Today’s shoutout goes to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Amazon bestselling Ninja Cap’n, who’s busy with the A to Z Challenge these days. He’s here today to talk about What if’s, and his new book: Dragon of the Stars. Take it away, Alex!
As writers, we’re always on the lookout for our next story idea. We become master observers of people and situations. We’ll jot down notes and start storylines that may or may not go anywhere.
Sometimes we have a spark, but it just doesn’t seem to take. Or maybe it doesn’t go in a direction that’s exciting. We’re bummed and tempted to shelve the idea.
Maybe what we need is to explore that idea from a new angle. Flip it around and turn it into something different. That might be just thing to ignite interest again.
What are some ways we can shift the pieces of the puzzle around?
- Reverse the roles. Take the main characters are reverse their position in the storyline.
- Change the time period. Shift the story forward or backward.
- Change the setting. Urban instead of rural, small city instead of big, desert instead of mountains, etc.
- Try a different country. Would it be more exciting set in a different culture?
- How about a different or additional genre? A mystery in space? A historical paranormal?
- Go for the worst case scenario. Part of the story isn’t very exciting? Ramp it up – what is the worst thing that could happen?
- Brainstorm with other writers. Sometimes sharing the idea with those we trust will lead to a revelation.
- Brainstorm on our own. Throw everything out there, including the kitchen sink. No rules, no restrictions–just go nuts!
Any of those changes can make all the difference in the world. My latest book, Dragon of the Stars, came from a song and a little ‘What If?’ Ayreon’s Dragon on the Sea was about Queen Elizabeth I sending Sir Francis Drake to fight the Spanish Armada. The dragon in the song refers to Drake, but I wondered–what if the dragon was the ship? What if it was a spaceship instead? What if the Queen sent a Nobleman to find that ship? From that point, the story unfolded quickly, with the ending coming from a rather twisted ‘What if?’.
So, if a story needs a little something, try ‘What if?’
Alex J. Cavanaugh works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. He is also the guitarist in a Christian band. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm. His latest book, Dragon of the Stars, came out April 7, 2015. Purchase it on Amazon – Barnes and Noble – Kobo – Chapters – Amazon UK – Goodreads – iTunes – Amazon Print – Overdrive. Find Alex here, and on Twitter.
Who else has had a story unfold with a little help from ‘What if?’ What have you been doing this March and April? Have you been to the blog by Alex J. Cavanaugh? Have you bought Dragon of the Stars yet?
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