Posted by: victanguera | January 14, 2010

Writing Prompt #125

I came across an interesting statement on the Storyfix blog yesterday. He suggests that:

The single most critical, sensitive and all-powerful moment in the story development process is when the nature and power of the idea announces itself.  The story’s heart and soul, it’s concept.  It’s [sic] reason for being.  Compromise here, and your story will punish you for it.

That made me think about one of the stories laying in the bottom of a drawer, unfinished. I have little desire to return to it. When I started it last year, I had a cool idea, but it never went anywhere.

When I read that sentence, I realized why. I didn’t have a complicated enough concept to carry it through into an actual story.

On the other hand, the story I’m working on now has a very deep concept at its core. I started with one ‘what if’ thought. As I considered the what if, all the depths and implications of how that behaviour would affect others developed.

I wrote the entire novel in a month and a half. It’s taken much re-writing to bring out all the subtleties, but I’ve never let it go. At times, I forgot the concept that started me down that path as my WIP took  on a life of its own, but I never lost the passion for the novel.

So for today’s prompt, take some time to think about the concept (or aboutness) of what you want to write (or what you are writing). Is it a big enough idea? Within your initial ‘what if’ concept, a complication should probably already exist. If not, how can you add one?

Journalists learn to ask the questions: who, what, where, when, why and how. As writers, maybe we forget that those are legitimate questions to ask ourselves as we think through what our story is about.

Here’s a concept to get you started: what would happen if the person you trust the most betrayed you? Think about different ways you could apply those journalist questions. Think about every way ‘who’ could be used for example (whose POV, who betrayed you, to whom, who knew in advance etc.)

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