The Concept of Your Story

Every story starts out as a concept, usually in the form of a what if question. The answer to the question, to your concept, becomes the story. The concept is the platform from which the story can enfold. Let me give some examples of concepts. What if a boy didn’t know he was a wizard?

What if a band of super heroes worked together?

What if there was competition where teenagers fought to the death to survive?

What if a girl fell in love with a vampire?

The concept for my novel is what if a teenage girl wanted to find her lost mother? From this initial concept, the story took shape. I developed the character of this girl and created characters to surround her. I formed a setting for the novel and created scenes to move the concept forward. But, the novel started with a simple what if question.

As a writer, new concepts for stories pop into my head constantly. I walk my dog and she attacks a leaf pile. I go home and write down the idea. What if Zelda the Pug attacked a leaf pile? Later, I revisit the idea and decide if it’s worth pursuing further. Many times they aren’t. But, sometimes, an idea pops in my brain and I know the idea can become a great story.

For the non-writers out there, the concept of a story can be translated to your life. You can create a new, better story for your life when you start asking the what if questions.

What if I ran a marathon?

What if I wrote a book?

What if I started a business?

What if I went back to school?

What if I eliminated complaining from my life?

I encourage you to list ten what if questions for your life. Put them away and return to them a week later. Read over the questions again and reflect. Maybe one or two or three resonate with you. And maybe it’s time to develop the concept further by establishing the setting, the plot, and the characters needed to answer the question. But, once again, the story starts with a what if question.

What questions are you exploring for new story concepts in your writing and your life?

Bonus question: What are the books/movies associated with the story concepts I listed?


My blog is a resource for readers and writers. I post articles on reading, writing, and publishing, along with book reviews and an occasional pug lover's post. My email newsletter includes exclusive articles, giveaways, and stories in addition to my blog posts. If you are not an email subscriber, I invite you to sign up here and to invite a friend to sign up so our community can grow. Thanks for your support! Peace & Love, Kristen