Start with a germ, build to a story.
I don’t know about you, but when I started writing, I don’t think I really understood the difference between a concept and a story. In practice what this meant is that I would get super excited about a concept (vampire office worker, man-eating mermaids, etc.). Drunk with enthusiasm, I would dive in and write and write and write, and somehow I would never quite move beyond the concept to the story. Sure, I might have written a few decent scenes that captured the quiet desperation of my office drone vampire, but that was it. Nothing happened. Concepts by nature are flat, one-note flashes of inspiration until they’re fleshed out, but it took me dozens of drafts (a few finished, most abandoned midway) to realize why my stacks of manuscript pages never felt like real novels. (more…)