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  • Writer's picturetrevorcarterva .

Crafting a Story

So, you have an idea for a story. What's your next step? You may be thinking: Plot. Depending on how much thought you've given to your story, it might be better to start with the premise. The premise is the main concept of your story: Who are your characters? What are their goals? What are the obstacles standing in the way of their goals? What's the setting of your story? The premise should be summarized in no more than two sentences.

Once you have a premise, it's time to flesh out your characters, at least your main characters. Who is your protagonist? Who's the antagonist? What stakes are involved for your characters?

Next, comes world-building. Where will your story take place? When will it take place? What's the culture like in your world? What's the political climate like? How do your characters relate to the setting?

Now it's time to decide on the structure of your story. Will it use the three-act structure? Or will it use the hero's journey structure? There are several types of story structures to choose from. Which structure will best serve your story?

To outline or not to outline. I've written books where I did not have an outline in the beginning. I would write a chapter and then start creating a very high-level outline for the next few chapters. But I've also written stories where I outlined in more detail before I started writing. Neither method is better than the other. Even when I create a more detailed outline, it always changes as I'm writing. I think it's a very rare occasion for someone to write a detailed outline of their story and be able to follow that outline to the letter while they're writing. The unconscious mind usually steps in with new ideas, moving you in a different direction than what you've outlined.

Happy writing!

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