|Got writing questions? Get answers!|
Q: I have this singular, compelling image that keeps getting stuck in my mind, and it has inspired me to write my novel. But it’s just one scene, really. Is there any way I can develop a story from that? Can you give me any idea how to write a novel from just this one image?
A: Writers get inspired by the oddest things, don’t we? First, write out that idea as completely as you can. Don’t edit yourself. Don’t try to plan it out or structure it. Just write whatever comes to mind. Not only what you see and hear, but the feelings that surround it. What is this scene saying to you? What does it mean? What about it is something that everyone can relate to? Keep going until you’ve exhausted the idea, or you run out of steam.
Got it? Good. Now, here comes the fun part of the writing process: creating new ideas.
Grab a stack of index cards. On each card, write one thing that could lead TO this scene or one thing that could develop FROM it. How does this scene change someone’s life? Who else could be affected by it? What could this scene ultimately lead to? What would have to happen beforehand in order to make this scene happen? Don’t stop until you’ve written for at least 10 minutes and jotted down at least 10 cards.
Now, you’re allowed to take a break here and come back refreshed later. When you do, sort through your cards and pick out your favorite ones. Lay them out in front of you. If you look hard enough, they’ll tell you whether your initial scene idea should occur in the beginning, middle or end of your story.
Once you’ve settled on a particular point in time, you can build forward and backward to it, using the creative writing prompts from your cards. What comes before this point and brings it about? What happens afterward as a result of it? Keep writing, and before you know it, your single image will explode into dozens of writing ideas!
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