The “Story Idea” Writing Tag

I saw this tag done in a video by Kim Chance, and I thought it looked really fun!

CURRENT STORY: What are you working on right now?

You might already know the answer to this question. 😉 My current work in progress has a tantalizing introduction here, and you can read the first chapter here.

SPARK OF INSPIRATION: Do your story ideas begin with characters, plot, world building, or something else?

I begin with the plot. It’s very important to me that a story is engaging, exciting, and logical so the plot has to come first. But, that is not to say characters and world building are any less important. In actuality, a great story is an equally dependent on all of those things, but my inspiration always begins with some cool or exciting plot point.

BRAINSTORM: How do you puzzle piece you different story elements together? Do you start with the ending and make your way to the beginning, or vice versa?

Usually my ideas begin as some sort of plot arc, most often with a focus on the climax of the story and how it will end. Questions about how that comes about then leads me back to the beginning. Then, I start writing and have to figure out all the in-betweens. Those in-betweens change over the course of the writing process, and the beginning may change as well, but I don’t think I have ever changed my idea of the ending, for two reasons. One, the ending is just so important. I have to know why any of this is happening before I can get engaged in the happening. Two, my idea of the ending is always pretty vague. I know the emotion, the fundamental impact, but maybe not all the important details that lead up to that ending. I would love to get into specifics about this in my WIP, but that would be seriously major spoilers. 😉

KEEP OR TOSS: How do you know whether or not you want to keep or dump a story idea?

A story idea has to be really good for me to get into it. (Maybe you could already pick up on this, but I am a VERY picky person when it comes to literature. Ok, maybe when it comes to just about anything.) So, most often I decide what to keep and what to get rid of by how interested I am in the idea. Also, it depends on how developed the idea is. I have several different story ideas which are just a paragraph in a notebook, or a page or two in a word document, because I was passionate about the idea when I had it, but am now letting it sit for a while. Sometimes I come back to them and think, “Yes, this will be something someday”, other times I think, “Hmm, that’s actually kind of dumb.”

ORIGNIAL IDEA: How much of your original idea for your story is actually used once everything is finished?

Hmm, on a very fundamental level, my very original idea is usually pretty much intact by the end – only because my original idea was so general and vague. Other than that, though, pretty much anything is fair game on the cutting room floor. For my WIP, the original draft is so much different than what it is now – and that is a good thing!

HIDE OR SHARE: Do you are your book ideas with friends, or keep them a secret?

I share some of my ideas with my critique partner, but for the most part I don’t discuss my ideas until I’m actually making them into something.

DREAM: Have any of your book ideas originated with a dream or nightmare?

My WIP was not inspired by a dream, but several other ideas I have did. Actually, maybe most of the others have – let’s see, I’ve got ideas in the works for two adventure/thriller stories (I think they would work best as movies), a dystopian novel, a western, an adult contemporary/mystery, and a YA contemporary mystery/adventure. Four out of six of those started with a dream I had. The dreams themselves were not particularly logically consistent (my dreams never are) but they all contained some pivotal scene or moment that, once I wake up, a story begins to form around. I guess my mind just wants to keep making stories, even when I’m sleeping.

DOPPLEGANGER: Have you ever had an idea for a story, but then see a similar premise in a book, TV show, or movie?

Hmm, I honestly can’t think of anything that would fall into this category for me. Sometimes, though, I will see a trailer or a synopsis for something and think it’s going to be like something I’m considering, but then when I watch or read the thing it turns out to be very different from what I thought it was going to be.

BIG SCREEN INSPIRATION: Have any of your favorite movies or TV shows sparked ideas for scenes in your book?

Scenes themselves, no. I don’t want to base my work off of another work, that’s just setting myself up for making a copy (and the copies are never better than the original). However, I am inspired all the time by how other stories handle different themes, character arcs, plot devices, and the like. I mean, I was introduced to Tolkien through the Lord of the Rings movies. 😛 When I like something, I’m automatically compelled to figure out why I liked it – and then I can use that answer to make my own work better.

NOSTALGIA: What’s the first or oldest story you remember coming up with or writing down?

I’ve always been making up stories, so I honestly can’t be sure which was my first. When I was really little I liked to play with figurines and stuffed animals and make them go on grand adventures. I don’t remember a thing about those adventures, except for that they were really exciting. I can remember, though, in first grade I was playing with another student and we both made these little square characters out of plastic, interlocking blocks – they weren’t legos, they were really weird – anyways, I made this character and he had some sort of super powers and the other student and I started writing a story about our characters. I can remember this because I had to stop writing the story in order to take a test, and the other student and I finished the test pretty quickly, and then the teacher said, “I wish Lauren and [the other student] had spent as much time on this test as they did on their stories” or something like that, and I felt really bad because I wasn’t rushing the test but I just knew the answers. (Hey, I wrote you a story right there. 😛 ) I don’t have that story anymore, but I do have many others. Maybe I can share those later on.

Well, those are my answers! How you do come up with your story ideas? Do you have any neat answers to the questions above? Join the conversation below!


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