The Story Corner » Discussions

How do you come up with your stories?

  • Member
    February 16, 2018

    It has always been my goal to write professionally, so waiting around for ideas to strike isn't the best way to come up with good writing content. Do I sometimes get story ideas I love? Definitely! And when those moments of inspiration strike, I make sure to write them down! However, I'm also in the habit of using brainstorming exercises, and sitting down with the intention of coming up with story ideas.


    Now are those story ideas any good? Debateable. Will they actually flesh themselves out into decently interesting short stories/novellas/novels? Not always. It's a valuable practice nevertheless! Rather than be at the beck and call of my inspiration or muse, it's more advantageous in the long run to figure out how to make my muse work for me. :)


    Sometimes I latch on to a character idea and try to flesh out the story surrounding them. Sometimes I get a setting I want to play with, or a scene, or even just a 'what if?' question that's keeping me up at night. From there, I build it up as best I can, chase after the idea until I have a good idea of where it's going. Or I save it for later. I've begun the habit of starting an 'idea book' to store my ideas in, for those days when I think "ugh I can't figure out what to write!" or I'm feeling like I have no decent ideas anymore.


    I'm unlikely to rework an old story, though. I'd prefer to invest my time and effort into a story idea that's new and generates more excitement to write than trying to rehash old ideas. But if it's an idea that just won't let me go, then sometimes I don't have a choice BUT to revisit it.


    Great discussion topic, Legion!

  • Member
    April 28, 2018

    I usually take something that’s already happened, whether it’s a fight or a relationship or just something as simple (or as complex) as someone’s chronological childhood, and then tweak it. Like, what if x happened instead of y. And then work forwards and backwards from that. What needs to happen in the past for x to happen? And then, what will be the far-reaching consequences of x happening? And there’s the story.


    Lately, I’ve been world-building for an original novel-length story, and I came up with characters first. Imagine these two people meeting and getting to know each other and starting a relationship. It’s a gothic/fantasy romance, so the characters and their motivations and backstories are the most important. And then the setting gets created around them. I’ve tried in the past to build the environment and history first, and it never works. I always get bogged down.


    So, like Fawn, I’m latching onto the characters, because when I read a book, that’s the most important thing. If I don’t care about the characters first, I won’t make it through the first chapter, no matter how broad and illustrious the world is. And for my original? Because I’ve gotten to know the characters first, many of the ideas I had for the plot and the world just got thrown out the window because it’s something the characters just won’t do anymore.


    This also happened with my current story set in Markarth. I’m adding several more chapters and deleting one I’d already planned out, because it’s just something the characters won’t do, not anymore.


    So for me, a vague question, and the characters whose story I’d like to tell. And then the story sort of falls in place around them.

  • October 16, 2020

    I have always loved Chinese culture and religion every since I learned about ancient China and the dynasties (Han, Song, Xia, etc.)  in history class in school. I view China as underappreciated compared to Japan and all the other asian countries I guess you could say I root for the underdog, lol. Anyway, I have a rather unorthodox brainstorming process when it comes to my story: Music and no outline. Yes, you heard me right, I come up with my ideas on the fly where the only help to form them into coherence is when I listen to music that fit with my story's theme. As my story is about Akavir (imperial china), werewolves and the desire to be one with nature, I listen to that kind of music. When I do that, I feel the words just flow better onto the page than they would without the fitting music.

    Inspiration does not strike randomly for me. A centerpiece for my entire life is the taoist symbol of the yin yang. I adore that symbol and the idea that you can't have one without the other. For example you cannot have positive without negative emotions boiling just below the surface and the opposite is true. In negative emotions, positive emotions are there just out of reach. that symbol is also the centerpiece that I mold the clay that is my story around. My main character has to constant balance his emotions so his soul will be one and not split into two seperate halves. However, he knows that you cannot have one without the other.

    When new ideas strike me for older chapters, I go back and add them in or even add ideas I have for the chapter that I am working on at the time. I guess I do rework my chapter and rearrange ideas already on my blog so that the words can better flow with some coherency. I base my entire story on my love of China and alson Chinese sayings and martial arts. Like I said, I have no outline to draw from as the idea float without any consistency in my brain without music, but once I listen to music or an audiobook, even if that audiobook is not consistent to what I am writing at the time. That helps me form my thoughts into word as I have said before.

    I guess I form my chapter title and plot before anything else. After that is done, I fill the rest with character interactions and actions that the character do to further the plot of my story. I try to form the characters actions around the central idea of them wanting to try and help my main character control his emotions. I guess you can say I like working myself into my stories. It makes it far more investing for me and I hope the reader feels the same way. I form my weakness into my characters' weakness and my strengths into their strengths. I even leave myself messages in my story to not only help them with their problems but also to help me with my own.