I told you in the last post that I wanted to write a new children’s story. And just for fun, I thought I could show my writing process. This is obviously not the only way to write, but it’s based on research from writing vlogs, articles and personal experience.
Step 1: The “Idea”
This could be anything: a character, a plot point, a “moral” or a mood. You can come up with ideas anywhere: at work, on a walk, while you can’t sleep at night, when you had an interesting conversation, or when you purposely seek out something interesting. Look around you, use all the senses you have. Don’t just passively go through life. Take time to see, hear, smell, feel, and taste the world around you. If you do, you will find that even the most “boring” parts of life can foster a creative idea.
My idea: “what happens when you want to help, but are too focused on your idea of how that should look?” (sounds abstract, but is based on several experiences)
Step 2: The Brainstorming Phase
Now I went ahead and brainstormed on what your idea could look like. The key is to let your idea inspire you but to not let it tie you down. You might end up going in a completely different direction than you originally thought. Maybe you will even drop the original idea altogether. But that’s ok. Play with it, write down whatever comes to mind. And have fun!
I thought of characters, settings, what age the characters could be, what they could be doing, etc. And I ended up combining my idea with another one from a creativity exercise. As you can see, it can get messy. But that’s ok in this stage!
Step 3: The Outline
Once you’ve got all sorts of ideas floating around, it’s time to tie down what direction your story could go. This doesn’t set everything in stone but is more like a rough guideline to keep you focused. Depending on the genre you go with, the outline can be more or less detailed. But in either case, it will give you a sense of your story’s “point” (what is the goal of telling the story), the pacing, story structure, character arcs, motifs, etc. (If you need to learn about any of this stuff, there are plenty of books and youtube videos about them. They are entertaining and help a lot. Check them out!)
My story is about a 6-year old boy named Stan and his best friend Gary. The point of the story is to see what will help the other person and not just what you want to do. The story is relatively short, so I would usually not even write the outline out. But for the sake of this blog, I wrote the main points down. (I just scribbled this outline, so apologies if you can’t read it well. This is just proof of concept. You can obviously do this on the computer or make the handwritten notes look better.)
The nexts steps will be to write a first draft of the story and to explore several versions. The process of writing is less like a streamline and more like a curvy road with several loops and detours. You have writing steps that come in certain parts of the process, but they can also overlap. So Stay tuned to the next steps!