Any writer will tell you that ideas for stories come from everywhere. That spark that turns into a novel might have come from an eccentric neighbor or a group of kids playing at the park or an abandoned building that appears to have popped up out of nowhere. Our minds twist and blend a brief thought into an intriguing character with a problem she must overcome. We put her in danger, push her down and test her inner strengths as we help that character find her way. But how do we kick start the writing process? I tend to ask myself the four W’s:
For me, the who is usually the easiest question to answer. My ideas often start with an image of a character that I want to get to know. No. That I have to get to know because I just can’t get her out of my head.
To discover the rest, I start asking myself a lot of questions. What is this person doing? Where is she? Why is she there in the first place? Each question has multiple answers. The process starts in my head and percolates there for awhile until I narrow my thoughts down a bit. Then I pull out a few sheets of notebook paper and start jotting everything down. My notes end up looking a lot like the picture below only imagine that I’ve already crumbled up a few pieces of paper that have been thrown toward the garbage can. At least half have missed their target. (My family loves this stage of the process.) What can I say? I’m too busy jotting down ideas to aim.
I love the feeling I get when I have a new character to write about. While I don’t outline before I start writing, the scene that has developed in my head becomes the foundation for my story. My characters become three dimensional. They learn and grow right along with the story.How do you kick start your ideas?