Developing Your Story Idea
This week I’d like to share with you the convoluted and not always easy process of developing your story idea — the one that’s been rattling around in your head, waiting to be written. Ideas are pretty easy to come up with, but organizing the storyline, the characters, the conflict, and the action take a lot more doing! Your brilliant idea must now evolve to create situations to introduce your characters. Where is this great story idea going?
It’s not as easy as just letting your imagination flow and letting it go where it takes you. From the introduction, to the drama, to the conflicts, and their final resolutions, a finished product must follow a set of rules for your story to be the great success you’d like it to be. I’ve talked about those rules in previous blogs, so today I’d like to tell you how my “brilliant idea” became the finished book I hope you will all read someday!
I like to write adventure stories with a touch of magic. Myths that are part of our world’s culture and legends have always intrigued me, so that is what I choose to write about. It’s important for you to write about what interests you, whether it’s science fiction, romance, or a thinly disguised autobiography. If your story idea intrigues you, write about that. Be yourself, because that is what will shine through. It’s not a good idea to write something just because you think it might sell. That story won’t have your full involvement, and it will show.
I’m just starting research on the fourth book in my Alex Cort Adventures series. I have a title, and an idea of where the story is going, but I don’t have all the characters “imagined” yet that I will need to tell my story. This is another step for you to think about in developing your story. Who is going to “tell” the story? I use that word with caution, because it is very important to show what happens in a scene while the action is commencing, not just tell about what happened after the fact.
Secrets of the Crystal Skulls, my third story in the series, takes place just after Atlantis is destroyed by a sorcerer. I have an ensemble of characters I like to include in every story, so I already know that adventurer Alex Cort, archaeologist Andrew Seaton, and a young woman named Angel, who calls herself a witch, are going to be involved. My stories wrap around these characters, and each of them contribute to the action of the story with their own points of view. If you only have one book planned, even if you plan a series, it is important to create “character arcs” that show how your character(s) evolve and grow. How will they be different, better, wiser, than they were in the beginning of your story? Conflict and Character Arcs are two subjects your editors will mention to you often. Be sure to include both!
The other characters you will need are those who bring conflict: How do they connect to your main character? How to best introduce a romantic partner? It’s hard not to give too much away in the beginning. It’s important to sprinkle “backstory” bits of information about your characters throughout, not just dump in a paragraph or two at the beginning. Weave this personal information you created for your characters into the storyline. It isn’t always simple, but it is important to lead your readers into becoming involved with, and care about, your characters.
When writing is a joy, you’ll never have writer’s block!
Video: Alex Cort Adventures, Book 3: Secrets of the Crystal Skulls
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