Been thinking about this lately, as students ask me, "How do I find a story?" So, here's a tip from August 2016.
The age-old question: Where do stories come from? An original story, one you create yourself, obviously comes from within you! Yes, but how did you start? Where did the idea for the story come from?
Ay, there's the rub.
The answer is that stories can start with anything: an idea; a feeling; an observation; a picture or photo; an object; a person; a fleeting thought...anything. So where does one start? It depends on whether you want to be specific, like a story about a sibling you care about, or just improvise, and see where things go.
Here's an example of improvising. Remember that this is ME improvising. Your thoughts are different, and your mileage may vary!
Consider a bowl of oatmeal; a seemingly inanimate object.
Start by thinking about all the ways you might describe this object:
Go ahead and make your own list FIRST.
Before you look at mine.
It's food in a bowl
It was dry and room temperature at first
I added water and heated it up (microwave)
Now it is hot and moist/mushy
The pieces of oatmeal now stick (cling) to each other
It has a slight nutty flavor
Do any of these things start to gel in your mind? WHAT ABOUT YOUR LIST? Do they suggest anything else to you? Can you connect the dots in some way? Brainstorm - don't limit yourself or judge anything that comes up. Just imagine and roll with it. Don't worry about a beginning, middle or end, or all the elements of a good story. You will sort it all out later. Now is a a time for wild energy and imagination! Look at YOUR list and imagine the possibilities.
The next step depends on what you have listed and thought of. There are a myriad number of directions one could go. As I looked at my list, I focused on the words, "Mushy, hot, clingy, nutty." I began to think about, "What if two oatmeal flakes were talking? What would they say?
Oat #1: Hey baby, what do you say?
Oat #2: You're such a dry flake!
Oat #1: Oh yeah? Well, we're about to get all wet, and things are going to heat up!
And just as the 1st Oat predicted, so it was...
Oat #1: Ooo baby, you're so hot!
Oat #2: You're all wet! Don't be so mushy.
Oat #1: Don't be that way. Why, with just a little brown sugar, you'd be so sweet. We could cling together...maybe even spoon a little.
Oat #2: You're really a little nutty. Be careful, you might just be consumed by all that talk.
And indeed, eventually they both were!
That's just the beginning -- of the process, not necessarily the story. It might become a story about two oatmeal flakes. It might also turn out to be a personal love story. Or maybe a story of unrequited love. It might be two stories, side-by-side. The process of imagination and brainstorming and making different connections goes on until you feel there is a good story in the works. Even if it has no connection to where you started (with the bowl of oatmeal). The process is there for exploration, for getting from one place to another, until you find yourself in a place that you like.
Then you make sure the story has all the elements it needs: Who are all the characters? Where does it take place? What is the problem or obstacle? Is there a "Helper". What is learned along the process of overcoming the obstacle? What is the story about?
So where do stories come from? A lot of places. But they can surely start with breakfast - the most important meal of the day!
Pick SOMETHING and then make a story about it. ANYTHING. Write it down, even if it's just the beginning of an idea. Carry it as far as you can go---Post it below, and/or SEND IT TO ME via E-mail
(try to get it to me by the end of this week). Sorry, I can't give you EXTRA CREDIT, but perhaps I will post them all next week!
GCC STUDENTS: For extra credit, do this exercise. Create a story from something seemingly benign or inanimate. Perhaps make some dialog as I have done above, or have a narrator, describing the process going on. Here's an idea (can't use this) a line of ants going into their hill; one ant gives the one behind it a message about storing food for the winter; that one passes it along to the one behind, and so on; but the message gets turned around (as in the telephone game); here's the good part - you get to make up the changes in the message! Make sure the story has all the elements it needs: Who are all the characters? Where does it take place? What is the problem or obstacle? Is there a "Helper". What is learned along the process of overcoming the obstacle? What is the story about? Send it to me via E-mail before Tomorrow, 4-10 by 2 pm for a possible 50 points. Has to be awesome for 50!