You have an idea for a story, but you don't know what to do with it. Me, I place all my ideas into a Story Nursery and take care of them. Once an idea has fully matured, I pluck it and that is my next book.
How do you nurture that spark of an idea? You need to think about it. Here is the "food" I give to all my ideas in my Story Nursery. If I am unable to make any of the sections in Part One or Part Two makes sense, the idea is still too young to harvest and I wait.
Part One: Determine who the main characters are. These are the people who make the story interesting. Answer the questions to learn about each character as you will use this information for Part Two.
The Hero: Who is the story about? What does the Hero want that s/he does not have or loses early on in the story?
The Villain: While the story is about the Hero stopping the Villain. It is the Villain's actions that cause the story to happen in the first place. So, with that said, who doesn’t want the Hero to get what s/he wants?
The Companion: Who helps the Hero get what s/he wants? What does the Companion do to show the Hero that s/he can get what s/he wants despite the actions of the Villain?
Part Two: Determine the main points of the story. Write the answer to each of the questions below and then put them together into a cohesive telling of the story. Be sure to follow the order below when creating your version of the story. This is your elevator pitch.
1. Who is the Hero and what is s/he doing at the beginning of the story?
2. Who is the Villain and what does s/he do to ruin the Hero’s perfect world?
3. What does the Hero want and what does s/he do to get it?
4. What does the Villain do to make it harder on the Hero to get what s/he wants?
5. Who is the Companion and what does s/he do to show the Hero s/he’s been going after the wrong thing?
6. What does the Hero do differently to finally get what s/he wants?
7. How is the Hero better off than s/he was before?