Time for a non-story post! I’m in the process of revising chapter 1, so I can’t really put out new content… well, I suppose I could, but that would be a bit more work than I want to commit to. In the meantime, I thought I’d share my thoughts on how I come up with my stories.
All stories ever have conflict; it’s what makes them a story. There’s a central problem that must be overcome, and the story tells how it’s handled. Therefore, to come up with a good story, you’ve got to come up with a conflict.
Conflicts don’t have to be on the epic scale. You can craft a good story around just about any problem there is. “We’re out of eggs” is as valid of a central conflict as “we’ve been enslaved by the dark lord of evil,” and might actually be easier to write a story about, as that’s a situation that’s much more familiar to just about everyone.
Of course, there’s no reason you can’t have a big, huge, important-sounding central conflict. It will definitely make your story sound more exciting when its summarized.
There is one thing to be aware of when deciding on your central conflict. In general, the larger the scale of the central conflict, the more writing that has to be done to support it. This is not always true, but it’s going to be really hard to write a story about the conquest of the dark masters that is as short as a story about getting more eggs.
Remember, there is no such thing as a bad central conflict. If it’s a problem that needs fixing, you can tell a story about how it’s fixed.