The Writing Process



If you already have an idea you’re working on, try one of the following - or a combination of both.


Try to pitch the idea (‘the Novum') and the issues it might generate in one sentence. Then expand it into a paragraph.


Write a sketch of the central character - back-story, external/internal conflicts (as discussed above)


Write an overview of the world(s) or society in which the story develops.

 Then expand it toa paragf


Think of an image, however vague or fragmented that embodies the concept and expand it into a paragraph. Think about landscape, inscape, interior and exterior imagery.


If you’re starting from scratch here are some options:


Create an Alien: Designing an alien can spark a few story ideas. One approach could be to pick an environment, like a Martian desert, and design an alien based on how they'd survive within it. After you have your creation in hand, you can then flesh out your alien. You could determine how they reproduce,  food they might eat, etc. How do they communicate with humans?


Predict the End of the World: 

What type of an event would change the world forever? When and where would this event occur? How would the event start? By attempting to predict the end of the world, your imagination can travel in some interesting directions and naturally explore the causes and effects of the event you're predicting. 


Design an Invention:. Some of these "inventions" are organically-based, like a bio-organic ship or weapon. Others might employ nanotechnology, like a "living" spy mechanism that exists in your bloodstream, or an energy field, like a fish tank that is contained by an invisible force field. Consider the social implications of your invention, its intended and unintended consequences (e.g the. Internet) 

(Adapted from Monica Valentinelli).


Ten miscellaneous prompts 


A distant solar system is destroyed and Earth becomes a prize that several species are fighting over.


Scientists know how to prolong human life indefinitely. Should they share the secret?


Volcanos which have been dormant for centuries have started erupting - and the creatures they’ve been concealing rise with them.


An old lady on vacation takes a rare plant cutting from a holy site. It grows into something unexpected and unwelcome..


The year is 1623. A visitor comes to a small, tribal village. The visitor is wearing blue jeans, an old rock-band tee shirt, and a fedora and is carrying a pack that contains a solar-powered laptop computer.


Transistors no longer function reliably and society has to revert to analogue technology. 


An AI orbiting the Earth in a satellite wants to intervene to save the human race from its own folly.


A neuroscientist running a sleep research lab attempts to manipulate and combine the dreams of his subjects.


A government lab is using people with supposed precognitive skills to predict the outcome of government policy.


An experimental spacecraft designed by the Nazis in WW2 is unearthed decades later in an abandoned UK airfield.


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©Paul Green 2017