Sitting with my writing buddy the other night, we were discussing ideas. And since I posted last week about finding ideas on the net I thought I would spend a little time talking about how to make those ideas into stories.

A road through the woods is blocked by a tree.

The Road Less Traveled, is Often the Most Interesting

First brainstorm what you’ve got. Let’s say you’re working on a Fantasy script about a boy that finds a magical sword and uses it to save his town…but that really isn’t a story.

Ok, we just need to answer some questions:
1. How is the sword magical?
2. Why does the boy find it?
3. How is the boy able to save his town?

Now the easy answers are things like
1. The sword makes the boy a master swordsman.
2. The boy was prophesied to find it.
3. The boy fights off a faceless black knight.

BUT the reason those answers are easy is because they are known, they are expected. We’ve all read this story! It’s boring now, because we know what’s going to happen. But what if you threw out the first couple of answers and kept going until you found something that sounded interesting but unusual. You don’t have to know how to solve this in the context of the story, just pick something and it will shake out. Trust me. Ok, so let’s go back to question number one.

1. The sword makes the boy a master swordsman.
2. The sword makes the boy a man.
3. The sword controls the tides.
4. The sword can heal.

Ok, that’s interesting. The sword can heal. Well, I’m not sure how it would work in a Fantasy story, but it IS interesting. Now do this with the rest of the questions…try to string them together with the first. The only rule is don’t EVER use the first answer. Never!
Ok, now go for it. And let me know how it works for you. Now I’m off to write about a boy with a sword that heals!

About the author

NRBrown N.R. Brown is a part-time author, full-time book junkie. She particularly loves horror and dark fantasy. She is the co-host of Unleaded - Fuel for Writers and a member of the Hellebore Writing Group and the Cat Vacuuming Society of Northern Virginia writers group, as well as of the Chessie Chapter of Sisters in Crime.