Finding the Story

If you’ve been reading these pages, you know I’ve been watching the videos to Brandon Sanderson’s BYU course on writing science fiction and fantasy. As I listen, I’ve been brainstorming on what I call my New Concept and decided to make changes to my stories to fit with what I’m learning.

If you’ve poked around and looked at some of my posted stories, you might have noticed that I took down Katra’s story. I’ve been reworking it in my head to fit the idea that is still developing in my imagination. I’ll also take Aeryn’s story down soon and see if and how it will fit into the concept. As I write this, my mind is churning on ways to turn my original plan of interconnected serialized short(-ish?) stories into something more coherent. I have antagonists and protagonists, and a loose idea of a plot to move the action along.

Most of my writing begins with a character in a situation. This includes an idea that’s been rolling around my mind for some time now. Where the characters go from there is anyone’s guess, including mine. I never gave much thought to motivation or desires, which are the elements that make a good story, not just the conflict. That’s where my stories tend to fail, I think. I write a lot of vignettes as scenes flash in my head. I have no idea where some of them fit, but I jot them down anyway. I figure they’ll eventually find a place in a story or become the kernel for something bigger. As the author, I need to discover the impetus that keeps them moving forward.

I’ve used writing prompts in the past to create the illusion of a story. One writing website I belong to (writing.com) has daily and weekly flash fiction, short story, and poetry contests. I wrote a short series of connected flash fiction stories. It was a good exercise in story building. I need to revisit those passages to discover what happened before and see if there is something to the scenes I wrote. It could well be that they were just writing exercises.

Now that I have a better (but still morphing) idea of where this new concept is going, I keep thinking of new and exciting ways to challenge the characters. For now, though, I’ll keep making notes on where I see this story goes and use the information I learn on YouTube to guide my hand.

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