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Thread: Proposal: A Workshop for Developing Story Ideas

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    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    Proposal: A Workshop for Developing Story Ideas

    What If We Got it Wrong From the Get-go?

    Not all of it, of course. When it comes to the market and the tastes of readers and agents and editors, so much really is subjective and unpredictable. But, what if there is something within a writer's control that we don't know or rarely think about?

    So I got to thinking and I went spelunking into the interwebz trying to discover what might be sending the manuscripts we spend months, even years, of our sweat, our hopes, and our dreams into the trunk and us into rejection and dejection. Sure, the usual suspects come into play: the rush to submit a not-yet-ready book, the already mentioned subjectivity and taste, or the poorly executed query. But do we really know everything that is and isn't within our control? What if there is something else, something more?

    Most of what I found was about this or that process and was unhelpful at best; books which are the products of this process or that process are published all the time, so it can't be only down to process. Dispiritedly, I was on the verge of concluding that what we writers really need is a crystal ball to know, and thus improve our chances for success before we pour our hearts out for months or years on a manuscript.

    A crystal ball.

    Wait! Wait a minnit! What if a sort of crystal ball does exist? Something from the before-before?

    What if?

    The Story Idea or Where It All Begins

    Almost everything I found regarding the story idea was about developing (fleshing out the premise) and nurturing our ideas before we start plotting or pantsing. But do we really know how to select the right idea from all those we have swimming around in our heads and on little pieces of paper scattered around our work areas?

    The spelunking eventually yielded two books (surprisingly enough to me) on scriptwriting: Blake Snyder's Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need*and Erik Bork's (From the Earth to the Moon and Band of Brothers) The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage or Fiction.* (Both books are easily adapted to writing novels and I recommend them**. I do. Strongly.) Then I came back to Brainstorming Sandbox and spelunked through several years of threads to verify what I had read.

    So.

    So, what I propose is this: how about we discuss those principles and methods for evaluating our ideas over here, then for anyone who's interested, toddle on over to Brainstorming Sandbox together to workshop our new ideas or even the ideas behind our current WIPs?

    What say? Wanna do that? See if we can give our ideas and manuscripts a better chance? Try to polish our crystal balls?

    * AW Affiliate Link(s).

    **HUGE Disclaimer: We're not going to "lift" anything from these books. We respect other writers' toil too much to pull shenanigans like that. We can talk only about the evaluation techniques from a relatively high level. That's why I recommend the books for the nitty-gritty and if you must choose only one as an aid then grab a copy of Erik Bork's The Idea: The Seven Elements of a Viable Story for Screen, Stage, and Fiction to start with.
    Last edited by Ari Meermans; 10-25-2018 at 06:37 PM. Reason: add AW affiliate links
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