Saturday, September 13, 2008

Story Starters: Cooking up a Story Idea

If you are having trouble generating new story ideas, then it may be time to try a different approach to writing a story. Let's explore the world of food from a writer's angle.

Cookbooks are big sellers. There are enough sales generated by cookbooks that some book stores only stock food related books and magazines. We see books of recipes in the grocery stores, department stores, corner stores, kitchen equipment stores and in most homes. The preparation of food is something each generation needs to learn about.

To cook up a story, start by writing out one of your favorite recipes. Believe it or not, your story is now almost done. Your recipe will be the focal point of your creation. It will become the middle part.

Recipes are not restricted to food. You could write down:
  • the recipe for love or friendship

  • a witch's brew

  • a craft idea, such as play-dough, paints, homemade glue, paper
  • an invention, like a new fuel, a new medication that cures the common cold, a fertilizer which will grow giant watermelons, a vitamin that gives one super-hero strength

Now think about adding some more ingredients to the mix. Will you write about finding this recipe and trying it out? Will you have your character include this recipe in a letter to a friend? Is this a family recipe which already has a story behind it, passed on through the years? Will your main character be a scientist who goes on to experience fame and fortune with the winning formula?

Leaving your recipe in the middle of your piece lets you finish the story in two more parts.
  • Beginning: Describe what is going on before the recipe is revealed to your readers.
  • Ending: Explain what happens after the characters in the story are aware of the recipe.

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