How to Construct a Story in 5 Step.

How to Construct a Story in 5 Step.


With NaNoWriMo on the horizon I thought now would be a great time to talk about how I come up with a Novel Idea. Get it. ;)  If you were wanting to participate in NaNoWriMo or simply wanting to start writing fiction in general but don’t know where to start I hope this helps! With the disclaimer that what works for me may not work for you. Feel free to take away what you like from my methods.


Step 1: Story Concept.

It always starts here for me. It usually comes to me randomly when I’m driving somewhere or while I’m in the shower. You know, doing mindless stuff, like when I’m at work.  It’s the question that drives us. “What if?”  For example: What if your planet was destroyed? What if you found out you were royalty? What if you lost something so valuable you would do anything to get it back?  

From here I start answering the question and other questions that it incites.  Almost like reverse engineering a story. What if your planet was destroyed? Well that tells me you must not have been on that planet. Why weren't you on the plant? (Maybe you’re an astronaut or you were vacationing on Neptune.) How were you not on the planet? (Mission to repair spacey type telescope or Space cruise liner.) Who destroyed the planet? (Natural disaster or pissed alien race.) Why was the planet destroyed? (Maybe those aliens were having a really bad week.) How will you now survive?

Keep the Q and A going. Keep what you like and toss what you don’t. Eventually a story concept will emerge and even a very, very rough outline.


Step 2: Characters.

Sometimes my concept and my characters come to me at the same time, sometimes they don’t. After you have your concept you can ask yourself; what kind of person would be in this situation?  How do they handle the situation? Are they funny? Are they serious?

There are hundreds of Character building lists on line. So I’m not going to get too crazy in depth with this section. Basically I flesh out my main Character then ask; who is their support system? Family? Best friend? Significant other? Then I have my secondary characters.  

Then time for what might be the most fun part. Who is making my hero’s life harder? My protagonist! Everyone loves a good bad guy these days.


Step 3: Building a Strong Outline.

So the world of writers boils down to two types of writers. Planners and Pantsers. I’m, (if you couldn’t already tell) a planner. Pantsers like to make it up as they go. Don’t get me wrong making it up as you go can be freeing but… every time I have tried this it’s like looking up to find out you're in the middle of a field miles from anything. Where’s my plot? It’s just not for me. So planner that I am, I start working an outline.

The setup: In which I do just that, introduce my character, tell ya a bit about their life. Right before a change it all.

The Trigger: Which is the event that sets the story in motion. (Boom your planet gets destroyed!)

The Midpoint: Now you throw rocks at your character. (Plot point rocks that is) Conflict, conflict, conflict!

Rising acting: Time to start solving some of your small problems and giving your character much bigger ones. All leading up to…..

The Climax: When your story reaches its crescendo. It all gets as bad as it can get and then you figure out how to fix it.

The Resolution: Where this all ends up after the conflict is over.

That’s all crazy overly simplified but that’s how I start simple. From these simple points we can build them into a lot-o-plot!


Step 4: Conflict!

After my outline I have to work out what the conflicts will be. I generally like things to be easy so I have to push myself to make life harder for my Characters. Sure the overall conflict of my story is there, but I have to work to figure out what rocks I will throw at my hero.


Step 5: Resolution.

The resolution, as I previously mentioned, is where everything ends up when the conflict is over. I’m going to so real and tell you this is my weakness. It’s always the hardest part for me. Nothing like having a story with no idea how you want to end. I usually come up with 3-7 options and stare at them for un undetermined amount of time.

So my advice to you and myself is this. Come up with lots of options. Stare at them for an undetermined amount of time. Then start the process of elimination. Cut the ones you know you don’t like. Cut anything that’s overly cliché. Till you’re left with only the top contenders. If you still don’t know, this is the time having a writer friend can really come in handy. They really don’t have to be a writer but having someone to bounce ideas off of can help you in your decision making process. Who knows, something they say might even inspire you to have a totally different ending than you thought. I’m, of course, not saying take someone else's idea. I’m just saying you don’t have to be alone.

And remember if at the end of your story you blame aliens in a story that had nothing to do with aliens till that point or you end it with a variation of “and then they woke up.” expect your readers to find you and punch you in the throat.


