

Today I wanted to answer the question: How do I develop my writing ideas?

I don't actually have a good answer to this, and certainly not a succinct one. How do I develop my ideas? Well let's start at the beginning.

My stories come to me at various times and in a myriad of situations. I got the inspiration for my Finding Hope series while I was reading The Giver. I know exactly where I was when that happened. Whereas with my Robin Hood series, I can't pinpoint an exact time when the story entered my head. Sometimes I'll be watching the Olympics, or a movie, or people-watching and a story idea will just come to me. I can picture a character in a setting and the story is born. On rare occasions I get story ideas from dreams. Sometimes story ideas come from discussions and banter with friends. Conversations that weren't about books but then a story comes out of them. Sometimes stories happen when I buy a car. Don't ask me to explain my brain. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes...and cars, apparently.

It's always different for each book. The ways stories come to me are vast and varied. After I have a story in mind, I write it down. Not the just the idea, but the story itself.

When a story enters my head, my brain starts working on overdrive and unless I want to explode, I have to get the story out. So I sit down and write, furiously write, until I run out of juice. Usually this leaves me with two or three chapters of a story written. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but generally around two or three chapters.

After that, I outline and plot the story using the chapters I have written as a starting point. I dive into character profiles, emotional journeys, story arcs, research (especially for historical novels), and everything in between. My two or three chapters already written usually introduce me to the main character, the main conflict, and a couple of side characters (usually family members or close friends). Once I start outlining, I flush out the characters I already know, and then work through all of the unknown factors of the story. Once the story is fully outlined, I write it.

That's how I create stories.

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