How to Use the Story Creation Handbook
For whom is this book designed?
You will find potentially thousands of story options in these pages. But where you choose to begin depends on your particular needs.
There are several groups for whom this book might prove absolutely invaluable, including (but not limited to):
1. Those who want to write a story but are stuck for where to begin.
Just begin at the beginning of the book and work your way through. Each page of the prompt section provides the seed of an idea plus innumerable ways of bringing that idea to life. Vary the routes, genres, combinations, characters and more to invent vibrant, energy-filled fiction each time.
2. Those who have been given a ‘brief’ by a publication or competition and need something that fits.
Take the magic framework given by this book and work it according to your brief. For example, if you need to write a Romance story featuring an old man, start with the ‘Wise Old Man’ archetype, plug him into the Comic genre (which includes romance), select a setting and some images and off you go. In no time, you will have created an entirely original story using templates which readers will recognise and love.
3. Those who have written something which doesn’t quite ‘work’.
Run your piece through the framework and see if you can spot what’s missing. Feed in the missing ‘bits’ and watch your story come to life.
4. Those who want to revitalise an existing piece.
Take any piece of fiction you have written in the past. Using the framework herein, you can transform it into an entirely fresh, life-packed story which will attract attention in new ways. (Plus there’s a whole huge Bonus Section at the end on revitalising work.)
5. Those who want to experiment with new angles and new forms.
Play with the tools presented here. You will find almost limitless ways of telling a story in bright, new, creative and exciting ways.
6. Those suffering from ‘writer’s block’.
The tools contained in this book will blow apart any barriers which are stopping invention and creativity from triumphing.
7. Those who just want to have fun writing.
Again, play with each step.
This book is totally unlike any other book on writing that you have ever seen. That’s because it’s based on combinations of options which will effectively mean that a writer using it will have thousands upon thousands of choices for stories that will all be based on the firm foundations of fiction, as outlined in How Stories Really Work.
For example, you might start out with a simple prompt like ‘Someone falls deeply in love.’ But then the writer is presented with Four Basic Genres into which to fit this scenario: should this relationship be a Tragedy? Or somehow Ironic? Or should it be Comic? Or is it an Epic tale? Each one of those four choices brings with it certain story templates which give the tale a basic story shape.
In addition, though, the writer is provided with the Seven Character Archetypes through which to view the incident — is the ‘refusal’ from the viewpoint of an Antagonist? A Shadow Protagonist? A Submerged Companion? Or is it told through a standard Protagonist, an Emerging Companion, a Comic Companion or a Wise Old Figure?
Furthermore, what setting does the writer want to place this tale in? A legendary fantasy/mythic environment? A historic setting? Is it to be a ‘down-to-earth’ realistic scene? Or some kind of science fiction future? And so on.
Other options are provided too, including Style and Format.
So you can calculate already that, out of an original prompt of ‘Someone falls deeply in love’, the writer has a huge number of possibilities. He or she might want to have the piece be Comic in nature, but told from the viewpoint of a Shadow Protagonist, but in a Victorian setting; or they might want to create a Tragedy, told from the Submerged Companion angle, but set in contemporary New York.
The possibilities are almost endless, just from one initial scenario.
Things get even more interesting when one realises that any of the initial prompts and their chosen paths can be combined into longer tales.
So The Story Creation Handbook becomes a kind of encyclopaedia of story potential, with everything based on tried, true and tangible foundations of fiction. It also includes tips on reinvigorating existing work and much more. More than an encyclopaedia, in fact: the Handbook is a fiction-making machine with extraordinary possibilities.
Please let me know how you go with it.
—Grant P. Hudson