Crafting the story to lay the foundation of a solid blueprint begins long before you start writing the story.
When you start writing a new story it is so easy to be overwhelmed by the intricate detail of what happens in the story – the parts that make up the story – that you forget about the whole story, and simply write the story scene by scene, hoping that it will all add up in the end.
Rushing to write the first draft, you patch the details together and soon find that you have a story full of holes, or one that feels empty and does not live up to what inspired the idea
De-motivated and lost you soon lose interest in the idea and leave a potentially great story unfinished.
It’s like watching a film you can’t wait to see on DVD, then, with the remote at hand, you skip through the boring bits to get to the end, finding an ending that leaves you unsatisfied.
Sometimes you get lost in the daunting process of turning abstract or vague ideas into a tangible story that is logical, cohesive and worth investing the time it takes to develop the story to its full dramatic, comedic or dynamic potential.
It is about the story, the whole story, and nothing but that. Everything serves the story, the writer, the characters, the structure, each story event, the theme … You must own your story before writing it.
10 basic steps to own the writing process
- Step 1 – Premise: It begins with that perpetual question: What is it you want to write? What is this idea that you want to develop into a story?
- Step 2 – Concept: You have to conceptualise your premise.
- Step 3 – Genre: Each genre has specific conventions that are familiar to audiences/readers and will fulfil the expectations of those who watch or read the story.
- Step 4 – Theme: Start by asking yourself why you are writing the story. What do you want people to take away after reading or watching your story?
- Step 5 – Characters: Take a closer look at the people who will live in your story and define the roles of the characters.
- Step 6 – Structure: Use structure to make sense of your story and create story logic.
- Step 7 – Plot: You have to use the ideal plot that will be best for your story.
- Step 8 – Story Outline: Write what happens in your story from opening to ending, identifying the story events (scenes) of the most important events in your protagonist’s life.
- Step 9 – Scene Outline: Dramatise each event, and to explore the exterior and internal lives of your story.
- Step 10 – The Top Sheet: This is the most important document that you will write to protect your intellectual property and sell your story to producers/publishers.