I saw a writer friend do a post about how she takes an idea and develops it into a story. I liked the idea so much I thought I’d do something similar.
My ideas come from dreams or they pop into my head while going about my day. Some of them are forgotten as quickly as they’re conjured but some stick around. Those few that stick around are normally a scene, or a concept, or a character with a unique challenge.
- Stealing the Wolf Prince was dream inspired. The dream was key scene where Kiera meets Lachlan in his wolf form and awakens his human side.
- Deceiving the Bandit Lord came about from a character with a unique challenge. Brogan needs to turn over a new leaf and Aisling needs him to fall back into old habits.
Who? What? Why? Just like in journalism, these questions are important for developing fiction. Who are these characters and what makes them unique? Why should I care about them and keep writing their story?
- Kiera is a bookworm and dependent on her male cousin due to society’s hierarchy. She longs to be independent and educate others.
- Lachlan is a wayward prince trapped inside his wolf form and trapped inside a dungeon. He wishes to reclaim his throne and his long lost sweetheart.
- Brogan is a known gambler and grifter but always watched out for his friends. Now he wants to leave that life behind and start anew.
- Aisling is hiding a secret and faces an arranged marriage. Tired of living a lie she can choose life in the Wylderlands or marriage to a man she does not love.
How can I make things worse of my characters? I seriously ask myself this question and it’s so worth it. You really need to push your characters to the brink to find out what they can tolerate.
- Kiera can’t remember her childhood.
- Lachlan has murderous brothers.
- Brogan has a gambling addiction.
- Aisling lies about everything.
Throw in a villain. The villain doesn’t have to be a person, it can be an idea, a group of people, or some other physical or imaginary wall. It needs to be someone or something that keeps the main character(s) from their happily ever after.
- Ian and Ayden: Lachlan’s younger brothers and terrors of Cearbhall. Their selfish behaviors have run the kingdom into the ground and broken many old alliances.
- Declan: Aisling’s betrothed and a man with his sights on the crown. He’s singular in his pursuits and lets nothing stand in his way.
This is the barebones beginnings too. Since I’m part planner, part pantser I can start writing my novel or if I need to wait I can leave my notes for later. I sometimes work on character sheets with backgrounds, family trees, favorite things, etc. More details about the character’s lives opens up more possibilities for the story. No one wants to read about flat boring characters so throwing in some odd ball things makes for more fun as the writer and more fun for the reader.