You are an endless supply of ideas and stories. You’ve lived life, have had good and bad experiences, and have grown from those situations. How you interpret what’s happened to you can influence how you react in future situations, and this self-awareness and hindsight can help you create and develop stories.
Creating grounded characters and situations that others can relate to is a way to utilize self-awareness as a writer. This is where your internal self-awareness comes into play by exploring and analyzing real-world events and emotions from your own life. You can discover relatable moments that readers can connect to that will keep them glued to the page.
The key phrase here is connection. You aim to create characters that allow the audience to empathize and sympathize with them and their struggles or triumphs. Even in fantasy stories, we are drawn to characters who have relatable emotions, goals, and setbacks. While we all may not go on a journey like Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, our Hobbit hero’s emotional arc allows us humans to relate and connect with him.
This week, take the time to sit and write down five or six events from your life that could be the inciting incident of a new story. Take yourself back to those moments. What was going through your mind at the time? Feelings? Thoughts? What was your emotional journey through each of your chosen events?
These don’t have to be tragic; you can also utilize positive moments. The key is to explore the realness of each situation. How can those emotional beats be part of your protagonist’s larger character arc? How would an audience empathize or sympathize with your character?
Only some ideas will hit, and only some life events are worthy of being committed to paper. As you develop a keener self-awareness as a writer, you’ll gain perspective on when an idea isn’t worth pursuing over one that is.
It’s all part of the creative process, the ability to prioritize ideas worth your time, effort, and energy over those that aren’t right now.
By digging into your life and past, you can mine stories that aren’t carbon copies of the latest bestseller or Hollywood blockbuster.
Once your story idea and characters are locked in, you can take the following steps: development and drafting. We’ll talk about those in the next post.
Happy Creating, and I’ll see you next time!