Friday, May 15, 2009

Finding Your Story

I'm feeling listless lately. Why? Because although I have story ideas wandering around my brain, none of them have grabbed me. A few characters pop up here and there, but again, none so compelling that I must write their story.

And it's driving me crazy.

Even though I just finished editing the last novel a few days ago, I'm already raring to go on the next one. But as of this writing, the story for that next one is nowhere to be found.

I only know one thing for sure about it - it will be set in World War II. And that's it. I don't know if it will be in America or England or Germany or even Italy. Right now, I'm keeping my mind open to all possibilities.

The whole process has got me thinking about how story ideas emerge. It's different for each person. Some have tons of ideas that call to them quite loudly and just need to pick one. Others have characters with no stories, and have to sit and listen awhile for their characters to tell them what their story is. Still others (like me right now) have no concrete idea of what the next novel will be, but trust in their creative process that there is a wonderful idea waiting to be unearthed.

How about you? How do you find your story?


  1. I love that picture!

    Usually ideas sit, ready to be sifted through, and I reach for the one that sticks out the most. And then the characters and I collaborate on the story.

  2. So far, my stories have "popped" into my head. Same goes for characters and even small scenes for larger work!

    When I search for something I rarely find it.

  3. My stories start with a pivotal situation, and from there all the reverberations grow into the story.

  4. Usually mine begin with a key scene or sentence. From there, I have to develop the story before and after that idea so I can evaluate if it's good to go.

    It also happens that a character I start scribbling is so compelling that I must write their story.

  5. I am a feast or famine writer. I'm either bursting with brilliant ideas or my mind is as desolate as the Sahara. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to the issue. And what story idea rocks with me one day blows cold the next.

  6. I'm super excited for you! That's awesome that you're already ready to go!!!!

  7. I always start with a needle of an idea, then attack the haystack--ugh. But writing remains my bliss.

  8. I love hearing about how you come up with ideas and the process of writing. Fascinating.

  9. Story ideas seem to find me.

    LOVE the new photo image. Could you possibly do a sequel to the first, even if it's a generation ahead or so, and in a different location? You reall inspire.

  10. Story ideas always come differently for me. My most recent novel is a mix of three different short stories I wrote over 7 years ago. The main character comes from a story I wrote clear back in high school almost 11 years ago. Talk about building it all up!

    Good luck with getting your ideas i order!

  11. Great picture! Did you make it?
    My story idea this time came from asking "What if?" and then it took off from there. But I will probably be like you for the next one after I edit this one.
    Try to watch movies and read someone else's books for inspiration.

  12. It might be more because you are sending your other one out into the world and it is hard to think of doing anything else when you are anxious about what is going out there. I think a few days of relaxing and reading are just what the doctor ordered!

  13. Much of it just comes to me, but lately I've had problems with the final act. Just can't seem to nail it down and it's getting really frustrating. If you have any ideas on how to find it, I'd sure appreciate it. A shame we can't get together in person to brainstorm for each other.

  14. Situations usually get me going. Some situation that people might find themselves in that grabs my interest and starts me asking questions: How would you get into such a spot? Why? What would you do to get out? If the idea is compelling enough, it takes off from there.

    I had a long fallow period after finishing my last novel. Took me a while to formulate an idea for a next book. For many more months, it was the only idea I had. Then suddenly things began occurring to me. Now I have four or five story ideas stashed away...and I feel rich as Midas.

    Give it time. To me, even though I was anxious to start writing something new, it felt as though the well had run dry. Just took time to fill again. Yours will, too.

  15. For me, the story comes first followed by the development of the characters.


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