How do I come up with story ideas?
Like many writers, my imagination works overtime and, the longer I write the more ideas pop into my head, so I’m never at a loss for ideas.
But not all ideas will work for me. I’ve learned over the years that I’m pretty good at writing some kinds of stories and I suck at others. So the first thing I do when considering what to write next is to eliminate the ideas that won’t work and narrow down the ones that will to the best ones for me.
Then I create a synopsis. That’s my version of an outline, with each paragraph telling what will happen in one chapter. Then I count the number of chapters and either delete some because the book would be too long or add more because it’s not long enough. It’s easy enough to do because any journey from start to finish can be either quick or protracted.
Then, before I write a chapter, I think it through so as to get a clear idea of what’s happening. To see the story as if I was there.
Then, and only then, do I start writing, with each sentence in the paragraph becoming a scene.
I always have the ending firmly in my mind because the entire story leads up to the ending and if I don’t know where I’m going, neither will my characters and they probably won’t get there.
What kind of stories swirl around in your imagination?