How to Build a Story from the Foundation Up

My husband and I just purchased our first home, and we are so excited about finally “putting down roots”. We came upon the house when it was still just a skeleton; and we watched as they slowly added the ceiling and walls, plumbing, electricity, flooring, windows, and doors. We had the opportunity to select the color of paint for the walls, the style of counter-tops, and the tile and carpeting for our floors. What a different look for our home when we added on to the foundation and filled in the skeleton!

house foundation photoWriting a story, whether it is a short story or a novel, is just like building a house. You must first start with a foundation. This is, of course, the idea stage. What story do you want to tell? If you are experiencing writer’s block, try to write about what you know. If you have never been to Spain, then don’t try to write a story about Spain unless you plan to do extensive research on the country.

Once you have set up your foundation, you will need to build a skeleton. Jot down your thoughts and ideas in an outline and build on them. This stage is an excellent time to create your characters for your story and to develop their attributes. Are they tall? Do they have brown hair? What is their position in your story? As you create your outline, you should also be thinking about the setting of your story and how you characters fit into that setting.

Now it is finally time to start adding your walls and ceiling. Begin to put your characters and settings together to tell your story. A good story usually includes a protagonist and an antagonist meeting in a controversial moment. Think of your story like a roller coaster ride. Start rolling your story uphill to the climactic event, and then fly downhill to end your story.

writer photoOnce you have created your story, you can start painting the walls and choosing the type of carpet you want. Read your story again and add extra meat to your characters or to the theme. Consider creating more dialogue or changing the ending. Ask for someone you trust to read your story and offer constructive criticism.

Now that you have built your story, start selling to prospective buyers. Send your manuscript out to a wide variety of publishers, remembering to not be discouraged by the number of rejection notices you will receive. There is someone out there looking for your story if you will be consistent in your search. Remember to follow these tips, and you are well on your way to becoming a writing success!

Photo by BoneDaddy.P7 How to Build a Story from the Foundation Up