A story is an artistic arrangement of words that can make us see a lush green field, hear a baby’s terrified wails, smell delicate orange blossoms, and even taste rich red wine.
To write a story you need an idea; a spark that you can lay on a piece of paper to blaze into a book. An idea for a story can be anything. The sky is not limit, the limit is beyond it.
The idea for a story can be as simple as a young wizard boy (J.K. Rowling), a futuristic cop (Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb), or a haunted hotel (Stephen King). You could get an idea from your grandparents’ great love story that you hear every time you visit them, or from a friend who just went through something good (or bad). It could be a memoir or a true crime that has always fascinated you. You could also get an idea from a bizarre incident, which is how I started writing….
One day, when I was twelve years old, I sat down on a small grassy hill next to my house after a lone game of basketball. I was playing with the sharp blades of grass when my fingers brushed something stuck deep in the roots. I thought it could’ve been a lucky penny or a key to a secret place.
Curious, I dug it out and looked at my find. Unfortunately, it was not a penny or a key but a screw. The tip was crooked and it was crusted with orange rust.
For the strangest reason, while holding that pathetic screw, a story came to me about an extraordinary girl in an alternate world.
I rushed inside my house, grabbed an old notebook and a black pen, and then ran back to that little mound of grass to write the beginning of that story. I wrote fiercely, trying to catch all the words stumbling around in my head.
I've written ever since.
So, as you can see, an idea and inspiration for a story (or a series of them) can literally come from anything. Don’t fight to find a story, let it come to you instead.
One day, when you’re least expecting it (that is always the moment) your eyes will widen and you’ll think “that would make a great story!” and voilà!
Now capture that spark with both hands and set it on a piece of paper to blaze.
QUESTION: What sparked your urge to want to write (a novel)?