Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Story Ideas Are Like Seeds

You can start a story with a nugget of an idea. Story ideas are like seeds; nurture them and they will grow. Just like humans, plants have a few basic necessities for life - air and water being the two most basic. When you plant a seed, it needs soil, water, sunlight, and air in order to thrive and grow. Stories are no different. 

Stories need four basic ingredients to grow from an idea into a story. You don’t need to have a green thumb to make a seed (or your story ideas) grow, you just need to know that you are good enough to be a writer. And to be patient in the process. Stories (and plants) take time.

Character is the Soil

It’s not that hard to start building a story - even if you only have a snippet of an idea.  Your idea needs a place to live. First, think about who your story might be about and create a character. What kind of strengths and weaknesses might your character have? Once you know who will be in your story interacting with each other, it’s time to give them some water and make them do something.


Plot is the Water

When you water a seed planted in soil, it gets excited. Plot is what your characters will do during the story. Plot is basically what happens during your story. What kinds of things will your characters need to do to reach their goal? Once you have some characters and a simple plot, you can flesh it out later.

Conflict is the Sunlight

Next up is a little sunlight. Or in the case of a conflict analogy, probably some shade too. Conflict is the thing that stands in the way of your character reaching their goal. Conflict is what helps make your story more interesting. Ever heard the phrase, “Put your character up in a tree and throw rocks at him”? Conflict makes it hard on your character, which is what makes it interesting and the reader has someone to root for. If it’s too easy, then the story is boring.

As far as fleshing out your seedling of an idea, a good brainstorming session or a little help from a fellow writer might be all you need to get the ball rolling with more ideas before you start to feel like you actually have a great story idea. Just remember to make life hard for your character. Even a tiny seedling has to work to push through the soil and burst into the sunlight. (So maybe the soil should be the conflict?)

Theme is the Air

Lastly, you need a theme if you want your story to matter. Usually, the theme emerges as you write multiple drafts. You can technically start a story without a theme because, like I said, it often emerges later. The theme is basically what an editor is thinking about when they ask, “What’s the point of the story?” 

You already know how to write a story. I just wanted to remind you that the idea doesn’t have to be fleshed out in stone to pursue it. In fact, ALL stories start with a seedling of an idea. As you slowly add a little character, a little plot, a little conflict, and a little theme, your story will begin to take shape and pretty soon, you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

QUESTION: How many ideas do you get in a day, a week, a month? Share your comment here.

Keep on keepin' on... 

1 comment:

  1. I finally understand how plot 😁 works with this analogy. Super Pumped 😉 and excited to finally put it into action 🙌🏽😌🙌🏽. I've been trying to understand Plot for a very long time. I grew up working in the garden 🏡 with my mom and great great grandfather so it just makes sense now how you've explained it. I'm definitely going to write ✍🏾 this down in my notes.


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