Nuts and bolts……

……….. Make your ideas work


For a successful story you’re going to need three things:


One or more characters

It helps if we like your protagonist (the main character), but that doesn’t always have to be the case. The important thing is that we empathise with them. Then we start caring about them, and this makes us want to carry on reading. We want to find out what happens to them.


 A setting, where the story takes place

Where-ever it is, a living room, a busy department store, the middle of the moors, or the far side of the moon, the reader should be able to picture what’s going on in his/her head. This doesn’t  require paragraphs of description. A phrase can sometimes paint a few brushstrokes which inspire the reader to fill in the rest of the details from his/her imagination.


Two characters. A setting. So, what's the plot?
Two characters. A setting. So, what’s the plot?

 A plot

There’s a problem that needs to be solved, or some sort of conflict to overcome. It could be that someone is treated like a servant by her step-sisters and is desperate to go to the forthcoming ball. Or maybe someone has to deal with a control freak at work. Or perhaps the problem lies within the protagonist himself. Can he pluck up the courage to do that bungee jump he boasted about and signed up for? Did he really think he could impress that sporty-looking girl at the gym?




Next time you read a really good short story, ask yourself, why do I like it? Why does this work so well?

Think about the following:

  • What made me like or empathise with the main character?

  • Which words or phrases made me visualize the setting in my mind?

  • Why was the plot successful? Was it different, funny, quirky?


Characters, settings and plots are the nuts and bolts of story-writing.

Make yours memorable.P1130301



Frog: (haughtily)
Isn’t it obvious?
I’m trying to empathise with the birds.



Rubber balls and marbles…….

…….. Quick! Grab a pen.

Inspiration seem to come at the strangest of times, but never ever when you’re sitting in front of a blank screen. Unless you’re exceptionally lucky or remarkably gifted perhaps.

So, one day it happens.    5b

Ideas rain down like rubber balls from the sky.  But what if it’s the middle of the night? Or you’re having coffee with a friend in your favourite café? Or sitting on the bus?

It’s so easy to think you’ll remember all your ideas. You rely on your memory. And back at the computer, you find your brainchildren have bounced away like marbles down a drain.

Carry a notebook and a pen.

Everywhere. Jot down your ideas, or just a few key words to help you focus later.

Ideas are the gold-dust of writing.

Don’t let them slip like sand through your fingers.


Frog: (defensively)

No, I am not losing my marbles. I am simply demonstrating an idea.