How To Turn Your Ideas Into Stories

By on October 25, 2018
How To Turn Your Ideas Into Stories - Writer's

There is nothing more gratifying to a writer than when a brilliant idea for a new story suddenly gallops up and bursts into our imaginations. That first spark of inspiration where you think ‘I’m really onto something here,’ and your heart starts racing and your fingers start itching to put pen to paper to make sure you don’t lose it, is somewhat magical indeed.

It is probably one of the most exciting parts of the writing process overall.

That’s not to say it’s all downhill from here, but it is essential to recognize how to translate these brilliant ideas into stories that will work, and perhaps even more crucial, to identify when that brilliant idea you had just isn’t going to work and have the ability to let it go.

So how do you kickstart the writing process and turn ideas into stories?

Here are some useful tips.

Brainstorm (freely)

In the initial stages, it is crucial to have an ‘anything goes’ attitude. Don’t be too hard on yourself from the outset or you might never feel able to flesh out your ideas well enough to make a start.

Brainstorming is a fantastic way to start exploring your idea, to delve in a little deeper and begin to take shape as a story. The more you can write about it, and the more aspects you can get down, the more options you have. Remember, it’s important not to hold back, you might go off on a few weird and wonderful tangents, but they could lead to something brilliant.


Proper research is essential for any novel, no matter what you are writing about. So whatever kind of idea you have there will always be something you can do to investigate it further. Research can be incredibly useful because not only are you learning more about the topics you intend to bring into your book (and will, therefore, be better at writing about them) you also might unearth further nuggets of inspiration to motivate you even more.

Clarify and pin down your theme and the central idea

Once you have finished brainstorming and doing some initial research, you should now be able to sit down and pinpoint what the ideas and themes that are going to hold your novel together are. The more precisely you can define this the more sturdy your idea will be. Without this, it’s easy to lose focus and with it the point of your novel, so doing this in the early stages can be very helpful.

Start to work on your characters

A great story only works with fantastic characters that are exciting and engaging from the outset. Before you start to write your novel you need to understand the main characters goals and motivations, how they might develop throughout the story and what conflicts and obstacles are going to get in their way.

Start to incorporate subplots

Now try to build upon your central theme and plot and start to weave in smaller side stories or other ideas that complement them. Your idea needs to have legs - it needs to be workable as a novel, and that means it needs to take a certain amount of time to unravel. By starting to work in sub-plots and other ideas you’ll feel more confident that this idea is going to work when you come to start writing.

And now…begin!

While it is essential to make sure your idea has got what it takes to turn it into an exciting story, don’t delay the writing process too much. Stories often reveal themselves to the writer as they write them, and there is only so much research and planning you can do before you have to trust in your imagination, creativity, and talent and just get going.

Turning your ideas into fully fleshed out stories takes time and effort, but by giving yourself a moment in the beginning to do so, you can start writing feeling more confident and assured that this idea is really going somewhere.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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