An author is always flush with ideas, but it’s challenging to refine those ideas into something that will form a piece of work. I liken starting a story project as being similar to conception. I first must decide I want to start a new story or book from some idea floating in my mind, but sitting down and flushing the design out and giving a voice to it takes quite the effort. Many authors use a technique called, “What if.”
See if you can guess what books these statements might belong to:
What if a boy discovers he has magical powers and goes to Wizarding School?
What if a high school girl falls in love with a Vampire?
What if a woman touches a stone, and time travels to the 1700s?
There is a character who is called or motivated to do something? What obstacles does he have to overcome or challenge to accomplish his task? What is the resolution? Has he grown or changed in any way?
Where I’m at today, is scribbling down ‘what if’ statements for a YA audience. I want to see if something reaches out and tugs at my creative spirit. I’ve come up with one idea. Now that the moment of conception has arrived, I must nurture and allow this idea to grow into something that comes alive. Using creative practices, I’ll determine character profiles, plot, settings, and dialogue. Next, I’ll write my outline and synopsis, and give my idea a title. Finally, my story will take shape as I write each chapter and do multiple edits, which could take months, if not years (hopefully not), before the birthing of ‘what if’ becomes a tangible product.
What if a writer comes up with a great idea, and it becomes a bestseller?