Story idea . . . maybe . . .

So the other day I was going to a meeting and felt tired.  Not ideal, and as the meeting really didn’t call for me to do anything apart from listen, I was a bit worried that I was going to fall asleep.  So, in a fit of genius – or who knows, maybe I just randomly picked up the thing – I grabbed my journal just in case.

Now if you’re anything like me, writing while tired is pretty much a disaster.  Drool on the page?  Maybe.  Coherent thoughts?  Not likely.  Somehow, though, as I started jotting down some initial ideas, things coalesced in a nice way.  Now let’s be clear – I’ve only sketched out the story, I haven’t completed it or anything.  Still, it was nice to see the old gray matter working even when normally it wouldn’t.

Here’s what helped me break things down:

1) I decided who my main characters were going to be, limiting them to two.

2) I played around with the characters, speculating on motives and basic plans for each, without committing hard and fast to all of the details.

3) Based on the two characters, I determined whose story it would be and weighed the options of using characters’  internal thoughts.

4) I even spent a little time asking myself, ‘Is this more likely a short story or a novel?’ and imagined both possibilities and what each would require of me.

No magic here, no smoke and mirrors, but a bunch of little ways into a story that now I’m looking forward to writing.

Anyone else have ideas for getting started with a story?

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Published in: on August 14, 2010 at 5:39 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sometimes I listen to music and rip off some of the themes. I then add a character and a problem. It doesn’t always work though. I also like Stephen King’s advise in ‘On Writing’. Just plop a character into a bad situation and watch what he/she does. Good luck on your story. Let me know how it goes.
    -Josh

  2. Good ideas – and I love the Stephen King one. I read that book a couple years ago and really enjoyed how he stripped away things to show his process. The ‘bad situation’ is great, too, even it only ends up being an exercise – keeps the writer limber . . .


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