When I was younger, I regularly came up with a variety of make-believe stories that I spent many hours partaking in. Looking back, however, I now realize that many of these stories were all over the place and didn’t make a whole lot of sense. As such, the following blog will give you easy-to-follow tips that anyone ages 9 and up can follow in order to come up with great ideas for their own story.
Step 1) Where are we? The first step is to figure out where we are. This can include multiple locations, and will help ground your story. Locations can include: a train station, high school classroom, zoo, mall, barn, airport, forest, basketball court, library, haunted house or even your own backyard!
Step 2) Ask some questions. By answering some of the questions below, you can further flesh out details regarding where the characters are. These questions can also help you figure out how your characters speak, how they live, and what they wear.
- What time period is it?
- What is the weather like? Do the characters spend most of their time inside or outside?
- What is the culture like in this story?
- How much time passes in the story?
Step 3) Who are the characters? You don’t need to figure out every single character early on in the brainstorming process, but you should attempt to summarize the traits of the main characters. The questions below can help you learn more about them:
- Who is your main character?
- What age are your characters?
- Why are your characters where they are?
- Do these characters have any family members or friends that are important for your story?
- What do your characters want?
Step 4) What is the conflict? This one is pretty straightforward, but also one of the harder questions to answer. Since stories often revolve around some sort of conflict, you’ll want to make sure this is interesting to your intended audience. Conflicts can occur with other characters, the environment, the time period, and even overcoming internal obstacles. You can choose more than one conflict.
Step 5) Establish a goal. Your main character should have some sort of goal that they need to accomplish by the end of the story. Often times, this would mean your character is able to overcome their conflict(s). For example, your character is lost in an unknown planet, and their goal is to safely return home. However, in doing so, your character will need to create a functioning spacecraft and figure out how to return to their home planet.
Answering the above questions and brainstorming them early on will allow you to build the story around these important key details, and enable you to come up with creative solutions on how your character can work towards achieving their goals. Just remember to be creative and have fun when coming up with your own story!