How do you come up with your stories?

There have been times when I would come up with a neat character, like Jimmy Zangwow, but wasn’t sure what to do with him. Where could I send him? What could he do? What trials and tribulations awaited him?

Story structure has been a very important factor in the books that I have created. And the study of how stories are built, tested, and received by the reader, is a fascinating one. There are some great books which may inspire you.

First, I found a book about the most common plots used in modern storytelling. The book, 20 Master Plots, gives many examples of the various plot structures that make up most of today’s stories; whether they are for a book, television, or motion picture.

I am a big fan of the classic “Quest Plot” and Joseph Campbell’s book, Hero of 1000 Faces. I first learned of Joseph and his theories when doing research on George Lucas and how he created the Star Wars myth.

Taking Campbell’s theory and putting it into a storyteller’s toolbox, is a fantastic book that deals with nothing but the “Quest Plot” called The Writer’s Journey. This book discusses the various points a hero must make on his journey to become a true hero, and the archetypal characters he meets along the way that help/hinder him.

Did you ever wonder why Merlin and Gandalf and Obi-Wan Kenobi were all similar types of characters? Read The Writer’s Journey and you’ll know why.

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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.