Small Beginnings Start Big Stories

My definition of premise is the basis of a story. What is at their core? Good storytellers can include metaphors for another area of life. Often authors use writing to release frustration against the system and society.

Your focus should be conflict. Things have to happen, earth-shattering events. It could be battles, gunfights; it may be life-changing news.

Create dramatic scenes you enjoy seeing. Anything you can muster. Every scene needs elements of conflict. If you lack ideas, think of your genres tropes. They can be stories focus points.

Don’t worry if you make more than one enjoyable scene, but cannot see them connecting. Add as much about what happens, what characters are at play and where it takes place. You will soon see links.

Good vs. Evil
If your scenes involve characters, decide if they are goodies and baddies. They may combine both qualities, or you may only have a single character. That is fine. All ideas are welcome during the early phases of writing.

You may want to focus on characters deemed bad by society, but portray them in a positive light. Examples of this are corrupt police officers, or honest thieves.

You can make your characters change as the story develops. Make sure you know whom readers will root for.

Home (Visitor) or Away (Quest)
Will your scene be one scene of many that shows characters journeys? Travelogues are frequent in fantasy. Characters check off magical towns, on their way to a main city to defeat dragons or the big bad boss.

Alternatively, characters can receive visitors, staying in their hometown. It could be a mixture of both, but this should let you know who main characters are.

Comedy or Tragedy
Are these scenes funny or serious? You can blend both. You may have only met the jokers in your gritty story crime novel, so be open when thinking about your scenes.

Love, Lesson Learnt or Personal Growth
Who are the main characters? What would their lives be, before and after, the drama? Will they grow? Bildungsroman is the name for coming of age and growth novels.

Could characters be learning lessons? You can research morals for ideas. Aesop is the moral king.

Are there lovers in your scenes? Love usually takes two, but it can be towards objects and ideas. Love may be forbidden, unrequited or false. Are the characters in illicit relationships?

Are characters in any type of relationship, and for what reason? What are they trying to achieve? What do they want?

Conflict, Mystery or Search
Is your story going to be full of conflict? While every scene needs conflict, it does not have to be all action. Many readers enjoy character relationships and development more than constant clashes.

Are characters seeking things they lack? What characters lack can be physical, like a person, or object. It can also be metaphorical, like new senses, such as generosity.

Do scenes involve mystery? Your characters should always struggle while seeking their goals. Mystery, a sense of unknowing, worsens this struggle for characters. It breeds desperation.

Character, Fortune or Thought
Are characters personalities going to change as the story progresses? Could this be due to maturity?

Your story could be about rising through ranks to achieve success. Will you reward characters for their endeavours? Will they acquire new attitudes?

Quest and Return, Overcoming Monsters, or Rebirth
You may have decided your main character is undergoing a journey. Where or what are they journeying toward? Will they return?

Are your characters overcoming something for the greater good? Alternatively, are they the monster, spoiling life for themselves with character flaws?

Could your characters be reborn as new people, or be going through the rebirth process somehow? Your characters may experience one, or all of these.

Happy, Sad or Tragic
Think how your story will end. The difference between sad and tragic is the endings significance and enormity. Think whether any of your scenes make good endings, or whether you can create a better one to finish.

Climatic, Episodic or Non-Sequitur
Have you created incredible action scenes? Do you want your plot to be building towards them? Alternatively, do you want continuous action? It is important to consider. You can also write in an irregular manner, including time-jumps and more.

After creating the initial conflict, you can stop if you would like to keep your story simplistic, with one-act. You could think of beginnings or endings for a two-act structure, or both for three acts.

Choose one theme, or any combination you like to help you build your plot. You may think of more unlisted.

Chase - Could characters be tracking down another?
Discovery - Are characters learning from life-changing moments?
Enigma - Are characters trying to understand hidden meanings?
Escape - Are characters escaping?
Excess - Are characters pushing society’s limits?
Rescue - Is anybody rescuing someone?
Rivalry - Do any characters have common goals?
Sacrifice - Is anyone making sacrifices?
Suspense - Is the clock ticking on a future event?
Temptation - Are characters coaxing others to mistakes?
Underdog - Is anyone achieving against all odds?

Vengeance - Is anyone seeking revenge?

Happy Creations!

Jim M