Tuesday, August 18, 2015

ABC’s for creating a Story From Scratch

What if there was a simple formula with which to turn that collection of words and sentences churning around just beneath the surface into a compelling story?  Here is my formula that beginners, or perhaps even seasoned writers, might try out to achieve breakthroughs on one of those frustrating writer's-blocked days.

This ABC Story From Scratch recipe might be able to help get energy moving on an existing story that is not quite moving at the right pace.  Perhaps this could also be of use for a story where there may be a better direction or there is a need for more depth.   The aim is to reach that satisfying level of memorable story telling that the writer wishes to create and readers like to read.  

Just for fun, let’s see what might be achieved from using the following ingredients and steps for writing a Story From Scratch:

A = Attitude  

A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, and in American culture it may represent individuality and confidence or rebelliousness.

B = Behavior  

Behavior is expressed by how attitudes (from author through main character, foe, friend, lover, culture, nations, etc.) are played out in the story.

C = Consequences  

The result of bringing together Attitude and Behavior.

A+B=C combines Attitude with Behavior to reveal Consequences when life intervenes to beat it all into some sort of solution — though often it may be a sticky one that is not quite ready for consumption.  So, for those who recognize that the story needs more to finish it well, let’s take things a bit further.

D = Delight  

The delight of seeing something not seen before is the gift a great story has to share.  Delight enlightens the story through its characters and/or the reader as a result of them having gone through that often agonizing mix up of attitudes and behaviors, then sifting through the consequences to come to a greater level of realization.  Delight could come from a pivotal decision that enlivens the story from the resulting increased awareness.  Or it may be some other surprising event or unexpected action that, in the end, produces the sought-after savory blend. 


Perhaps there could be even greater benefit found by the story being experienced and told from a more visceral level?  If so, then further emotional excavation may be in order.  When the author digs deeper, characters are likely to follow with a much more powerfully believable emotional portrayal that also touches and satisfies readers.

Born in Oklahoma, Diane Douglas lives in South Carolina where she enjoys Southern writing and cooking.  She received a BA in Political Science with a minor in English from the University of North Texas.  As an Officer in the Navy Reserves, Diane created an innovative publication and received a Navy Achievement Medal.  While a Training Director for the Child Welfare League of America, she created training materials and conducted strategic planning sessions for US & Canadian agencies.  

1 comment:

  1. I'll need to look back on the ABC's on the days I sit down to write garbage because I have no ideas. lol, A little direction can lead you to unexpected places.