Development Begins–The first stages after the birth of a story idea.

Last week, I let you have a glimpse of how an idea for a story is born. If you missed it, you can catch again here. I had enough fun with that, I decided to continue the trend. For the next few weeks, I’m going to show you the process as my little story idea grows up to become an entire novel idea. It won’t become the completed novel for a while yet, but with a little luck, we might be able to put together a fairly decent outline and get to know more about the main characters involved. While there are many different ways to do this (and I’ve tried a fair number) I’m just going to do it how it ends up working for me. After all, this isn’t meant to be a “How to tutorial.” This is to show you what goes into my books. So, are you ready to take this journey with me?

Usually, what happens after an idea is born, is that I come up with a very vague premise. I need to know what the book is about. From the short little snippet I wrote last week, we know several things.

1- Our main character, Marken, (The spelling of which I believe I’ve changed to Markin, just for future reference) has infiltrated a group of outlaws. He his doing some sort of undercover work and is trying to keep them from guessing he isn’t really one of them. Beyond that, we don’t know exactly what he’s trying to accomplish.

2- These outlaws are a bloodthirsty group. They aren’t like Robin Hood’s Merry Men. They think nothing of killing for pleasure.

3- Markin is not like the group he is infiltrating. He has values and a respect for life. This causes a conflict and puts his mission in jeopardy.

The things I need to figure out to make a bigger story plot are:

1- What is Markin hoping to accomplish by infiltrating the outlaw group?

2- What exactly is the group doing that makes it so important to achieve this?

3- What could happen if Markin fails?

These are the big questions I want to answer to give me an idea of how this story is going to go. I don’t have to know all the details yet. In fact, I don’t even have to know exactly how it ends, but I do want to know that much. Here are the answers I have come up with:

The outlaw band has been plaguing Aviandria for a while, but they are well organized, and nobody has been able to bring them to justice. If this isn’t bad enough, there has been a rumor that the group is plotting something against the royal family. Exactly what is still unknown. Because of this, it is decided that somebody needs to go undercover and find out more about this group, and if there is a plot, they need to find a way to stop it. As one of the most skilled members of the Aviandrian special forces team, Markin is given this assignment. If he fails, his life, as well as the lives of the royal family, could be forfeit.

This will, of course, have to be expanded quite a bit, but now I have more than just a blurb that gives a hint of a story. We know why that little scene took place. This gives me a pretty good idea of what the story is going to be about. It doesn’t answer all the hows yet, but it answers most of the whys. Later, we will look further into the whos, the hows, and the whats. I also need to figure out the exact details of the where and the when. I know it’s in Aviandria, but I don’t know the region. Also, because I already kind of know who Markin is (he is actually mentioned in another story I am in the middle of) I have a pretty good idea of when this happens, but like I said, there could be details that need further investigation.

Well, now that we have the next step—the plot idea—down, we can move on to the next thing next week. The next thing for me will probably be discovering more of the who, so next week we will take a brief look at some of our main characters.

If you were writing a story, what is the next thing you would do? What other pieces would you want to know?

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