Guest Blogger and Friend, C. Hope Clark
I first met Hope Clark when she was a clinician at a writing workshop I attended in Cleveland, NC, five years ago. Learning great tips from her about marketing and writing, since then, I follow her blog, subscribe to her newsletter, Funds for Writers, and value her opinion. Graciously accepting my invitation to be a guest blogger, in this post, she gives tips on development of a story.
The Easiest Way to Come Up With a Story
By C. Hope Clark
As I was creating this post for Dicy, I noticed the words at the top of her blog page: “she blogs about her favorite people, places, pets and things.” Many of you are readers, but some of you want to be writers, too. However, sometimes it’s difficult to come up with an idea . . . a really good idea. I’m about to make that easier for you. This idea might make you readers want to start writing, too.
Who are you writing about?
First, come up with a character. You can make her (or him) like someone you know, or you can just create a unique person who is pure fiction. Now, list her favorite people, places, pets and things, just like Dicy mentioned. Add to this list items like where she lives, where she goes to school, who her parents are, her hobbies, her favorite music. You get the idea. Create this person in every way possible. That list is long, isn’t it?
Sort your character’s likes.
Now, put these items in priority. Which are the most important to her? List her top three first. As for the rest on your list, if you like, you can just put them in three layers of importance in case you have like 50 things (numbering those in order would take you forever).
So, you have the top three people, places, pets or things she can’t do without. Next you have a high priority category containing a group that she almost can’t do without. And so on down to those of medium importance. She might be crazy about her pet dachshund, her little sister and her school. Or a guy might be fond of football, his Halo game, and the blonde girl who lives down the street. Or consider a girl who loves living at the beach, reading romance stories, and eating coconut milkshakes.
Now . . . take those things away. How would she or he react? How would they feel? Who would they turn to? What if they could not find these things ever again? Or what journey would they have to undertake to get them back?
Then, when your character thinks she is making progress in fixing her original problem, take away two or three things from the next list. In doing this, you are shaking up her world again. It’s like losing your favorite friend, and another friend captures your interest instead. Then just as you settle in to liking this new friend, you lose her, too!
Your mind is exploding!
Your mind is now probably crammed with story ideas, a plot rolling out of your head. You can see your character going nuts, or maybe hiding her secret, or getting angry. She has a goal, a mission. It will not be easy, but she has no choice, because she just lost the three things she loves most. Then she lost the second two of three things she loves the most.
Now you have a story.
That’s how you write a good story. You create conflict and drag your character through all sorts of obstacles to reach the end. Wow, bet you have a story in your head right now. And the marvelous part of this exercise is that you learn more about your character, and by the end of the story, surprise . . . your character is wiser. And you will be, too.
C. Hope Clark is the author of the award-winning Carolina Slade Mystery Series, and the upcoming Edisto Beach Mystery Series. www.chopeclark.com She also educates writers through her website FundsforWriters.com, an award-winning site that reaches 40,000 readers each week. www.fundsforwriters.com . And she’s friends with Dicy.
Hope, thanks for being a guest blogger and for sharing your ideas about plot and character development. I definitely took notes and know others will, too.
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