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Building A Story

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Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:02 pm
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Master_Yoda says...

Building a story from scratch is quite a difficult task. In fact, many a time most of us writers find ourselves wondering what to write about. Few of us know how to find something that we want to write about, make it interesting, and the hardest part, packaging it together into a full story. In this article, I'd like to try to point out a couple ways of actually building a story with know ideas whatsoever, as well as describing how to take an existing idea, and building a story about it.

This article will not deal with: Grammar, Character building, Word building, or World building. You will also find no mention of concord, smooth writing techniques, or dialogue usage. I intend to solely concentrate this essay on the issue of building a story about an idea, or even a lack of an idea.

The essay will help you if:
:arrow: You don't have any idea what you want to write about.
:arrow: You have certain plot elements, but struggle to fit them into a story.
:arrow: You know what to write about and have a good idea of how you want to execute your plot, but you struggle to put the pieces together.

Let's start at the beginning. When writing anything, prose or poetry, the first thing that you want to do is to find an idea. You want to find something to write about. Now, I'm about to make a pretty rash statement, so don't eat me up. You can truly write something good about anything.

One of the most inspiring lessons in my life occurred once when I was much younger, and challenged my father to speak for five minutes on the topic of "a speck of dust". I was remarkably impressed when he actually succeeded in doing this. This taught me one thing. One can never have nothing to say. One can never have no story to tell.

Now comes the first problem: How do you work out what to say? The first thing that you want to do to answer this question is to find something that interests you. You want to find something you're passionate about. You want to find something that is out of the ordinary. Be it an anomaly such as the sun failing to set at dusk, or even something as basic as an intriguing character, you can build a story out of it.

So, you know what you want to write about. But how can I make the story of the sun failing to set at dusk an interesting one? I should be able to tell the story in a heartbeat. If all that telling a story entailed was an idea, then why can't I just say, "Once upon a time, the sun failed to set. And they all lived happily ever after," and end it there?

The answer is that this is not your story. This is your idea. So, how do you make your idea into a story? The first thing that you should do is ask the question:
:arrow: Why?
That is, why didn't the sun set? Why did the sun's setting affect the world? Why is your character intriguing? What makes him intriguing to the reader and/or other characters in the book? And the most important question:
:arrow: Why would this matter to the reader?

So, I've asked the "Why" question. I have the answer. The sun won't set because it has decided that it is tired of routine. It has grown into it's adolescent years and wants to rebel. This affects us on earth because the earth begins to get pretty hot. Nobody realizes that darkness has set in. There is chaos on earth, or any other impact that you might imagine the sun might have on earth.

The next question is a little more specific:
:arrow: "What happens?"
That is what are the events that take place in the story? What goes wrong? What else goes wrong? What is going to fix, or attempt to fix up the situation? By now you should have a pretty good idea of where your story is going. What is the climax of the story? Do we decide to shoot the sun out of the sky? Do we succeed? Do we all die?

Finally, the last step in story construction is to end your story. How does your story end. What will make us readers feel happy or disturbed with the events of your story?

Following those steps, I am sure that you will be able to come up with an interesting story. Even the most mundane of matters can be made interesting. :)

So, what are you waiting for? Get writing on that story idea that's just about to pop up into your head. :)

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-- Robert Frost

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Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:56 pm
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Rosendorn says...

The "Why" question! I use that so much. Nice article. I'll most likely be linking YWSers here. ^_^
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo

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Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:45 pm
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Tifa13 says...

That was an excellent article. Lol, I had a brainfart of geniusness...but... not for the story that I'm writing. Lol but when I finish my story about Miko and Kyrin, I'll do A Devil's Promise- Remix. Meep. Yes.... Yesh...... Mwahahahahaaaaa!! ...... XD
"Your imagination is your only limitation." -Tifa
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Mon Sep 21, 2009 12:12 am
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Khe Sahn says...

Thanks that was real helpful :D . I'll use this again, no doubt. Thanks again.
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Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:04 pm
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moon jumper says...

This really helps. I create many plots, but never follow through with them since I don't know how to piece them together. Great work! Thanks!
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Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:52 am
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cruelladevil says...

Nice one. Its very helpful. Thanks.

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Fri Jan 29, 2010 10:25 pm
wonderingkate says...

Ah, purely brilliant! Thank you so much for this article.
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