How to create a story-FROM WHAT?

While reading “The Curse of Beauty: The Scandalous & Tragic Life of Audrey Munson, America’s First Supermodel” I was struck by lightning, or to put it another way, a light bulb lit up over my head in a cartoon panel; in other words I had an idea.

Audrey Munson was a young woman of great beauty in the early years of the 20th century. She posed for every great sculptor of her time, not to mention painters, illustrators, and photographers. She was in high demand because during this neo-classical time before modernism became the mode of the day, she had, according to artists, the classical Greek form. She also appeared in two early silent films, appearingnude, which she frequently did posing for sculptors.,

In the book the author talked about the artists and how they would make sketches from all angles before making a clay model, then onto the actual sculpture. It dawned on me as the light bulb grew to full illumination that a writer can do the same thing, make sketches I mean.

I could in essence sketch the story before writing. So I thought I would try it for a short story that I must submit by September 1st. I have the beginning of the story, the problem that the protagonist encounters and what problems would arise with said problem and how it will end. You may think I created an outline, but I did not and this is why. It was free form, writing what came to mind without any undue thought process, one thing leading to another, thoughts, ideas within ideas, flowing from brain to fingertips, fingertips to tapping keys, and showing up in Word.doc. I wasn’t outlining by thinking, I was sketching by not thinking, coming up with a sentence here and there, more words, phrases, something to work from.

I would show you exactly what I did, but then you will have all you need to write your story from my notes, win yourself a Pulitzer, get a book deal with a New York publisher, make millions, have swimsuit models draped on your arm-or undraped if you prefer-and get you face on the cover of Writers Digest. I think you understand why I can’t share. Besides with success come problems. You will have too much money and fame, and that leads to drugs, addiction and the murder of a swimsuit model, and you spend the rest of your life in prison. So I am saving you from a life you don’t want. You’re very welcome.

So if you want to write a story, write a sentence or an idea, and then let your mind roam, writing down any thought that comes based on the sentence. Think of it as word association, but using at times more than one word. Example: Using the famous opening, “It was a dark and stormy night”-dark-power outage in the neighborhood-what kind of storm-rain? Meteor? Sand? Maybe a rainstorm in a desert-what is going wrong with the climate- a climatologist is in danger-is it the apocalypse? Well you get the idea. Let you mind go crazy and create a sketch of ideas to build your story on.

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