If a plotline doesn’t magically develop whilst I’m creating the main character, then I don’t panic. I have a creative strategy. First, I stare at the sky for a really long time, in case a plotline drops down into my lap . Then I look longingly at the dog , in the hope she’s going to bark one into existence. Still nothing? Not to worry, I look back at my (blank) screen in the hope my laptop has cooperatively taken matters into its own hands. Nope? No story has been conceived via artificial intelligence? Then like all good writers, I simply give up for a while!
If you leave things with the universe , you generally get back just what you need by not focusing on it. If the universe doesn’t comply that quickly (writers have deadlines to meet too!), then it’s time to replace the creative inspiration approach with the more scientific, procedural one.
The general rule of Good Story Land is that a protagonist is faced with a challenge of some description. In overcoming the challenge, the character becomes a better version of themselves.
My particular stories revolve around a real world issue. So, once I have the main character, and the challenge to be faced, I research the animal species a lot more. Often, I discover other facts relating to its natural traits, habitat or lifestyle which assist in finding a creative way to resolve the problem concerned.
Using my research, I start to imagine I AM the main character (no hint of a lie!) I try to see the world through their eyes and experiment with fun ways in which they could resolve the issue. I’m always keen to incorporate an element of simplicity. So no idea is too absurd , but some feel a bit forced or unnatural. They get ruled out. It’s quite difficult to describe to someone how I know when I think I’ve got the right solution. But I do. Generally, I rely a lot on my heart, my gut feeling and instinct. And they work more effectively with each story I write. There’s no other way. As with all skills, practice is everything.
Once the problem resolution element has been decided upon, I set about creating a start, middle and end to the story (another general rule in Good Story Land !)…