Tuesday 10 June 2008

Finding That Plot

Tell Me a Story - writing tips

AJ, can you PLEASE let me in on the secret of finding decent plots. I've been struggling and am getting nowhere?

Hi Jean. Thanks for the email. If you're unbelievably lucky, a plot will appear to you fully formed. This rarely takes place - okay Stephenie Meyer might have done it, but don't count on it.... Don’t despair though, there are other sources. Try these as starters.

  • Refer to the ‘Agony Aunt’ columns in magazines; you'll find they'll fill you with ideas for stories.
  • Go to your library and read the blurb from some books in your genre and work them into your own. Don’t pinch a complete plot from a published book though; use them as launch-pad for your own. Plagiarism is frowned upon.
  • Checkout the Personal Column in newspapers. They can be a rich source of plots and ideas.
  • Read the Obituaries, as macabre as it seems, there might just be something lying around in there that triggers you off.
  • When you’re reading a bedtime story to the kids think about ‘maturing’ the plot, can it be brought up to date?
  • Fairy tales, myths, and legends offer a good supply of plots that can be adapted.
  • Take a published story, rearrange the plot, make male protagonists female and you’ll start the ball rolling in your head.
One more thing. Don’t wait to find an ultra unique plot. There’s not much chance of finding one after all these years. Just settle for a damn good, well-written story.

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