by Alex

Hi. I tend to get an idea in my head for a scene and can't figure out where to go with it as far as plot goes. What might I be able to do to help inspire me to figure out possible outcomes to build the scene into a story?

Answer: Here are some things you might try:

1. The simplest approach is to ask yourself questions like...

What happens next? (i.e. after the scene)
What are the consequences?
What happened before?
What led up to this event?
Why does this happen?
Who are these people?

Brainstorm lots of possible answers. Eventually some answers will inspire you.

2. A more specific approach...

If you consider the basic structure of a dramatic arc, which is...

setup (potential for trouble) --> complication (conflict) --> crisis (turning point) --> resolution

... then you might ask yourself which of the four stages your scene represents.

Once you know which stage it represents, you can then brainstorm to fill in the other three stages and so construct a complete arc.

3. A more general approach...

Brainstorm a list of all the possible questions you could ask about the scene, including the ones above. All questions are valid.

Once you've done this, brainstorm a list of possible answers to each question.

Then choose the answers you like and incorporate them into the story.

Repeat this until your story idea is well developed and you are excited to write it.

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