Sunday, August 23, 2015

Getting Started on Your Story with a bit of Structure

I've been asked how I go about with planning my story a lot of it is having lists.  In my last blog, I went over where I got my inspiration for my story.  Here is what I do from there:

Honestly, it's not that dissimilar to this diagram above or at least the organization of making a list.

One thing I will always suggest you to do is to make sure you have a notepad or something as well as a pen always within your reach.  Keep it in your purse/merse, backpack, desk, car, any where you are prone to having random ideas pop up while you're busy.  You'll thank me because there are many moments when I get an idea and I"m either very grateful that I have some paper on me to make note of it or I'm VERY sad for not following my own advise.

So, you have an idea!  Great!  Let's expand upon it!

I usually brainstorm on my idea to get a general idea of where I want my story to go.  I create a list with bullet points and everything and I like to call this process, "diarrhea of ideas".  Gross...yeah but it'll make sense.

Pretty much you write EVERYTHING that comes to mind in a list.  i.e.

Story Idea
  1. Main character is a boy/girl
  2. they go to the store and buy groceries
  3. walking through hot items session of the store, the spaghetti bubbles
  4. inspects closer and see the noodles waggle and trying to communicate
  5. shocked and curious, they buy the spaghetti and takes it home
  6. spaghetti comes home and is left in the hot sun where it proceeds to melt and spread all over counter
  7. takes over counter -- > then home  -- > then houses on block
  8. main character feel responsible and looks for solution
  9. walking by a shop, there is a sign for food eating contest
  10. after contest, main character talks to contestants and convinces them that that was only the first round of the contest.  Next round is in a suburban neighborhood.  They'll know when they see it
  11. then stops by a homeless shelter and does the same thing
  12. Rallies all the eaters and they go to town on Spaghetti Monster
  13. They chow down and the city is saved and well fed
  14. Ending: All is right in the world again except for a stray meatball! (* Sequal idea )
You get the picture!

There's just your basic outline.  Wrote this one in less than 10 minutes and some will take me a few days to finish but it gets easier with practice.  They all don't have to be that short as well.  I have some that are 3-5 pages long do what ever you need to do to complete you idea and thoughts.

One thing I usually like to do when I make these outline is write until I have an ending.  I'm aware of how hard it is but it really helps if you can finish up your main ideas because it gives you a goal to work towards.  

I know, I know, the ending may change and that's fine.  I usually make a note at the bottom and label it ALT Ending: and note my idea.  By the time you are halfway done with your story, you should know which way you are leaning for your ending. 

Yes, you'll make changes but you also don't want to delete your old ideas, so I recommend making an alternate list of what you would like to do with your alternate ideas so you can pick and chose what works for you as your write.

I typically finish up an outline in an hour or less depending on how in depth I want to go the outline list.

Give it a try and let me know if it work for you or let me know what methods you do.

I'll write more about my process in the next blog but hopefully this helps to direct you on how to get started.

Good Luck!