Updated date:

How to Develop Any Idea Into a Great Story

Author:

Ravi is a traveler and foodie who loves to visit off-the-beaten-track places and understand the culture, history and customs behind them.

A good story is just presenting the ideas in the right order.

A good story is just presenting the ideas in the right order.

I am sure this would have happened to you also.

You hit upon a great idea and as you walk back to your house, you would have already composed a great article in your mind. You feel excited because you know this is going to be your best story to date. You get to your desk impatiently and start writing.

Then, poof !!! everything goes away. You just can’t seem to knit your great idea into a good story. You had such a bright idea, but now you feel lost. How did that happen? Was your idea rubbish? Where did it go?

The problem here is that we forget the universal truth of nature.

Execution is everything.

ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s the development that puts you over the top. Do what you have to do to make it real and get it to market. That said, any idea to be turned into a good story requires a structured approach to it. Ideas are just the beginning. They need to be knitted and presented in the right order to create a meaningful story.

And the funny thing about writing is that it is not like assembling a DIY cupboard. While the DIY cupboard contains detailed step-by-step instructions to assemble it, assembling a good story involves making sense of random components (read ideas) and creating your own DIY instructions.

You need to find your own method and the outcome also sometimes might not be what you are expecting. But this very uncertainty makes writing, a creative, satisfying profession with no set rules.

That is why there are so many methods of writing and no one method fits all because we are all different. We all have our unique take and unique perspective to look at the world around us.

And here are some of the methods, that can be a good starting point to turn an idea into a good story.

The carpenter method

Jack Hart recommends the Carpenter’s Method in his book A Writer’s Coach.

The method follows the carpenter’s way of working. Before creating any item, the carpenter builds a rough frame of unpolished wood with the basic structure in place. Once the framework is in place, he then tackles one side at a time and perfects it until the final piece is ready.

In the same manner, a writer using this method can nail these ideas together in a logical sequence, making sure each sentence is clearly written, contributes to the argument of the paragraph, and leads logically and gracefully to the next sentence. At this stage, he is only concerned about assembling the rough draft. Once the draft is ready, further polishing can be done. The sequence of steps to be followed can be.

  • Select the ideas
  • Create the outline of the theme into paragraphs (opening. middle and closing)
  • String the ideas within the outline to create the rough draft
  • Tackle one paragraph at a time and polish it further.
  • Read and edit the whole flow and tighten the final piece into a good story.

Remember the key message in this style is to let go of perfection. The 1st draft is imperfect and that is OK. You are in the improving mode and it does not matter if you are producing shit drafts over and over again.

The final output is the masterpiece, your chef-d'œuvre and only that is important.

Freewriting

Robert Boice advocates the freewriting method for all beginner writers in his book Professors as Writers.

Free-writing is simply putting pen to paper for a particular period of time and writing without thinking about spellings, punctuation, organization, or whether or not you’re even making sense. If you feel short of things to write, just scribble, “I don’t know what to write” until you consider there is something to share.

Let your imagination lead your writing wherever it likes. You can free-write about any topic that interests you or about a specific topic of your subject matter.

Some prompts to get you started can be.

The one thing I want to do is……..

The most appealing thing about this issue is…..

If I had to explain this matter to someone who knew nothing about it, I would start with …

And so on…..

One more tip to save time can be to think about the topic you want to write the night before so that you can directly plunge into your freewriting session without thinking about the topic.

With freewriting, you start writing without quite knowing where your content will end up. You write as fast as possible to uncover new ideas.

The knitter method

While the earlier two methods focused on imperfection, the knitter method focuses on perfection.

Just as the knitter goes about knitting individual pieces of embroidery completely and then goes to the next bit, the writer in this method focuses on individual blocks of writing (opening paragraph, middle content, and final paragraph with the ending), makes them as perfect as possible and then moves to the next block. The process may feel more organic and creative, but can take longer, too.

As writing coach Mark McGuinness says.

One of the sacred cows of the creative thinking industry is that we should separate idea generation, execution, and evaluation so that they don’t interfere with each other. But my experience as a writer and coach suggests that this isn’t how many creative professionals work. When I’m writing, I’m reading, evaluating, and tweaking as I go. I’ll write a few sentences then pause and go back to read them through. “

That said, this method is only for experienced writers who can judge the level of perfection to be attained in a writing block. Aiming for too much perfection is a waste of time. Aiming for too little creates shoddy work.

The key is maintaining the perfect balance of creating fast content while maintaining good quality.

Last thoughts

So, what is the best way to write?

Unfortunately, there is no perfect, one-size-for-all method invented so far.

And most of us ending up mixing more than one method, depending on the environment, the topic, or even our moods. The method isn’t important. What is important is using any method of your choice and executing the ideas into a good story.

You just need to pay attention to what works best for you and tweak it, adapt it, and update it to make it work every single time. We are all humans and all of us are abounding with ideas. What we just require is the best process to pull us through once we feel stuck and helpless.

At the same time, we as writers must also ensure that we avoid over-planning and too much rigidity in our approach to inhibit our inherent creative ideas. Writing at its best is a conscious coupling of both planning and freedom in equal measure.

As Twyla Tharp has rightly said.

"There is a fine line between good planning and over planning. You never want the planning to inhibit the natural evolution of your work."

© 2021 Ravi Rajan

Comments

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on February 22, 2021:

Thanks Bill.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 22, 2021:

I always appreciate writing tips and advice, so thank you, Sir!

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on February 22, 2021:

Thanks DEvika

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on February 22, 2021:

Thanks Misbah

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on February 22, 2021:

Thanks, John.I also mostly believe in the free flow

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 22, 2021:

Tips that most writers can use and will find useful indeed! Ideas don't come easy but you explain well and stands out too.

Misbah from The Planet Earth on February 22, 2021:

I find your article very interesting Ravi

Thanks for sharing

Blessings

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on February 21, 2021:

Ravi, I do mostly freewriting with a little of the other styles thrown in now and then. I always write a rough draft in a notebook (yes old-school pen and paper) and don't worry about perfecting it. when I start to type it into Word or onto the computer I refine it and often change some parts completely. Fortunately, it all starts to come together from what I have usually formulated in my mind.

I rarely plan any writing as in introduction, middle, and end/summary. In fact, I usually write the introduction last. Nice article.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on February 21, 2021:

Thanks, Rosina. As you rightly said, no method can fit any writer 100% of the time in all situations. In real life it is mostly mixed, match, improvise and execute.

Ravi Rajan (author) from Mumbai on February 21, 2021:

Thanks, Flourish. I personally prefer the free flow method and further believe in improvising the draft till it is ready.

Rosina S Khan on February 21, 2021:

I like your article in that it outlines various methods of writing stories and that writers can use one method or a mixture of methods. Yes, I agree we shouldn't focus on being perfectionists but let our stories evolve naturally.

Thank you, Ravi, for the terrific share.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 21, 2021:

Definitely the knitter method for me. I was intrigued that others had alternative approaches and whatever works for them great. I’ve always been a semi-perfectionist, emphasis on semi.

Related Articles