Read the papers and books, watch the news, listen to the radio, all the while making notes of any interesting ideas.
Can dull and boring ideas be made interesting? What if you raise the stakes, add twists, change locations? By reframing the facts, you will find the stories to want to write.
More than any other quality, contrast defines characters. By contrasting two characters, the strongest character dynamics are achieved. Almost any relational story that comes to mind, whether a romance, a partnership, or a friendship, probably contains contrasting characters.
Keep the association between characters tight. Ensure they need each other for things to work. Change the emotions of one of the characters. What piece of information (truth or secret) could cause problems?
We, the readers, have total control over your story. We control when we start to read and when we stop. You cannot force us to do anything. This is our choice.
We want to read stories filled with a sense of continuity and life. We are looking to step into the characters’ skins and to be immersed in new worlds.
Problems grab our attention. The more difficult the problem, the greater the hold the story has over us. The job is to show us how it is done. Hook us, play with us and don’t reel us in till the end.
I write lists in the back of my notebook. Or sometimes on scraps of paper. These ‘sentence starters’ becoming the perfect jumping off point into your writing.
This first sentence starter is called ‘The Time’. The point is to list as many standout moments as possible.
For instance, it could start:
- The time our son was born.
- The time I went to Italy.
- The time I first met my wife.
- The time our neighbour flooded our apartment.
Later on, reading through these lists becomes the perfect place to start writing. What you are looking for is to remember as much detail as possible. Detail is the gold dust of writing that gives your work life.
So begin now, start listing the most interesting moments in your life. Try to write twenty lines. Often the most difficult lines to write are the most interesting ideas to develop.
Anger tells us we don’t like where we have been. It shows us where our boundaries are. It tells us we can no longer get away with the old life and habits. It tells us we are being reborn.
There is always a consequence to anger. It should never be acted out – but acted upon. It is a conscious reaction to being frustrated. It is your story map.
Sometimes it is just easier to start at the end than it is to start at the beginning. Make a list of all the big moments in your stories and ask yourself ‘How did I get here?’
Then ask ‘What happened just before this?’ and then again, ‘Before this?’ and then again ‘Before this?’ and soon you will find yourself back at the beginning, but with no detours or diversions. This is a good way of staying on track without getting distracted.