Let’s start with this:
What do all stories have in common? A problem to solve. Without one, there’s no story. Take Cinderella for instance. She was cruelly treated like a slave in her own father’s home until her Fairy Godmother showed up, and sent her to a ball. She left a clue behind, a glass slipper. The prince spends the rest of the story looking for her.
Problems surround us. They might not include a glass slipper, but they are many to draw from.
This can be a problem with the government, the world, an everyday issue, or something that’s affected you personally.
For me, the first thing I wrote about was the abuse I suffered as a teen from my stepfather and how it made me feel.
I hated the idea of someone else feeling like I did and I was passionate about reaching others who felt like maybe they were all alone and the only person who felt vulnerable and helpless.
Next, you want to have a solution to the problem. What do you propose we do to fix this problem?
I wanted to encourage those going through abuse to find help and not give up. I realize that my close encounter with suicide could have been my end and I wanted others to know that life could get better. That just because they were going through something horrific now, didn’t mean that it would always be that way.
Lastly, you want to give your readers direction. What is the one call-to-action you want to leave people with?
I wanted those reading my story to find their purpose in Christ, (a relationship with Jesus) because it had been my saving grace and I knew it would make all the difference for them too.
So my worldview would look something like this for my first story. (Check out What’s your Worldview – It’s Key here)
I know the heartaches and challenges of overcoming abuse and I also know that there is hope to heal and become whole again through Jesus Christ.
My audience would be those who had been abused, are going through abuse, or will go through abuse. My view of the world would be, yes, there are bad people, evil people in the world, and even those who were supposed to protect you can let you down and hurt you. But you can overcome them, you can move forward, and you can have a happy life and future. My message would be one of optimism, & hope.
So think about your experiences, what you learned from them, and how you can help others because of them. This can help you narrow down an idea to write about.
In doing this process myself, I discovered the following:
* I love dark stories about brave people who see evil and do whatever needs to be done to overcome it. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is about a young woman who commits suicide and ends up in a library of choices to overcome her many regrets. Coraline by Neil Gaiman is spook-a-fabulous and makes you appreciate what you usually take for granted.
* I’m drawn to child protagonists in adult fiction. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is narrated by a fourteen-year-old girl who was brutely murdered. Her ghost, if you will, helps her family to find her killer. I like stories about middle-class families and the struggles of becoming an adult.
Coming-of-age stories where the protagonists reflect or deal with some sort of regret or injustice in their past. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a great example.
*I like stores that take place in rural small towns that are surrounded by mysteries and secrets. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell is a prime example, with Jewell having several in this category.
The triumph of the human spirit is hugely important to me. We all have our demons to face. One of the hardest magazine articles I ever wrote, was about those tender years of coming of age, dealing with the tornado that destroyed our community, and losing my father that same year in a terrible accident.
It was a prelude to the worst seven years of my life. So, I’m drawn to these types of survival stories.
And I’m drawn to writing about survival. My worldview centers around my passion to help others survive too. I hope if you try this exercise, it will give you more clarity about the stories you should write.
Spend fifteen minutes starting the process of analyzing your outer/inner stories outlined above. First, list out your favorite books, and consider the common themes between them. Next, reflect on your own stories. Have you found any common themes between your favorite books and your own life?
What are your five favorite books of all time? Please share in the comments section below as well as your findings.
NEXT, SEE – COMING SOON!!!