Monday, February 21, 2011

Ideas to get a story started

Her are a few tips that I was given that help writers to get their create brains moving.  I have used a few of these and they really work.

Tip 1. Watch your environment.  I mean by when you are at a restaurant or mall sit and observe others.  Observer their facial experessions, body movements, and conversations.  I know, it seems like spying but you are just looking for ways you can develop a character or come up with an idea from a conversation one may be having.  Just don't stare to where you look like a stalker.

Tip 2. Flip through the newspaper.  Look at stories.  There may be something in them that will spark an idea.  Also look at the crossword puzzle.  You may find a question or a word that gets you thinking.

Tip 3. Open a dictionary or thesaurus to a random page, take a few words and put them together.  Sometimes this will work.  I like to look at the definition or synonim.  It only takes a word to come up with an idea.

Tip 4. Use questions that people ask you.  Think about the question and turn it around.  Ask yourself how could that question be answered in a different way, how can you turn it around to something off the wall.

Tip 5. I like this one.  Think about all the books you have read and see how their are similarities.  If we are talking about a YA parnormal book, think about the creatures.  What if they were opposite of what they usually are.  Example, what if you had a wolf that changes to a human against its will and now when he/she is human they have to know how to cope.  Make an alternate world for demons that is appealing to humans and the goal is to get to that world.  Instead of girl liking guy, end up happily ever after, add a third person to the equation.  Maybe another girl and the issues that may bring for the guy.  Have a favorite character in your book die.  Maybe a witch doesn't want to be one and will go to all costs to reverse to become completely human.  Make an immortal want to be mortal, or visa versa.

Tip 6. Once youv'e come up with a character don't do anything.  I know this sounds weird, but try sitting back with some headphones on and listening to music.  Daydream about your character.  Sometimes a certain song will help you develop them or give you an idea about a chapter or scent you want them to be in.  For example, I used one time, Taylor Swifts song "fifteen" I basically could see my character doing what the song said.  She took a deep breath and walked through the doors of her new school.  You can actually use lyrics almost exactly to create a scene idea.

Tip 7.  Once you have an idea.  Write it down on a peice of paper or your computer.  Then write out the scene.  Anywere from 1500 words to 2500 words approximately.  I know that seems like a lot, but when you get on a roll you won't be able to stop.  Look at the scene you wrote and think about what do I want to happen next or what should have happen before this scene.

Tip 8. You do not have to start from the beginning and write to the end.  Like I said in tip 7, you may come up with something that will happen in the middle and have to work from there.  Or you can know how you want your book to end and write that scene, then go backwards from there.

Tip 9. If you have a couple of scenes in your head that you just can't forget about, write them.  From there branch out with each scene and try to connect the two to make a story.  Obviously you will have to re-write a few to make things flow, but this way can give you a good foundation for a complete story.

Tip 10. Know your character.  You may write two different scenes, like them both, but have your main character look and act a different way in both.  This is where you need to take the scenes that you have written and go with the ones that your character follows most in.  If he/she is meek in most of the scenes and hard and cold in maybe one scene, how do you like them better? If you like them better in the one scene and not in the ten that they are a different way, hate to say it, but trash the other scenes or turn them around to fit the way your character is.

Tip 11. Lastly, if you have two diffenet story ideas and cannot come up with either of them as a full story try combining them.  You may be able to take characters from one and put them in the other, or a situation and put it in as one story.  This seems weird if you are writing a drama romance and a paranormal book, but you would be surprised at how the two may come together and mesh.

Hope these have been helpful. Good luck with your writing.