I’ve been asked many times how I come up with my stories. Well, for me there a few ways:
- Looking into my own life and creating new pasts and/or futures.
- Having an idea or situation in mind (rarely a character for me).
- Just making it all up.
I’ll say that the last one is the most difficult, for me. I have a hard time searching for a story to tell when I have nothing in mind. I belong to the camp that believes that stories find me, characters find me (true in the most recent novel that I’m working on). I believe I am the conduit of story, the one to set it down, and more often than not, I do very little creating.
Now that makes number 1 and 2 look a bit suspicious no? Well, sometimes the stories that I need to tell are my own. Admittedly, they are few and far between (and I like writing poetry to address some of them). But yes, sometimes the very stories that I’m told to write, are, in fact, mine. And that can be a good thing!
I’ll address how point two and point three are very much related. Which makes both suspicious, right? When asking for a story or sitting down to write, it can be daunting to try to capture one story when many, many can vie for your creative attention. When I have an idea (in one case, a gay jock falls in love with a straight drama guy), the characters reveal themselves, and say, “Hey, that’s me, that’s my story. Lemme tell you.” Whew! That’s a lot less searching! With prompts, I feel the same way. I can ask the storyverse, “Hey, anyone out there have these qualifications? I need a story that takes place at 2 am.” Sure enough, I’ll get a response (in fact my latest short story publication was based on this 2 am concept).
What are some ways you come up with story? I find it fascinating how we all have the same outcome (a story) but the approaches are so different.