First make a list of pivotal events from your (or character’s) life: for example, first day of school, a move to a new home, a first kiss, first loss of a family member, etc.
Choose an event from your list. Free-write for 10 minutes what comes to mind in response to these questions:
• What did you (or your character) desire in your life before this pivotal event?
• When and how did this desire begin or intensify significantly? Could this be the beginning of your story?
• Did you have a struggle in trying to fulfill this desire?
• Did you learn anything from the struggle?
• How did you change after the final pivotal event? • What did you do that indicated this change?
• What did you realize when this stage in your life came to an end?
• What do you perceive now as you remember it? When you read over your answers, you may begin to sense a story: a desire, a struggle and a conclusion.
A native Montanan, Heidi M. Thomas now lives in North-central Arizona. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, is based on her grandmother, and the sequel, Follow the Dream, won the national WILLA Award. Heidi has a degree in journalism, a certificate in fiction writing, and is a member of Northwest Independent Editors Guild. She teaches writing and edits, blogs, and is working on the next books in her “Dare to Dream” series.