Monday, September 24, 2012

Point of Origin

Sometimes my mind is very similar to an elementary school class. All these different thoughts clamoring for attention. Each yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!”

And I’m standing up in front of the room, feeling slightly overwhelmed.

This is even more true when I start to work on new stories. When I was at Backspace in May, I heard a number of authors speak about what their starting point for a story is. Some said location, the setting dictating what comes next. Others conceive first of an inciting event and build their plot around it. And a third group starts with the main character or characters.

From what I heard, each one of these approaches to the creation of a story can yield fantastic results. Still, I’m pretty sure that I will always fall into that last group. For me, everything starts with the character.

This may be because I have so many running around in my head (cue the men with the butterfly nets). All of these different individuals with crazy back stories that will likely never be used in whatever tale I ultimately spin, but will greatly affect the way the characters behave in those stories.

One of the greatest challenges in the process is deciding which one to choose. Which one gets to come up to the front of the class first and have his or her say. Generally, I’ll let a few of them tell me a few fun facts about themselves before I decide who gets to make a full presentation.

Once the final choice is made, I spend some time really getting to know the character. Inevitably, I’ll find myself thinking, Man, I’d really like to see how she’d deal with this situation.

And the story begins.

How about the rest of your writers out there? Where do your stories start?

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