Where Do My Stories Start?
This is such an interesting question for me, because there are several answers. Even though I write fairly chronologically, the story ideas often come through a variety of means.
I may overhear a phrase or sentence in a restaurant or grocery store that intrigues me, and get’s me to thinking about a story. This can attach itself to a character right away or a scene, or just an event. Once I get that sentence in my head, other things become attracted to it, perhaps a beginning or an ending, if the sentence feels like it’s mid-story. Or other people might have to be included if the sentence was part of a conversation and I wanted to keep it that way.
There are times when I’m walking in the woods and I’ll just get the whole idea for a story all at once. Of course, during the writing it changes, but the original idea could have been whole. Then there is rewriting. During rewriting, I might add or subtract information, scenes, details, anywhere in the book. So, even if I wrote the book chronologically, there are still events, problems, conversations, being inserted well after the novel is finished.
I teach a class where I discuss place, idea, character, and event, and go on to suggest that a book can be “primarily” about any one of these. A writer can start with anything, but eventually has to populate the novel with each of these. Things have to happen to someone, and they have to happen somewhere. Whether I start out in the middle or the end, I know I’ll have to include everything I can to make it a good story, so I’ll reenter the story again and again, just to be sure it’s right.
Terry Persun holds a Bachelor’s of Science as well as an MA in Creative Writing. He has worked as an engineer, has been the Editor-in-Chief of several technology journals, and is now marketing consultant for technical and manufacturing companies. Seven of his novels have been published. His science fiction novel Cathedral of Dreams won a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Finalist Award, and his historical novel, Sweet Song won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera is Hear No Evil.
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