Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Idea to Finished Manuscript, Part 1

Ideas are a dime a dozen (or even cheaper), so what do you do with a story idea? When an idea pops into my head, crawls, or leaps there, it may be in the form of a phrase, an interesting character, or maybe a situation. I tend to let the idea linger. Some loiter so long, the story practically develops in this stage as it forms a mental movie. As days turn into weeks, the story evolves and grows. Characters become clearer and names attach. Has this happened to you?

Of course, there are other techniques to develop story ideas. While I tend to let stories percolate until the characters are strong enough to come to life on paper, sometimes I take an idea and immediately construct a character and plot. Different methods work for different writers at different times.

As you mull the idea, bend it, twist it to see what could happen. Make it different in some respect from any book you’ve read.  Begin by giving your character an overpowering urge to do something, something the character needs to accomplish. This driving urge is the power behind your character that will propel the story forward.

Next week, I’ll post techniques for turning an idea into a finished manuscript.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Advocate is interested in feature stories, ‘think’ pieces, humor, profiles, original recipes, puzzles, short stories, poetry, cartoons, line drawings, wood-cut prints, lithograph prints, metal-plate engraving prints, and photos.

Poetry may be sent individually or in batches and may be of any length.
Prose pieces should not exceed 1500 words.
Submission guidelines at

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