3 Ways to come up with a Good Story

Most of the time we have things to do, maybe we are having this internal dialogue remembering our problems. That doesn’t help our creative imagination, so these are 3 things you can do to get started:

DEVELOP CHARACTERS

Pay attention to people, try to guess what problems they have? Be creative, imagine a story out of them.

An excellent fuel for creativity is working with OPPOSITES. Maybe there is an old lady in the supermarket, she’s sweet with everyone, and you feel tenderness, but then, you start to imagine things (don’t be nasty, please, this is not the place). So you wonder: WHAT IF she is a Drug Lord? Nobody would suspect her! It would be the perfect coverage!

Maybe you see someone being extremely rude, a big strong guy. The classical bully. Then you start to imagine WHAT IF he is a very generous person who helps unfortunate people? What if he uses all the money he earns to help others? And maybe he’s mad at everyone for their selfishness, that’s why he’s rude to people living a common life (consumers).

DEVELOP PLOT

To develop a plot, you need to find a good conflict. You can focus on finding impossible odds that your characters have to face to get what they want, their dramatic need. Think of something that you want, and think of OBSTACLES, TESTS that you have to go through.

One very common obstacle that has worked and still works is BETRAYAL. Develop a relationship and destroy it with betrayal, find a reason for it. Make it a good one.

If you are afraid of falling into a cliché, don’t be. You won’t. It all depends on how you approach the story, how you unfold the facts. Find your style. Quentin Tarantino uses a lot of clichéd elements in his movies, and he gets away with it. He is a master of this.

Personally, this is how I find ideas for my stories, I create THE BIGGEST FEAR, and then I imagine myself facing it. If I were afraid of heights, then the climax would be jumping from a cliff to the ocean in order to save whoever needs to be saved, or to chase the villain who needs to be stopped. But I imagine a BIG MOMENT, BIGGER THAN THESE LETTERS! Because is the biggest fear. Or if it’s a tragedy, when I’m about to triumph, something gets in the way and destroys me (emotionally, socially or physically). But I imagine facing the odds. That’s how I can make it believable.

After this, you have to be able to answer: What is your story about? Is it about finding the traitor? Is it about escaping impossible odds? (Maybe powerful people are after a computer genius, or a regular guy wants to save his people). Is it about facing her own fears for a greater good? Is it about struggling to get power, from being poor to becoming the king? (The main character can be the hero, or it can be the villain, like in Scarface).

DEVELOP CONTEXT

Create a set of rules for a universe you create. Is it in the future? The past? Is it in space? An island?

Think of the genre. Sci-fi? Fantasy? Action? Is it about time travel? A magic forest? People with special abilities? Ghosts? Demons? A bomb of massive destruction, stronger that nukes?

Or is it a real world context? Corrupt governments? A king making the village die of hunger while he’s living in luxury? 2 opposing forces (gangs or politicians) trying to control the town/city/country? A natural disaster? Escaping from an unpleasant or dangerous situation?

Think of political rules. Maybe in the current government you are not allowed to express feelings, or you are not allowed to look beyond the wall, to read a forbidden book. So just think, what’s forbidden in your imagined universe? Creating a set of rules (context) that your characters are eager to break is a great way to find an idea for your next story.

So there you have it, next time you are thinking about… “Aww, I wish I was creative enough to come up with a story like Star Wars, or Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings”. Well, here is what I think:

You can do this. Yes. But you have to keep doing it. Do this and you will eventually come up with a very amazing universe, a strong story. The only thing that can stop you is… yourself, the moment you stop trying. CHEERS!