How to turn ideas into a story #amwriting #writing

As the saying goes, stories don’t just write themselves, which means that you, the writer, need to put some effort into the process if you want those wonderful ideas to become a book.

How do you turn ideas into a story?

And where do you start?

Firstly, you need to start is by writing. Some people talk about world building, or scene setting. Some people talk about characters. Some people start with a plan.

I say, ditch all of the above and just jump straight into writing.

Why?

Because until you jump in you don’t really know where your idea is going to take you. Whether it is a single scene or an epic ending, it doesn’t matter just write it down.

Some people get very fixated on where to start, as if you cannot begin unless you have a firm container in which to place the story.

Writing doesn’t need a container. It just needs a writer and an idea.

When a writer begins writing, something magic happens. They start thinking about what happens before the seed idea, and what happens after…and what happens much later…and what happens much earlier. And before you know it, a rough timeline of events is established.

None of this happens until you begin to write so don’t feel you need a plan, or a character profile, or a fully fleshed out world before you can begin. You will need all of these things, but not right now. Now is for fun, and for playing and testing your idea.

Some of these new ideas will become backstory that may be discarded later on.

Some of the ideas may not fit in with the overall story as you fill in the gaps, and you may discard them too.

Once you have enough ideas, or scenes, you can plan, and flesh out character profiles, and worlds, or locations if need be…but not until you have enough ideas to at least hint at a story.

Ideas do not always become a full story, so don’t feel bad if you try and then find it goes nowhere.

Keep thinking, keep generating and testing ideas. The more you practice writing and using your ideas, the more ideas will come. Eventually one of them will become a story, a real story, a full story.

And that’s when the real writing begins 🙂

How to generate new story ideas #amwriting

If you need some fresh writerly inspiration, here is a list of things you can do to help generate new story ideas and rework old ones.

Reading
Reading

It’s the most obvious one, and it’s still the best. Reading can provide a bounty of ideas to use in your own work (..but maybe not plagiarise!)

It’s a great way to pick up style tips too!

Walking
Walking

Walking releases your mind to wonder off in the same way that your body does.

It doesn’t matter whether the route is new or familiar, either will help to set your mind free to explore new concepts in an unstructured way.

Loading up with a few key ideas just before you leave can inspire more detailed outlines for anything from a scene to a book.

Tip: Always take your smart phone / pad with you so you can jot any notes down as you go.

Watch a movie or TV
Watch a movie or TV

This may sound like the worst thing a writer can do, but shows and movies can really generate a plethora of lovely new ideas.

Chimp in headphones
Music

Music can inspire us in so many different ways.

A strong beat can really kick-off an action scene.

A new track can generate an entire story skeleton.

And of course, music can greatly influence the mood of our writing if we listen to it while we write.

Articles and news
Articles and news

Newspapers and articles can spark little gems that often turn into a juicy story concept.

They can also help us to research a specific scene.

people
People

People are the ultimate story inspiration.

I’m not suggesting you take you’re best friend’s relationship disaster and use it for book fodder!

But people are inspiring, and it can often happen in subtle or subconscious ways.

Do something new
Be adventurous and do something new

Taking a holiday somewhere new, joining a club, and generally embracing new experiences are all awesome for discovering new perspectives.

Our minds and our thoughts are only as good as the information we put into them, and opening ourselves to new experiences is a great way to generate surprising and intriguing ideas.