Developing Story Ideas

Developing Story Ideas: The Power and Purpose of Story Telling 3rd Edition
By Michael Rabiger
288 pages printed in paperback. ISBN 978-1-138-95623-0
Published by: Focal Press

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I was drawn to this book by the prospect of learning how to develop story ideas. It seemed like an excellent complement to the book I just finished reading “20 Master Plots”.

The first few sections of the book provide you with backgrounds of storytelling and the creative process. It lists some tools that the aspiring writer might use to gather ideas on locations, characters, and situations (CLOSAT – Character, Location, Object, Situation, Act, and Theme). Sort of gathering a collection from day-to-day activities that can be useful in your storytelling. It shows the reader, by examples, how the reader can develop their characters using the previous tools.

The book then delves into examples of story types. Chapters 13 to 21 discuss a story type, and provide examples and homework assignments. The author then discusses working in collaboration with other writers. Finally, the last sections look at what kind of writer you are, what a career in writing might look like, and some formats that you can use when submitting your finished work.

From the beginning, the author has stated that we can use this book as a self-help guide, in the classroom or in a writers’ group. Each chapter has plenty of homework geared to emphasize or reinforce the lessons learned. And yes, as a reference, the book has examples that help in this area. But, I feel that you get the most out of this book by engaging in group discussions.

As far as working on the assignments, I found little motivation to work on these and have no one to receive meaningful feedback from. I’ve worked on the CLOSAT exercises as this makes perfect sense.

I see myself working on the other assignments as part of a study group. But this is for the future.

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