Writing fiction starts with choosing a storyline, a conflict, a set of characters, a setting, and so on. All that must be conjured up from our imaginations. Sometimes, it seems like a story just arrives by carrier pigeon, doesn’t it? Suddenly, you’re writing and it just flows and you wonder: where did that come from?
Other times, you might make coffee, stare at the ceiling, read some fiction for inspiration, make more coffee, take a break, sit back down, and still you just can’t get a grip on a starting point.
Sometimes, you need look no further than your own life and times. There are experiences you have had, and people who have made appearances in your life, and things you have done that would make a great story, with a little spicing up.
Maybe there was a kid in school who got you into trouble all the time. You could write that. Raise the stakes. Make something truly dire happen. Write how the character deals with that experience, and how he or she is transformed by it. Write it in story form so that you can resolve it in a satisfying way.
Writing can be very healing. Difficult or painful experiences of our lives can be re-examined with a new lens. And one way to do that is to fictionalize them. Perhaps you have experienced abuse. If it doesn’t feel too threatening or painful to do so, you can write it into a story, make the victim of the abuse a different person. Let your character experience some aspect of what you went through, and let them come out the other side stronger.
Another approach is to tackle an unexamined relationship that you’ve never really understood. Fictionalizing both yourself and the antagonist in your real life story can give you the opportunity to explore the dynamics. You don’t have to capture it perfectly as it happened. But if you think about the character traits of the other person and bestow them upon a fictional character, you can see how the fictional you - or someone else entirely - might interact with that person.
Think about keeping a notebook - paper or online - where you jot down notes about people and life experiences that make great fodder for fiction. None of those things have to be perfectly transcribed. You don’t need to make a documentary or an autobiography - although, if you have a really interesting life, you certainly could. The idea is to take inspiration from your past. Make it fresh. Bring it back to life.
In doing so, you may even find that you gain some satisfaction from life events that just seemed to happen for no reason or make no sense at the time - people’s actions, or hurtful encounters or bizarre events. Well, maybe there was a reason. Maybe it was so that later on you could turn those events into works of fiction.
Enjoy the process. And keep an eye out for a writing prompt coming soon that will spin off from these ideas. Get your engines started!
@jayna, writer and moderator at The Ink Well.
If you're looking to up your fiction game and reach that next level, check out my past writing tips linked below.
I would like to invite any lovers of poetry and short stories to visit the new hive community called The Ink Well.
Also, with the advent of https://hive.vote/ it is now possible to follow The Ink Well curation trail on Hive blockchain. It works just the same as steemauto; simply navigate to the curation trail section and search for theinkwell (all one word with no @ symbol) and our trail will pop up as an option.
Similarly delegations are possible on Hive using the fantastic https://peakd.com/ Hive Blockchain front end. If you wish to delegate to @theinkwell that supports creative writing on Hive by voting all of our contributors, you can do this from the wallet section of https://peakd.com/
At the moment I'm not 100% sure who has delegated what amount to the @theinkwell community as the tools are still under development to check these stats accurately. But through talking to people and asking around I know who to thank. There is also a mystery delegate of at least 500 hive power (maybe more) which is captivating my mystery writer's mind with a tickle stick of intrigue 😉