Storytelling does make up a big part of our culture. Without us, there would be no tales to tell. No news to read. No movies to watch and no shows to binge-watch. Chances are, people would have a limited vocabulary. Our creative minds help to cultivate new words and phrases and spark other creative minds.  If it were not for us, everyone else would have no place to escape from their reality.

1. Fiction Writing: Where to Find Ideas

You can find ideas everywhere you look.

  • News
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Eavesdropping on peoples’ conversations (Don’t get caught)
  • Your life experiences
  • Your hobbies
  • Dreams
  • Observe everything around you
  • Your friend’s experiences
  • Movies
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Songs
  • Your job
  • Co-workers
  • Customers

Make sure you record everything. Use a journal, audio recorder, or your phone. It is what you see and hear which seeps into your mind, churning until the light bulb over your head turns on. POW! Storytime.

How I Found Some of My Stories

The story I am working on, and almost finish, is inspired by The Lost Boys movie.  It has been in my head for over ten years. While in college, I expanded on my story’s universe. I combined folklore from south of my state with the area of my home county, which is in the central part of my state. I will use other folklores in my home county region to help with furthering the universe.

In a few of my stories, the inspiration came from my husband talking about the government falling. It helped me create a few stories about the ‘end of times.’

In my first screenwriting course, my cats were the inspiration for the screenplay.

Watching slasher movies inspired my screenplay for two of my screenwriting courses.

I have a journal full of ideas, waiting to unleash their stories into the world. A few of them come from my husband’s dreams. The ones dealing with creatures would create SYFY movies.

2. Fiction Writing: How to Compile the Story

Everyone has their style. Some people may use writing software, or they may use a notebook. People may keep files on their computers or in a filing cabinet. They may keep their research under lock and key or have it spread out all over the place, including the walls.

What you need to do is:
  • Get a journal and write your basic story idea down.
  • Research, research, and research: Even though it is fiction, it still needs to be believable.
  • Character building: You can use a

3. It will not be easy.

  • Creation: You are creating your world. You must make sure everything is in its place, from the rock on the ground to the stars in the sky.
  • Action: You must make sure every action has a reaction.
  • Consistency:  If you are making a book series, make sure your previous stories match the current story. Especially if you have flashbacks, the same goes if you expand the universe. Make sure they connect somehow.  Look at the DC and Marvel movies when you think of consistency.
  • Practice: Like everything else you do in life, it takes practice.
    • You can enroll in creative writing classes.
    • You can enroll in college.
    • You can watch how-to videos.
    • You can send your stories to trusted friends who will give you their honest feedback.
    • Another thing, read. Yes, you must read books in your genre and out of your genre. Read from your favorite and unfavorite authors. Read popular and non-popular books.
    • Heck, watch your favorite movies and television shows and write fan fiction. Look for writing groups in your area or online.

4. Fiction Writing: When You Are Ready

When you feel you are ready to show your work:

  • Blogging: Start a website via WordPress, Medium, or another free blogging site. You can post your stories on there.
  • Online publishers: Join an online publishing platform like Coffee House Writers. You submit your work, get feedback, advice, and become a published author.
  • Contests: Search online or in writer magazines for competitions.
  • Self-Publish: You can self-publish your book through sites like Amazon.
  • Publisher: You can search for an agent. Once you get one, they can help you get your book published.
  • Anthology: You can submit your story. They might select it for their book.

5. Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Yes, authors can get paid well. Look at Stephen King, Ann Rice, Dean Koontz, and J.K. Rowling. But most authors don’t get the big bucks. So if you are working, stay with it. You can chalk it up to honing your eavesdropping, story idea collecting skills, and getting paid to do so.  If you are not working, find a job. It will help you create new story ideas. Now, if you are like me, the doctor says, “No, Tracie. You cannot work.” Then you fight for your disability or go to school and get an education to help your writing career. Then you fight for disability when you finish.  Lucky for me, my husband works.

Writing fiction can be fun, time-consuming, and low-paying. But you are helping people escape from the real world. You may inspire someone to become a police officer, EMT, teacher, or astronaut. You may encourage an engineer to create your fake invention into a real one. You may save a marriage. You never know; you may save a life.

Good Luck.

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