Great Idea! Now What?

Writers get ideas, and lots of them! Inspiration for a story can come from anywhere—other stories, pictures, places, or even dreams. But how does a writer turn an idea into a good story?

First, consider these types of ideas a writer can have.

1) Characters. Sometimes, you might think of a character, and love that character so much that you want to write a story based on him or her. Be it a villain, main character, or set of characters, a story must be written to fit them in. A good story needs good characters, so starting with them is one great way to begin planning.

2) Location. You might envision a place, fictional or real. And you might think how perfect it would be to have the setting of a story be in that location. Great settings come from the places you’re familiar with. If you live near a forest, a fictional world with a large forest could easily be described. If you’ve—for example—never been to a beach, then don’t write a story about a beach because how could you then describe it? If you want to write a story in a place you’ve never visited, be sure to do your research!

3) Plot. “I want to write a futuristic novel where an alien species plans on destroying earth, and a team of scientists is trying to fight back!” That’s an example of a plot idea. You know the very basic plot line, and you want to expand upon it.  It could be a mind boggling concept, a tragic premise, or a fantasy-adventure, the possibilities are endless!

4) Symbolic or Allegorical Concept. If you are familiar with C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, there are two things to consider. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis illustrates what Christ did for us on the Cross by using an allegory. Meanwhile, Aslan is symbolic. He represents a God-Figure—he is a symbol of the God C.S. Lewis and I believe in. Similarly, you might find yourself coming up with an idea of a story with symbolic or allegorical qualities, both of which can make a powerful story.

Once you get a story idea that you like, stick with it! Expand upon it, give it life, let your imagination go free! You never know what adventure awaits. An idea leads to a solid plan, and a solid plan leads to a drafted book, and with perseverance a drafted book leads to a finished product you can be proud of.

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