Hello friends! I’m so glad you’re back!
First, I want to thank all of you for taking the Who Am I? Author Edition Quiz I sent out last week! I was so thrilled to see how many of you responded! AND THE FEEDBACK WAS WONDERFUL. It was so encouraging and helped me narrow down how to serve you guys better.
And this article is the fruit of that. I got several responses requesting an encapsulated view of my storytelling process.
And so… drumroll…
I’m finally going to give you a little glimpse into my Work in Progress that I’ve been secretly referencing throughout the last YEAR.
So, settle in my author friend for how I’ve brainstormed, written, and edited my WIP and the lessons, tips, and tricks I’ve learned along the way. This is actually very meaningful for me to write to you so hopefully you’ll glean what wisdom you can and not make the same mistakes:)
(This series will be multiple articles so be on the lookout for Part 2!)
Let’s Start at the Very Beginning
When thinking about what to title this part I immediately thought of Sound of Music. You’re welcome, my friends. However, then I thought good stories don’t actually start at the very beginning. Just like in storytelling, the beginning doesn’t start with page one. A good story has a world that’s always existed and has been brewing many ‘pages’ before number one. This is so with ideas.
I’ve done several articles on how to find your next story idea which you can find here and here. SOOOO you can just go read those:) Also, telling people how I found my story idea is extremely hard to explain. You can do lots of brainstorming to help spark ideas but in some cases, it’s really a culmination of things happening before, little voices in your head, until finally, you hit a light bulb moment, and BANG.
Let me explain.
In the year 2021, Eden Detwiler was looking for a story idea. And not just any old idea. Something brilliant, something original, something fabulous. Honestly, something… Eden.
You see, I had been trying this other idea for a while, not writing just yet, but simply brainstorming. And also, the year before that I had written my first completed novel which was a whopping 110,000 words. That one hopefully shall NEVER see the light of day because it was really a coping mechanism through the stress of moving states and also a combination of every book I had ever read. (It is never a bad thing to use tropes from books universally. In fact, you have to, for there is NOTHING new under the sun.) However, this book was too close to some of my favorite books. Honestly, though, I think every writer should write at least one book without any outline, plan, or anything that could hold them back. I knew that at that time, I just needed to finish something.
So I did.
But now I was ready.
Ready for MY idea. Ready for something I was addicted to and hopefully could share with others one day. One that really came from my soul and could be a worthwhile project for however long it took to accomplish.
I was looking for the one. *I know, that merits some serious eye rolls but hehe, what can I say, I LOVE my books*
So, how did my idea even come?
Without being too specific, *yes I know, I hate holding y’all in suspense*, I was watching a VERY famous movie with my sister one time. (As I said before, I had gone through several ideas and nothing was working. It was very discouraging.)
Now, all I remember is watching a crucial scene in the movie play out. However, I wasn’t as focused on the real plot as I was on one detail in the background. It wasn’t even the main focus of the movie.
To tell you the truth, the characters were playing a different sort of game of chess. And one of the pieces, the queen, was tricked into making a mistake. The most powerful piece of the board failed her mission to protect her husband and thus the king was put in checkmate. As I said, the movie wasn’t even about this, and yet, it bugged my mind.
What would it be like to be the most powerful piece on the board, to be in fact, limitless, and yet still be controlled by the hands and mind of the player? Why would she make that mistake?
Anyway, that’s ALOT of info. *you got me*
I was really asking one big WHAT IF question.
And something just felt right. I scrambled to write this idea down and I immediately got a single image that shaped the rest of my book.
Now, this part of the story is not the most applicable to your life. However, there are some key things to take away.
First, notice. Notice the things around you, the small details. You might find the next great American novel in them.
Second, write down what you love. Before this, I had already had a mental list of what kind of story I wanted to write. Young adult, science fiction or fantasy, a grand cast of characters, a series. This helped me bring my story to life. I’ve also learned DON’T settle for ‘bad ideas’. If you get an idea, and think oh, this is great for the market, or it has a great plot, but I honestly don’t like it and couldn’t see myself writing this same story in a year or two, THEN do not settle. Wait for YOUR story. Because if you’re not in love with your story, readers can tell.
Third, try around with ideas. I probably tested A MILLION story ideas before this key moment. There is an element of waiting, but you don’t have to just sit around. To find the story idea! Pray for it!
So, this is the first part of how to START YOUR STORY. Today was discussed ideas, how I came up with my current WIP, and the three tricks I learned to help you get there. First, notice, second, write down what you love, and third, try around with ideas. So, do you feel more equipped to start your story and come up with your blockbuster idea? Hit the comment button and tell me how you start your stories. How did you get your ‘light bulb moment’ for your current WIP?
Thanks for stopping by!
PS Also check my new Pinterest account with all my articles soon to be available!
Always great to read another article. Exciting to get another hint about this new story – but now I’m curious what the movie was! I’d love more detail regarding your thoughts on where to draw the line between being inspired by a piece you read or watch vs being so derivative of other people’s works that your own story suffers (like you claim for your first story).
Another question about your work process and ideas – what do you do if you have several good ideas? Do you prefer to write stories one at a time or do you like to bounce around between different projects concurrently?
Awwwww, thank you!
And yes, I wish I knew this before I wrote the other story! I’m still learning. Well, it’s helpful to have readers who have also read the book in question and who can point it out for me. I also don’t read too much when I write because I know I will unconsciously put something in. But also, I feel like when you have a solid book idea it’s okay to use the same ‘tropes’ for example, hate to love romance, the chosen one, and such, but not the way they execute the trope. It really is a process of searching your manuscript for it and you know what books you read and what to be careful about. However, it’s funny to me when I look at other stories and see how similar they are to ones before them…
Oh, and if I have several good ideas! I have a document where I put down any stray ideas I might think of because I know I’ll forget them. But for my personality, I like to be organized for one thing and then go all in. So I usually pick the one that speaks to me the most.
Hopefully, this helps!
Thank you for reading!