After those 5 Steps it’s all about putting in the work. Choosing to work on your story and write instead of watching Netflix or browsing Pinterest. Honestly this is really and truly the hardest part. Coming up with the ideas can but so exciting and invigorating that when the time to write comes it’s a snooze fest. Writing is a rollercoaster. The downs come very suddenly and the ups can be a long arduous climb. But at the end you have an amazing experience to look back on and hopefully a first draft.   

Things I’m Doing When I Should be Writing!

Things I’m doing when I should be Writing!

  • Napping
  • Watching Battlestar Galactica
  • Reading books (Written by people much more talented than me.)
  • Pinning tattoos I’ll never get on Pinterest.
  • Pinning EVERYTHING on Pinterest.
  • Forcing my dog to cuddle me. (Love me!)
  • Fantasizing about my dream job.
  • Napping
  • Working over time at my real job. (Gross)
  • Staring at my computer screen blankly.
  • Looking up random greek mythology.
  • Daydreaming myself into adventures instead of my characters.
  • Wondering how my brain got so disorganized (Who's in charge here?!)
  • Napping  

                 So it looks like I need to try harder to schedule my writing time. I should also start going to bed sooner apparently. With my new work schedule it’s safe to say I have been a bit thrown off my writing game. Not to worry I’ll be making a comeback, just need to focus more. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but so are a lot of things I have done. Fiction Friday will be a day late. I know, Friday is right there in the title, sorry. Sometimes life is exhausting.

Level Up!

Hello! After many arduous hour this weekend, Sci Fi,Oh My has leveled up! I’m now hosting my own site so you might notice a change in my site domain. You can now find me at Welcome!

What does this mean for you? Not a whole lot… But now I feel I can bring you more content, more effectively. I’ll be posting Manuscript Mondays and Fiction Fridays just like before. Plus occasionally I’ll be posting in a new segment called “I’m a FAN” where I’ll be talking about geek stuff, books, movies, and other things I’m a fan of.  Don’t miss a post and sign up to receive emails in the sidebar! If this came to you by way of email your already on my list. (That's not a threat) ;) I hope you enjoy our new digs!  See you Monday!

Let's go on an Adventure.

Welcome all who seek amusement! Thanks for stopping by my blog “Sci Fi, Oh My”. My names Jamie, I’m 26 and only just now figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. Late to the party, I’d say so. Yep! In a day and age where it seems everyone and their grandmother has a Blog, I was conflicted about starting one of my own. Eventually coming to terms with the fact that as an aspiring writer it was a must. Time to start putting myself out there! (She said as she cringed). You might be asking yourself “Sci Fi, Oh My? Why?” Well I find all my favorite stories are either Science Fiction, Fantasy or they have an element of one of them. Nothing makes us feel like we have escaped the real world like the thought that anything is possible. With these genres anything really is possible.  A cowboy can have a spaceship, a vampire can love a slayer, an evil villain can split his soul to live forever, a closet can contain a whole world in which you are a king or queen, or our hero can simply regenerate so the stories never have to end. Fiction is nothing but possibilities. So is my blog. Plus coming up with a blog name is hard.  

Sci Fi, Oh My will be what can only be described as an epic odyssey. (Sure....) Of what it’s like to write your first manuscript. In my experience of course. They say misery loves company so I invite you to take this journey with me! We will kick off our weeks with a nice dose of what I have dubbed Manuscript Monday I’ll be giving updates on the progress of my novel, talking about the obstacles of writing a manuscript, the triumph of artistic breakthrough, and the many different types of headaches that writing invokes. What do you mean Manuscript Monday doesn't sound like the most fun you’ll have all week?

Well then I promise a bit of fun as well or at least an attempt at fun. Therefore I will present what we will call… Fiction Friday! Wherein I will attempt to take a short writing prompt and making it into an entertaining anecdote/short story/tale for all our amusement. (Don’t worry, I’m nervous too) Since I’m new to the game feel free to be gentle with me. I’m going to do my very best to get my posts up on the days specified. Between writing my manuscripts, working my 40 hour a week job and actually liking to spend time with my husband that should be real easy right?

As the mood strikes I might also be posting other times on other subjects that I find irresistible but I’ll try to keep any rants to a minimum and I will never have a spoiler without a warning first. I’m more than happy to be starting this new venture. Thank you to everyone for your support and if you know others that might find “Sci Fi Oh My” interesting feel free to pass my link along. Thanks for your time and I’ll see you on monday.