Quick guide to the first stages of story development

So you have an idea for a book.  How do you turn that idea into a story?  Of course, it depends on whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction. Today, let’s talk about fiction. I’ll devote another blog soon to non-fiction.    Here are some of the steps to get you started:

1. If you don’t have an idea for your story, you’ll have to come up with one.  Here are several ways to do that…

–character:  Think of an interesting person and and let your mind wander as to how they would react to different difficult situations in live.

–location: Think of an interesting town, setting, building, etc. that has always stirred ideas in you. Load that place with interesting characters and come up with the story that setting compells you to tell.

–theme: Think of a compelling theme and develop hy our characters and setting around that. You know what point you want to make with the story, let your characters be the ones who make that point for you.

2. Now that you have a  story idea, you need to determine where that story starts and where it ends.  You don’t want to start the story too far ahead of where you’re going to make your point with the story. For example, if you want to tell about Sarah being mugged and how her reaction to it changed her life, you don’t need to start with her childhood and tell the whole story of her life. You just need to show the time that leads up to the mugging. Tell just enough of her story to give the readers an idea of what kind of person she is. Likewise, if the point of your story is to show how her life changed, you only need to show enough to get that point across. No need to show what she did for all of the twelve years after that.

3. So you have a beginning and an ending. Now, you need to develop the middle of the story by showing the struggle your main character has in facing the challenge you put before him or her.  Throughout the middle, keep the pressure on so the reader will want to continue to turn pages (or scroll for you electronic readers).  Don’t let up, until you are ready to reach the climax of the story.

Start your book with these few steps and you’ll soon have conquered the blank page before you.

Today’s Art….

I’ve started a new series of paintings on cradled birch. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a wood surface with a lip 1.5 inches wide.  This allows the painter to paint around the edges and the art collector can hang it on the wall without framing. When using canvas, this is called gallery wrapped.  Anyway, I’m continuing with the ColorCat Series and have decided to paint the originals on cradled birch.

Here’s ColorCat 7. You can see it and other work in my gallery at

ColorCat 7

SONY DSC

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About loubelcher

I'm a freelance artist and writer. I enjoy anything whimsical and my art and writing generally concentrate on the lighter side of life.
This entry was posted in fiction, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Quick guide to the first stages of story development

  1. The best advice I ever received for story building was at the Warensburg Children’s literature festival. One of the authors drew a diagram of the main character’s journey and it has stuck with me ever since. Great advice!

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