Here are 25 thoughts on creating stories, in no particular order:
- A lot of things have beginnings, middles and ends — but that doesn’t make them stories.
- True stories have two parts: first something bad happens, second something bad is fixed (or a fix is at least attempted)
- Plot-driven and character-driven stories don’t really exist; all stories are conflict/tension driven.
- Suspense, tension, conflict — these things shouldn’t be limited to specific genres.
- Asking what happens next is probably the wrong question.
- Asking what is my character’s goal (or what does my character want) is probably a better question.
- Better yet: what can go wrong now?
- Ticking clocks give your story a deadline and a destination. Also, tension. Can’t ask for much more.
- Give your characters some story-level goals, i.e., decide what it is they want, have them go after it, and the plot will almost fill itself in.
- Storytelling is a timeless human instinct — trust and embrace your natural ability.
- Tell your stories like you’re talking to just one person — an audience of one is the right number.
- Start with the end, and you’ll stay on track.
- Most stories start too early.
- Many stories end too late.
- Stakes are essential. Usually the higher the better.
- In real life, we avoid conflict because it sucks. In your stories, you must embrace, chase it even.
- Things can always get worse — we’ll probably enjoy reading that more anyway.
- Not all stories have to have happy endings, neat little bows are for packages.
- A good story doesn’t preach or moralize — it connects and resonates.
- Good stories leave out the unimportant parts.
- You have more stories to tell than you realize. Trust. Yourself.
- Complex isn’t necessarily better. Some of the most powerful stories and pretty simple.
- Trying for theme will kill a story — theme comes last.
- Plot is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.
- And then? Keep asking until you figure it out.
This is reblogged from Justin Mclachlin’s blog.