2. Getting From Idea to Story

Page 2 of 8 | Where Do You Get Ideas? | Many Shapes | Collect and Remember | Now What? | Writing Is a Process |
| Tools You Need | Plagiarism—Don't! | Brainstorm |

Many Shapes and Sizes
An idea doesn't necessarily have to be a profound insight. It can be a character who pops into your head. A setting. A scientific notion. An unscientific notion. An observation or guess about where the world may be heading. A "what if?" scenario. I once wrote a very long novel, The Infinity Link, that started with a single image in my mind: a young woman desperately in love with a man whom she knew only through a cyber mind-link connection. At the time, I thought it was going to be a short story, not a novel. I didn't even know the most important thing yet, which was that the man wasn't real. I discovered those things later. Along with the aliens.
Often story ideas come from literary influences: an author reads something — a play by Shakespeare, a passage in the Bible, a Superman comic — that triggers the thought, "Hey, that gives me an idea for a different story!"

Other ideas come from nonfiction. Pursue your interests! If you like science, try reading popular magazines like Discover, Science News, and Astronomy — both for story ideas and because they'll help develop your general understanding of science and keep you abreast of the latest research.

Some stories are old stories retold. The story of Beauty and the Beast, for instance, has been told in countless variations, ranging from Robin McKinley's Beauty to Disney's animated movie.


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