2. Getting From Idea to Story

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| Tools You Need | Plagiarism—Don't! | Brainstorm ||

I Have My Idea. Now What?
An idea, by itself, is not a story. The greatest idea in the world will lie there like a dead skunk in the middle of the road if you don't bring it to life. So how do you do that?


Your idea will have consequences, and you must think hard about what those consequences will be. One thing leads to another:

  • If the world is flat and two-dimensional, what does that mean to its inhabitants?
  • If a certain magic exerts a corrupting influence on those who use it, how does that affect those who use it—and those who don't?
  • If an asteroid threatens the Earth, how will people respond—not just people in general, but the specific individuals you have chosen to tell your story about?

Believable Characters

Your idea comes to life in the form of believable characters, with personality and needs and frustrations, whom the reader cares about. It comes to life when your characters experience problems and conflict, just as people do in real life. You get your characters into trouble as a result of your idea, and then see if you can get them out. All of this results in a plot, which may go through many (or just a few) twists and turns before eventually reaching a climax (or resolution).


Something else a story needs is a beginning, a middle, and an end. You'd be surprised how often people forget this!

The specifics of how to do all these things are really what the rest of this course is about.


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May not be reproduced without permission of the author.
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