Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Idea to Finished Manuscript, Part III

Try these ideas to develop your story.

Remember moments from your childhood. Fiction writing often draws from real life and what is more real that memories of your youth? Mine these memories for stories and scenes to use in fiction writing. What made you scared, happy, angry, sad, joyful, laugh, jump up and down? Memories are wonderful triggers that inspire a story; however here’s a word of caution—don’t allow memories to tell the entire story. Use them as a starting point then allow the characters to tell their own special tale. Let your imagination take the story in a new direction. Adhering too closely to the actual details limits the scope and potential of a manuscript. Think about the universal appeal of a book. The story should resonate with a large segment of the audience.

Emotions: The character’s feelings make the protagonist seem real to the audience. In fact, the most powerful way to connect a character with readers is through strong emotions. The interaction becomes meaningful when a character displays a vulnerable side and transforms to become stronger by the end of the story. As in life, people often are in control of their emotions when the sailing is smooth, but when life gets rocky and rough, we see the real person emerge through their emotions and actions. Allow the character to travel a rough, rocky road to fully develop. 

Get back to the basics. A story consists of two elements: character and conflict. The character needs to aim for a goal or experience a problem and must reach the goal or solve the problem on his/her own merit. Ask these questions. Who is the character? What does the character want? What is standing in the way of the character getting what she/he wants? When you answer these questions, you have a story idea. Other elements, such as setting, can be added later.

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Dramatics is an educational theatre magazine published since 1929 by the International Thespian Society, and its parent organization, the Educational Theatre Association. Dramatics is published nine times a year, September through May, in both print and online digital replica versions. It has a circulation of about 45,000. Approximately 80 percent of its readers are high school theatre students; about 10 percent are high school theatre teachers. Other subscribers include libraries, college theatre students and teachers, and others interested in educational theatre.  The primary editorial objectives of the magazine are: to provide serious, committed young theatre students and their teachers with the skills and knowledge they need to make better theatre; to be a resource that will help high school juniors and seniors make an informed decision about whether to pursue a career in theatre, and about how to do so; and to prepare high school students to be knowledgeable, appreciative audience members for the rest of their lives.  Submission guidelines at

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