An Old Theory with a New Name
This is a topic that I have been toying with for the last few years and now I think it is time to develop the idea and chart some maps, if you will. The Story Universe is rather an old topic about knowing world that your character lives in and takes it a step deeper. This has helped especially when writing some of my bigger stories such as the series, because I was able to look at the story as more than just a period in time but a world with a history and move through out its timeline.
It always starts with a question.
All plotting starts with questions; the more you ask, the more you discover about your characters and your world. Here’s a fact: all of your characters influence and provoke each other into action and it takes more than just surface answers to understand why they behaved a certain way. What I’m referring to is character motivation. As writers we need to discover, who or what was the trigger for our characters and why they reacted the way they did. In order to answer questions like that you have to do more than make up things on the spot, instead lets look into what you already know about the story for clues and thats how we’ll discover more about the your story world. The kicker about this process is that it takes a lot of writing, especially in the planning stage of the novel. I do this as part of my plot structuring and it not only deepens my plot but I also end up with better developed characters as a result. Here’s a thought: a fully defined plot equals a fully developed character. By diving into your character’s motivations and pasts you push the story forward and round out the plot. By pushing the limits of your plot you develop deeper characters. So in short ‘Story Universe’ would be another way of talking about plotting because that is what this is focused on, discovering raw plots from the story’s belly.
In the next couple of weeks I’ll go over some tips that I have used in plotting my stories and exercises on developing your story universe and in turn you will have stronger plots and stronger characters. Later I will also discuss charting out plots because while I do chart it is limited, if I try and draw out charts for everything I find that I have too many events that over lap and then I get confused so instead I write things in summary form. But if you need charts then by all means create them. Do what works, not what the formula says.