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Turning a pitch into a piece


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Bah. Unpithy title. So.

...okay. I need help. 

I have...pitched a lot of ideas at people. An annoying amount, I suspect.

Part of why I do so is because... I have no idea how to turn a decent idea into an actual story, a concept into a world or a plot...

So...yeah. Any advice on how to address that flawed?

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I assume you have recorded all your ideas? In that case, I suggest you categorise them. See what works together. Then, assuming you've also had ideas for worlds and people. Group them in a way that makes sense. A story isn't made of one decent idea. It's made of many, many, many ideas that intervene, and interlock together. I'm pretty sure that Brandon said that one decent idea may be good for a short story, but in the long run it will fall apart quickly.

I suggest, once you have mixed an matched your ideas. Start making "example" scenes, where you can portray the ideas. Just to help yourself out when writing the actual story.

Once all that is done, you have great material to use and awesome ideas to extrapolate! You just need to put together those pieces in a convincing, unique, and overall entertaining way :) 

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*Silently fistpumps*

Metaphorically: Throw all your ideas in a bag, shake, throw them at the wall, see which ones cluster together

The more grotesque ideas (like the skin magic) can become one story and so on.

I know most of your ideas are for magic systems and settings, so expand those, what characters would fit in these worlds and have these abilities? What would these characters want? What horrifying and terrible things could you do to these characters? What horrifying things can you do to this world?

Now I sound like a self help article for struggling writers... woops...

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Try taking a magic system you particularly like, and extrapolate the world from it. Is the magic system commonly known and used, or is there a masquerade in place? If there's no masquerade, does the magic system replace what we conceive of as science, or does it complement it? How does that affect society's views of progress? Politics? Religion? Are there any contemporary controversies relating to the magic system itself or its interactions with politics, religion, or some other societal aspect? Are there any minority groups in your world, and how are they treated? Why are they a minority? 

From there, it'll be easier to think of a character to insert into all that. Where is this character from? What is their background? How do they feel about politics, religion, modern conveniences and social mores? Are they in a position of power, or close to one? What kind of conflict is there in this character's life, or what kind of conflict could arise? 

And just like that, you have a story. 

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I'm an artist (or sort of, anyway), and so many of my ideas end up expressing themselves visually at some point. I expand upon those drawings, and as I work, little pieces of story come and connect. Some of my previous ideas insert themselves very neatly into the drawing. After that, if I want to write or expound upon it, I use the Pixar formula: Once upon a time, there was ____. Every day, ____. Until one day, ____. Because of that, ____. Because of that, ____. Until finally, ____. From there, I write the plot out like a history textbook recording the events would, without too much detail. That stews for a while in my head, and I keep making the plot more complicated. Sometimes I put it into various structures you find, like the three-act structure, or the Save the Cat beat sheet (which I love.) I figure out what the chapter breaks would be, what scenes need to be in there in which setting, what conversations need to be in the scenes, what needs to happen in those conversations. From there, it's not too much of a stretch to turn it into actual prose. 

The real magic happens in the stewing phase. I think about it when I go to sleep, when I take showers, when I'm driving. Things just happen during then that make it work. I have a few ideas a day for stories, but I have to focus on just a few to make them work. Makes me sad but whatcanyoudo 

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