001: What’s your idea?

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In this new series I’m going to explain (like you’re 5 yrs old) how to write a story.

It’s going to be the simplest way to start a work of long form fiction (no poems or short stories here) and know that it’ll work in the hands (and minds) of readers.

Where do you start if you don’t know where to start?

Let’s start with Character (and an exciting story). Who ‘could’ be a cool character to write about? Make a short (or long) list of weird and wonderful people who you think would be cool to meet and hang out with.

Why a list? Because the first thing on the list will be kinda normal. We don’t want normal in a story. We want odd, weird, mad, dangerous. The last thing on the list will probably be one of your best ideas. I’ll prove it. Here’s my dump of characters:

  1. A quite man with a gun
  2. A dog walker who can talk to animals
  3. A pilot who can see the future
  4. A ex-convict who decides to hunt down the people who put them in prison
  5. A florist who hates her customers and wants to kill them all with flowers.
  6. A grave digger who speaks to the dead
  7. A climber who wants to climb the most dangerous buildings in the world.
  8. A mother who discovers her genes are mutating into a alien creature.

That’ll do! See what I mean? My first idea was my most normal. My last idea was the most weird. Now I have a list of ideas, all I need to do now is select one and start thinking about it.

Good luck with your list and next time we’ll start fleshing it out.

Mark

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