5 Ways To Create A Space for A Story To Grow

5 Ways To Create A Space for A Story To Grow


Stories sometimes hide from us. They need to be coaxed from the imagination to the page. Here are 5 ways to create a space for a story to grow.

We often come to a new story or novel with a preconceived idea of how it’s going to look, and how we’re going to write it. Other times, we don’t have any idea how to start – and so we stay stumped.

This week, let’s think of a different way to approach the creative process. Let’s start with a clean slate. Let’s take another route – not the shortest way but the path that will allow us to explore a story to it’s full potential.

5 Ways To Create A Space for A Story To Grow

Wait it out. Don’t be too eager or impatient to start committing the idea to paper. Let it roll around in your head for a few days. Often a flaw or an even better idea will present itself to you. Listen to the story as it simmers before you decide on the final recipe.

Colour to the edge of the page. Don’t stick too narrowly to the idea of the story, but explore it to the point where you can’t take it any further. Start in the middle of a blank page and create as many idea ‘bubbles’ around it as you can. At this point, don’t dismiss any ideas – no matter how outrageous.

Take away the fences. Don’t stick to the constraints of genre. Say you’re writing a detective story – explore the idea of a love story alongside it, or elements of horror or humour. Watch movies or read novels outside of your chosen genre. You may not use all – or any – of these, but it’s a good experiment.

Follow your character. Don’t ignore your main character for the sake of plot. Snoop around him for a while – follow his life for a week. What are his habits? What is his secret? Write about what keeps him up at night.

The Spiral Approach. Don’t think of your story as a linear structure – but rather as a spiral staircase, taking you up or down in the story. Start anywhere in the story rather the beginning. Start with one incident and then explore the ‘floor’ beneath it, and then the one above it.

The truth is that stories sometimes hide from us. They need to be coaxed, cajoled, seduced from the imagination to the page. Give them space to grow, to come to life.

What works best for you?

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.

by Anthony Ehlers

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. Angry Characters And What To Do With Them
  2. The Crowded Dream: Letting Go of Guilt
  3. Baggage Check – What’s Stopping You From Being A Happy Writer?

Top Tip: Find out more about our workbooks and online courses in our shop.