Look around you at all times. What is going on? What is not going on? No matter where I am, I can see something to inspire a story, and it comes from my everyday life.
Honestly, don’t you see stories where you work? Don’t you see them at family functions? It can literally be anything. I once wrote an entire novella off of one incident that didn’t last thirty seconds at work. Remember that as a writer the story doesn’t have to be exact. Use creative license and create something really good and different.
It is always good to make notes. Even if it is a text to yourself. Just make sure you write something down so you’ll remember it later.
I was with some women for Happy Hour. The interactions between them were perfect for a story. I watched, listened, and participated while making mental notes. Later I wrote them down. I’ve even texted them to myself.
Expand on Reality
Take what you see and add to it. One little incident might happen in real life, but in your mind you could have it so much bigger. It could be more comical, more dramatic, more fantastical. Add a few extra characters or turn everyone into small creatures or supernatural beings. It doesn’t have to mimic reality exactly right.
Okay, I don’t think the title will be Creepy Novellas, but that is what I call them. This is actually a re-release of two novellas, The Abang Aku and The Baba Yaga. This time they will be combined into one ebook and possibly print versions. So excited.
Here are a couple of excerpts for you today.
From The Abang Aku:
Nothing could be seen as it moved. Nothing could be heard, but it did move. It stirred as it felt the soul open up to the journey. It had found life.
The man scratched his chin not realizing what was stirring to life behind him. His thoughts were on what he had wanted and never obtained. He first thought was of his job, but he had what he wanted and more was coming. He thought of his home and could think of nothing. He then thought of family, and his body stiffened.
From The Baba Yaga:
“No! The woods are alive. You lied to me. My brother came here. Where is he?” Adriana stood up and leaned across the table, squaring off with the old woman. The smell of the food hit her hard. Something within her wanted to answer the call and sit down to eat.
Characters in stories are more than just names. They are multi-dimensional people forced into a two-dimensional world. They came from somewhere and are going somewhere else. Show the reader through the histories of your characters.
What is History?
I could be a snot and say it is the past. It is, but there is so much more to it when you are talking about your characters. Let’s start by asking yourself these questions about your character.
- Where is your character from? If they are from a foreign country, there is a history as to why they are here now. What brought them to this country? If they were born here, how do they fit in the society presented?
- What past relationships did they have? Is there a history here that will interfere in the story?
We all have histories.
In a way, there are no limits to the history of a character. You are not bound by actual events. You are not bound by anything but your imagination and logic. Okay, those two don’t sound like good partners, but in creative writing they have to be.
Your characters can be anything and have gone anywhere as long as you keep timelines straight. They couldn’t have been in New York at the same time as they were in Paris. You cannot be thirteen when you leave for college, unless you create a prodigy character. Let your imagination run wild with history while keeping it as believable as possible.
You can have a lot of fun with a character’s history. You can give them a comedic background where the reader is laughing at what they have encountered. You can give them an adventurous past or a horrific past. It is completely up to your imagination. All you have to do is keep them in character.
The Core of the Character
Remember that the history of the character is what has shaped them. You want their past to truly represent who they are now. I am who I am because of how I was raised, my interactions or lack of with my siblings, my education, my friends, and all the experiences I have had. The same has to be true for your characters. Be creative but stay true to your character.