One of the most fun things about writing is coming up with new things to write about! To just dream up new ideas, new plots, new places, new stories.
Currently I have 3 WIP’s that I’m definitely going to write, and 3-4 that I’m still working, to figure out whether or not I think they’ll work.
And it’s so fun! I love just exploring new ideas, designing worlds, cultures, characters and people, their plots, subplots and relationships.
But sometimes I get a bit stuck. I’ll get so comfortable with an idea, that I don’t know how to pull it in the right direction. I end up not knowing what to change, or where to take the plot, because I don’t want anything to change!
…But we all know we have to let go sometimes. So I designed a few tricks to help me evolve the WIP. These are a list of things I usually use to check if my story is going where it needs to go. I’ll take every one of these in turn, hold up against my WIP, and see if it works out better or worse, then I might throw the idea away, or keep it.
- Change the genre. Does my thriller have to be a thriller? Could it work as a scifi adventure? Can I keep the same basic plotlines, but changes the subgenre completely?
- Change the time and place. What if my story happened 200 years earlier? Will my story still work? What if it’s 400 years later? Can I add a dystopian element?
- Reverse the roles. What if the protagonist and antagonist change places. Can I tell the same story from the reversed perspective? Will this add to or take away from my original thought? For better or worse?
- Everyone swaps genders. (A smaller one, but it works great). Do my men have to be men and my women women? Is it necessary for any of my characters to be the specific gender they started out as? What can I write differently if I swap?
- Antagonist is two characters. Not a split personally type of thing, no. Can I split the role the antagonist plays, in two, and give them to two separate characters? Will they be dependent on each other, and will it work?
- Change perspective/storytelling. Can I tell my story backwards? (Typical Hollywood-lost-memory-flick, opening scene is actually the end.) Can I tell it from someone outside of the actual plot? (This often happens to a degree in anything that has to do with invesitgations, as they have to piece it together, but can you go even further?)
- Cut or add characters. Find any character that isn’t super integral to the plot and remove them. How many are you left with, can they work out the story alone? Or, find roles for 10 new characters. What will they do, and how will they affect the story?
- Timespan. Reduce the timespan of your story to one single day, 24 hours. Could it work? Is it more exciting, or just confusing? Reverse it and drag your story out across 60 years. How will such an amount of time passing affect your story? Could you add interesting subplots, or will it just be dull?
Please let me know in the comments how you work through your WIPs, and please add tips and tricks you use to evolve your ideas!