How to Write a Story Web
A story web is a graphic organizer useful for generating ideas in the beginning of the writing process. If you're having difficulty starting a story or coming up with ideas for a story, try using a visual aid like a story web to organize your thoughts. Often after completing the story web you'll have a cohesive enough plot to start your story. Even if you are a seasoned writer, a story web can give you additional ideas for a plot line and speed up the idea generating process.
Write down a story idea in the middle of a sheet of paper. This idea can be a theme, a character, a particular event, or even fragments of a dream you lifted out of your journal. If you need an idea to get you started there are several story idea generators on the Internet that will provide several for you. Once you've written down a story idea, draw a circle around it.
Write down a secondary idea in the space around the main idea. This idea should somehow be associated with the main idea. For example, if you were writing the story of Snow White, and you wrote “evil stepmother tries to kill Snow White” for your main idea, then an additional idea could be “Snow White runs off to live with the dwarves.” Draw a circle around your idea and draw a line connecting it to the main idea.
Write down more ideas. These ideas can connect to the main idea, the secondary idea, or to any additional ideas. Draw circles around these ideas and add appropriate connecting lines between them. If you find yourself going off topic, allow yourself to do so. Follow tangents even if they don't necessarily connect to your main idea. Perhaps you planned on writing a vampire romance, but start generating ideas for a crime drama. A story web should generate new ideas and allow you to take your story idea in directions that at first you hadn't necessarily thought of.
Add personal touches. This is your story web. Disregard what other writers say you need to accomplish in order to write a successful story. Everyone undergoes the creative process differently. Write bits of dialogue, poetry, or favorite quotes. Draw stars instead of circles. Get rid of circles all together. Write backwards or in a foreign language. Start the first paragraph of your story in the middle of the piece of paper and continue it on the back. After you're finished, what you do with the story web is up to you. Set your story web on fire, throw it in the trash, or keep it beside your work desk for reference.
Avoid self criticism. The only person who's going to see your story web is you. Your story web should not be a publishable piece of work. It only serves as a visual aid to allow you to better organize your ideas and generate new ones.
Embrace spontaneity. Avoid suppressing ideas because you don't believe they're good enough or they might not necessarily fit neatly into your plot.
Things You'll Need
- Writing utensil
- Avoid self criticism. The only person who's going to see your story web is you. Your story web should not be a publishable piece of work. It only serves as a visual aid to allow you to better organize your ideas and generate new ones.
- Embrace spontaneity. Avoid suppressing ideas because you don't believe they're good enough or they might not necessarily fit neatly into your plot.
April Lee started writing professionally in 2009. She is the marketing writer for an independently owned cheese business. She attended the University of North Texas and majored in English.