As you all know I talk a lot about writing and the different aspects of it.  Recently I got to wondering about where it all begins.  Where do most stories originate or come from in the first place?  Naturally the answer is a person gets an idea and starts to explore different avenues with it.  But that wasn’t good enough of an answer to me.  I had to ask, where does the idea come from in the first place?    Where does idea get its beginning?  What if…  I began to ask and then stopped.  I’d just found my answer.

Two little words… that’s all it takes for a story idea to be born.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Oh no, my friends those two little words keep popping up throughout the writing process.  Time and time again, I find myself asking or thinking those two words as I’m working on scene after scene.  Or if I’m trying to decide which direction to take the story next.

Ask yourself, how many times do you find yourself wondering who’s going to be the love interest for your main character?  What sex is the character going to be?  Who or what is going to be the big obstacle for my protagonist to overcome in this story?

Basically we find ourselves at crossroads time and again wondering which direction to head in next.  We can ponder these questions for minutes, hours, days or even longer.  Every decision we make with our writing brings us back to asking the same question over and over again…  “What if… I do such and such next…”

“What if…” they’re not big words really.  Yet they have so much impact on our writing that it seems almost impossible to even create anything without them being involved at least once.  For me they keep popping up over and over.  They’re like old friends who help me move things along when I’m really stuck.  Because those words are so powerful, they help me realize that I don’t always have to choose between one of two or three paths.

Instead, I can say to myself, “What if I take things in a totally different direction the reader never saw coming?”

Suddenly I’m off and running again because those two words reminded me that I make the path where the story heads.  My options are not always limited.  They empower me to take the reader to places they never saw coming and hopefully have them cheering as they continue reading.  I don’t always like to be predictable in my stories.  I like to make unexpected twists and turns that makes the reader gasp in delight.  When people read my first novel “The Bridge” they thought they were merely reading  horror/mystery story.  They had no idea that I was going to suddenly throw in huge science fiction twist during the final conflict that suddenly changed the entire mood of the piece.  They found themselves thrown into a whole new world of excitement and intrigue, and it was all thanks to the words “What if…”

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please leave your remarks in the comments section below.

Until next time, take care of yourselves and keep writing everyone.

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