Did you find in the last topic that your list of things happening in your story were hard to get down on paper?
Are you disappointed with what you have? Could you use some inspiration?
Listen to how folks talk. Read articles, look for lists in magazines. Think of art and songs: do they tell a story you can use? What about bumper-sticker sayings? What about people watching?
I think, personally, that I write about people. But folks who read my stuff find all kinds of things in there I never put in. So maybe I’ve written Themes while trying to write about people.
What do you want to write about in your story? After you’ve answered that question (or at least tried to) ask yourself further What if? questions, too.
And don't forget:
Novel vs. Short Story— the number of words you end up writing:
- 6 to 3,000 approx words – a short Story – Short stories are often about a choice that will be or has been made.
- 3,001 to 60,000 approx words – a Novel– Novels give us a change that happens over a length of time.
Longer novels and short stories happen, but these are lengths that are sold the most for non-genre works. Depending on the genre you write in, these are good starting lengths that most editors or agents are willing to publish for first time writers.
Based on the outcome of the last topic, can you see yourself changing your idea about what you want to write about?
If the answer is Maybe or even Yes: keep what you have on your list. Work to revise it using the editing by addition method. Add new things that can happen.
If you like or even love your list the way it is now, then you can then move onto the Why of those events next. You have a list with events one after another, and then after and then happening, now let’s see about Why all of that stuff is going on.
- Example Toggle
Why? - the one question to keep asking yourself when you have a list of actions you want to turn into a scene or story.
Why does the character refuse to get out of bed?
Why is there someone at his door?
Why = Plot. These are things that will happen and the reasons they occur.
Plot includes Motivation. This is the personal reason folks on your pages do things.
She smiled at him. He looked a bit like her own grandpa.
He waited under the covers, it was so hard to face the days now that his Maggie was gone.
Motivation is not simply movement: ‘She smiled at him’. ‘He waited’. Take your list. And the Plot to your string of actions – Ask, “What if…?” Make a plan. Write.