Fiction: The What, How & Why of It #2

In continuing my creative writing experiment, I have come upon the section titled See the Seeds. To dive into fiction there must first be something to dive into.

Ideas are the seeds from which the mimosa tree or the watermelon or Delphinium of a story will arise. There are no rules about what constitutes a proper seed. It can be a character, a name, a situation, structure, over heard dialogue, a setting, a theme even a vague feeling. — Steele 9

I’ve come to realize, thanks to Steele and Chapter one, writers will inevitably write from what they know whether it simply lend itself to the emotions characters experience, the perspective or the tone of the work. But that isn’t the most important thing when it comes to writing. Write what ignites your interest. It is so incredibly simple. Write about the things that gnaw at your conscience, things you cannot let go of, things that keep you moving forward. You may find it is life’s little unanswered questions that provoke the urge and if that be the case, run with it and see where it takes you.

Personally, I think that is the allure of writing. The possibilities are literally endless. It all depends on where you allow yourself to take it.

Your Turn:
Write down ten things that might possibly serve as story ideas, drawing from things that happened to you over the past week–people, emotions, thoughts, situations. Nothing is too big or small, cosmic or microscopic. Then review you list and pick the idea that looks the most promising for a story. The right idea will probably give you a buzz when you see it. Then list several ways in which this idea might be turned into a fictional story. Will your idea result in a brilliant story? Maybe, maybe not. But you’ll probably discover how plentiful ideas can be.
 

1. A character finds they have everything anyone would want in their lives, but still struggles with finding happiness. Gives up search…

2. A seemingly normal corporate working woman begins painting images on her Buddha Board at work to relieve stress. Her images come to life start butting in where they don’t belong. She’s committed.

3. Man accidentally finds himself in possession a winning gum ball worth $70 million. He spends the day dreaming and contemplating his next steps.

{He just wanted to chew some gum. He hadn’t heard about the contest for the $70m as he put in his quarter and watched the intriguingly intricate gold-purple-paisley-gum ball tumble down the swirling slide to crash through the tiny little metal door at the bottom of the bright red classic gum ball dispenser. Man gets distracted. Man remembers gum ball. Man examines gum ball and decides it is just too beautiful to eat. He isn’t convinced he got what he paid. He wanted some gum. Goes to Bodega to buy some Winterfresh. Sees ad for $7om gum ball search. Decides to leave store before pulling out gum ball out of pocket in the middle of the street. Stands as life rushes around him, examining the precious ball. Could it be? What now?}

4. Bank teller steals $100 from middle-class stay-at-home-mom too feed family. Mom calls bank to report. Teller loses job & gets revenge on SAH mom.

5. Vintage love.

6. Detailed description of a character realizing the days are getting shorter and what this means in their life.

7. Sex addict meets virgin. Fall in love. Will they make it?

8. The story of the roller coaster ride.

9. Woman grows up with the hope of one day finding her long lost mother only to learn late in life her mother died shortly after her birth by finding stacks and stacks of journals in the attic of her recently deceased father. Questions never asked will always be questions unanswered.

10. My first moments with my new baby mini giraffe.

Some of my ideas are ridiculous, but they were meant to be. Steele explains that first you need to work on producing ideas. These ideas all popped into my crazy-lame head by looking around my tiny little office and day dreaming for about half an hour. Can you imagine how many ideas would come if I decided to devote one day to just brainstorming creative ideas?

These ideas are just seeds. To plant these seeds and get them to grow big and strong, they need to be both entertaining and meaningful and satisfy our primal need for fiction. To satisfy both, fiction demands better story telling than real life, according to Steele.

What are your thoughts on my crazy seeds?

Try it with me! Look around you for some idea seeds of your own?

Did you brainstorm a seed that made you buzz?

This post is part of my creative writing experiment that will get me writing more often and more creatively. All excerpts and “Your Turn” prompts are from the Gotham Writers’ Workshop Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide From New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School. As I write my way through this book, I welcome all constructive criticism, suggestions, advice and comments. 

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One thought on “Fiction: The What, How & Why of It #2

  1. Anjanie says:

    You’re right, you have to write about what interests you to make it an enjoyable experience for both you and the reader. It’s the difference between approaching an essay on an uninteresting subject at school and something that inspires you in real life.

    Generally I find that whatever I’ve been thinking abut, once I become aware of it can be turned into or lead to a writing idea.

    Recently I’ve been reading lots of writing guides online like Copyblogger but it was becoming counter-productive as I wasn’t letting the ideas flow naturally, they had to fit some sort of criteria. Now I’ve done away with all that the creativity is flowing again and I should get back to working on my next post!

    Thanks for this piece!

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