Harness Your Story Idea to Write a Better Novel
This process is an essential part of getting ready to write a story.
Before you start writing, get organized. Get all your ideas down on paper, or virtual paper. Experienced writers know that memory is fallible. And with all the bits and pieces you have created, there are still holes in your story. Writing a novel is a process. Before you leap in while you still have plot holes and unformed characters, get a good grasp of your story.
The One-Sentence Story Idea
This story sentence has three parts:
- The protagonist’s role
- The protagonist’s situation
- The opposition that keeps the protagonist from his goal
This is the acorn from which you build the great oak of your story. All the conflicts, characters, and scenes you create relate to this story core.
Here’s an example for Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith.
A Moscow homicide detective investigates a bizarre triple murder and runs afoul of the KGB and FBI.
Write your story sentence in 25-30 words. Leave out character names, subplots, or any other details. You are constructing the core of the story.
The Story Seed That Grows
Once you have your one-sentence story idea, you can start to expand it to a paragraph with more details.
You may think that you know your story and have no need to write a base sentence. If so, you should be able to write the sentence in less than a minute.
Zara Altair writes mysteries set in ancient Italy. Her course for beginning writers Write A Killer Mystery is coming soon. Get on the notification list.