Now that you have ideas, you have to develop them? But why do I need to do that? I have an idea, I can write about now. Yeah, but no. I’m sorry, it’s not that simple. There’s a lot of stuff in writing that seems simple but really isn’t. One idea is not enough to make a book. You have to look at every angle, every possibility, every facet of this idea. The easiest way to do this is with What If questions. Disclaimer, I didn’t come up with this process; I read about it in K.M. Weiland’s Plotting Your Way to Success. Here’s how you go about it:
- Get a notebook and pen.
- Title the page ‘What If…”
- Then write out every single crazy idea that comes to mind to build upon your core idea. Make sure you number each idea. This is important later.
Here’s what mine looked like when I did it for Age of War.
After I had filled two pages, I got my highlighters.
- Designate one color for ideas you’ll use and one for ideas you might use
- Go through your ideas and mark all your ideas accordingly.
- Take the ideas you want to use their number (you did number them, right?) and order them by how you want them to appear in your story.
Guess what? You now have a the beginning of a plot.
The ideas you have for your What If questions can be absolutely crazy or super simple or very vague. But write them down! You never know what might be a brilliant addition to your story later. Also, keep in mind that there is almost no way that you can fit all these ideas in. You just can’t. Your story will be too cluttered. But- No. Trust me on this. It’ll mess you up so badly if you try and fit every single idea in. This is called killing your darlings. Don’t worry, I’ll get in to writer’s lingo in a later post.