Sunday, June 21, 2009

Think It Through

When I have an undeveloped story idea, it doesn’t always work its way out on the page. My current strategy for storytelling is to think the story through before I begin writing it. Not that I will have the entire story in my mind, but I like to have a solid idea about the characters, setting and plot.

It is tempting to take a fuzzy idea and run with it, but I have a plethora of unfinished tales that seemed like good ideas at the time. For me, a story idea is like a dust ball rattling around in my head. So long as I don’t put the idea on paper, the dust continues to collect, accumulating into something tangible and exciting that eventually demands to become a story.

To develop the fuzzy idea, I like to ask myself certain questions. Who are the characters in this story? What is each one like? What is the main plot or struggle in the story? How will the plot be resolved? Is this interesting enough to be a story?

It doesn’t bother me too much if I get stuck on certain points. Sometimes it takes days or weeks to work through an idea, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The important thing is to not get frustrated. Think time is writing time; it just doesn’t seem like it because there’s no typing.

Keep writing, but take time to think!

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