Saturday, February 16, 2013

SCWC: Using "What-Ifs" to Flush Out Story

  • Really important to get all the questions in your story answered/addressed
  • Read your story aloud, record it, and play it back. You will catch a ton of mistakes
  • Write quickly so you're always producing. If you have inspiration, you can write quickly. Publishers might want a deal that includes multiple books, even if you don't even have ideas yet for the sequels
  • Idea vs inspiration
  • Don't skip around in genres when you're first starting out. Have a love for the genre you're writing in. What are you going to bring to the genre that someone else hasn't? Use ideas that create conflict in the story. Be able to differentiate your ideas from others writing in the same genre.
  • Shape your idea into a story (slow evolution).
  • Layers and ideas – using “what-ifs.” You can save time on world-building by using well-known locations as the setting (Miami, LA, etc). Layer conflicts. Different decisions can be made by characters depending on conflict. Start with “what would happen if...”
  • “What then?” Pose questions, then answer a couple or provide more conflict. Everything must have closure at the end unless it's a series!
  • Ask more “what ifs” towards the middle of the book. Create a fresh way of looking at your story. (ex: werewolves...what if...there are 2 different types of werewolves?)
  • Conflict must be in the first chapter. Book should also end with conflict.
  • Readers love questions – pose questions in the book.
  • History can be fodder/inspiration. Strange facts in the world.
  • “Put your character in a tree, then throw rocks at him.” Think of the worst thing that can possibly happen, then make it happen.
  • The “what-if” actually has to do something for the story, don't just toss a bunch of questions out there. Every what-if must be answered.

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