3 Steps to Developing a Story

For all intensive purposes this article details my own process for writing fiction. Others have their own methods, but if you need help getting your creative juices flowing, look no further! Here are the three steps to develop a story:

1. The Central Character

The central or main character is usually the person the reader spends the most time with. They are the window into the world the author is trying to paint, and thus they should be properly developed. The central character can be many things: anti-hero, damsel-in-distress, forlorn mother, raging alcoholic, or maybe a creepy, pale-faced little boy with a lizard tongue and pig feet. Whatever floats your boat. However, the character should be interesting enough to keep people invested. The character should be more than just a caricature or a stereotype in a typical genre. For instance, if a reader is introduced to a prissy, whining, drama queen with no other qualities, people are going to roll their eyes. However, if this drama queen had a heart of gold and would save those she cared about when things got rough, then you got the makings of a fine heroine.

2. Find the Themes of the story

Along with developing a good main character, I suggest that there should be an underlying theme or message involved in before you begin to develop the plot to your tale. Star Wars had redemption. The Hunger Games had political turmoil and oppression. Stargirl had nonconformity. The list goes on and on. Find a theme or two to base your story around it and you’ll find that it makes the plot stronger and the characters more meaningful.

3. Reaction Theory

“Baby, I accidentally set our house on fire. Everything is gone, including our wedding albums and our son. I’m so sorry.”

“K.”

That’s not the typical reaction you’d get if you gave your significant other news like that. Same thing applies to writing. There is a time and place for everything, but knowing when and how to portray that convincingly will determine whether or not the story is dubbed an emotional rollercoaster or a laughable meme-worthy parody (Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man anyone?). This last piece of advice may sound like a no-brainer, but I’ve come across a few books that have been irreparably damaged due to this type of over the top shenanigans.

If you have any comments you’d like to add, feel free!