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Thursday
Mar242011

Q. How do I turn ideas into stories?

A. This is a question I've been asked recently, and it's very relevant to what I'm doing now.  I have an idea for a novel at the moment, and could be forgiven for expecting the process of turning it into a book  to come easily. But not a chance!  

Time and determination are two of the characteristics which help turn ideas into stories.  Imagination's obviously important, but it's not enough.  What I'm currently doing is writing down everything that occurs to me, then sifting through it all and seeing what still stands.  It's a long and tricky process, a bit like travelling without a map.  Instinct's another important characteristic, sensing when I'm going right or when I'm taking a wrong turn.  It's important to be prepared to sleep on things.  It's also important to be prepared to slog and not give up.

As I churn over the material I'm producing, certain characters, places and events become more fully developed, but others fade away.  It's by taking these more rounded aspects of my burgeoning story and seeing where they lead  that the story finally comes.

Often when I start writing I have a beginning and an end.  I know where I'm going, but no idea how I'll get there.  This has never bothered me.  I've always reckoned that a book that provides a turn-the-page reading experience starts with a fairly turn-the-page experience for the writer too, and the sense of wonder and curiosity that keeps the writer going conveys itself onto the page.     

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