The Truth about Creating Awesome Stories

I’ve had several people ask how I do it. How do I come up with these stories? Yesterday at an open house, I had the privilege of handing Dragon’s Revenge to an eager aunt. She has been sending the Dragon Courage series to her niece. The aunt thumbed through Dragon’s Revenge asking how to pronounce names and enjoying looking at the book. Then she looked at me and asked. “How do you do it? How do you come up with ideas?” This is coming from an accomplished artist who in her own world can make things I would never even imagine–glass, fabric, paintings! I thought I’d share with you what is currently going through my brain about a new idea.

Where do I get my ideas?

I can get an idea from a sign, from someone else, or from watching television. This most recent one came because of anime. Over the last year, my husband and I have been introduced to anime. Sword Art Online, Ano Hana, RWBY, Angel Beats, and now Your Lie in April have all been played across our TV thanks to our almost nineteen-year-old. As I’ve watched, I’ve realized that all good writing has similar components. I began to wonder what a short story would look like.

The process

An Item

Once I had an idea of a short story with some form of the hero’s round–hero has his world fall apart in some way, tries to put it back together through multiple trials, world comes back together but the hero has grown and changed–then I needed my hero. I began to think of swords. The sword slowly took shape in my mind. A large hand and a half sword. One that would look unwieldy but once it touched your hands it fit.

This came from the many hours I’ve stood at the sword merchant with my son and my husband. After hours upon hours and years of saving, my husband finally purchased an Irish long sword. Sitting on display was the matching dagger. This dagger was huge! It could be a perfect hobbit sword! However, the moment I placed it in my hand, I gasped. It fit perfectly! It wasn’t too big or too clumsy. The pommel seemed made for my hand. The joy of holding it still resonates with me. Therefore, I know what I am saying when I described the sword for my new story.

My sword needed a name as did my character who would wield the weapon. I described my sword to my husband and son. The two of them began to think. Then my husband suggested Kingdom Defender as a name. I loved it. There were so many possibilities now. I could write about a paladin or a father defending his home.

A character

Now that I had a sword, I needed a person who would use it. I began to think through the possibilities. Again, they were endless. At the same time, I found a blog post about anime characters and the sixteen personality traits. I had been introduced to the personalities by my fourteen-year-old son. The website he used gave descriptors to the initials. I didn’t remember I was an INFP, but I could keep “Mediator” in my brain. I looked up the personalities and found “Defender” as a personality type! So, my character will be a Defender in title and in personality.

As I thought of the character, I thought of a man, but yesterday afternoon as I drove home and mulled over my story so far, I wondered why I was limiting myself. I could have a girl defender just as easily as a man. It caused me to ponder.

A reason for defending

Who or what is Defender protecting? If it’s a guy, is he defending his home or his kingdom? Is he fighting for a king or is he protecting his family? If it’s a girl, is she protecting a kingdom or is she fighting for her child? All are good questions, but I don’t have an answer to them yet.

Other characters

After I answer these questions, I also have to think of other players in the story. Who will they be? Since I had pulled up the personalities, I thought it could be fun to just throw some different personalities together and see what they did. I began to think of the many plot lines that did this–Star Wars, The Hobbit, Serenity, and The Lord of the Rings to name a few. So, to go with my defender who is quiet, shy, humble, practical and loyal, but who is reluctant to change, and can take things too personally, I decided an “Entrepreneur” would work. What’s an Entrepeneur? It’s someone who is smart, energetic and very perceptive, but who enjoys living on the edge and doesn’t think about what others feel all the time.

Who is this character going to be? I have no clue. I don’t even know if it is a male or female. I’m open to suggestions.

My mind

Many people think the life of an introvert is quiet and nothing much happens. However, in my daily life, even when I’m on my own, or better still, especially when I’m on my own, my mind is full of activity. I may be writing a blog post in my head or trying to figure out Bennu’s next move in my Ancient Egypt story, or now I might have a Defender banging on the inside of my skull with his sword saying, “Let me out! Tell my story!” If it’s none of these, I’m carrying on conversations on Facebook or Twitter. My life is anything but dull!

As for this Defender, what do you think? Is it a girl or a boy? How old is he or she? What or who are they defending? Why? I’m open to suggestions. You never know, maybe your idea will be used in the story. Leave your comments and share. Add to the Defender’s voice so I can hear the story and tell it.

What's your take?