The Creative “Writing” Process (2 of 4)

By the time you read this, I will already be out of the country.  I won’t tell you where only because I don’t what to sound like I’m bragging or trying to make you feel bad if the weather is poor where you are.  If you missed last weeks posting, please stop here and go back and read it first.  That’ll put you on the same footing as everyone else.  For everyone else, let’s move on.

We left off last week having just decided that we would be writing a Science Fiction novel of a length somewhere between 80,000 and 120,000 words.  Our basic story idea was that a group of amateur paleontologists/archeologists discovering a strange artifact/building/ship.

I had also asked you to consider the other elements of the story:

  • Characters;
  • Setting;
  • Conflict;
  • Plot points;
  • Supporting characters; and
  • Resolution.

Does that all pretty much sum it up?  It does?  Perfect!  Let’s talk about the story elements.

Part III – The Story Elements

Let’s talk about the list above and what I do about them.  What?  You in the back, waving your hands.  You say that I’ve missed some points?  You’re probably right… I haven’t even hinted at things like character motive for example.  Please keep in mind that this is just a high-level list to get us started.

May I continue?  Thank you very much.

Part IIIa – Characters

One of my favorite things is creating characters and bringing them to life; making them real, living, breathing people.  The really fun part is when they take on that life within the story and actually start telling you where it goes.

I’m going to have a little fun here.

The characters for this story are a family of four; a dad, a mom, a teenage daughter and an energetic young boy.  For those who know me, they will claim that these characters sound much like my family; maybe they are and maybe they aren’t J.

Little side note here… by having the broad range of ages for the characters, I’ve just included young adults in my potential audience.

Now a bit about the characters.


Handsome (of course), a true leader and someone who is quick to think on his feet.  He is always trying to enhance the experience of his family and he tends to do things with fun in mind.  He occasionally annoys his daughter and his wife, but they know his heart is in the right place and usually forgive him.


Beautiful (also of course), always thinking about others and very intelligent.  She is bold and fearless and is able to make decisions quickly and wisely.  She’s slow to anger but watch out when you finally manage to provoke her.


Smart, pretty, but a teenager.  Usually very considerate, but has occasional flashes of selfishness.  Loves her family, but sometimes thinks that they are too demanding.  She is easily annoyed by her little brother.

Little Brother

Playful and witty, he hasn’t quite worked out that not everything is a joke.  Teases his sister at every opportunity.  Loves spending time with his family and friends but is easily bored.


A little tougher.  This is a guy who has learned about the amazing artifact that resides on the planet.  He is interested in it only because it represents wealth and power to him and he is addicted to acquiring both.  He is a man who, as a boy, saw people (reminiscent of the mob) revered for achieving power at any cost.  His parents admired these people and he naturally saw it as normal.  His father’s favorite saying was “The strong shall inherit the Earth”.

Do they sound at all stereotypical?  If they do, it’s only because I haven’t spent any time looking into all their personality traits (well, not too much time), nor have I dealt much with what motivates them or makes them fully fleshed out.  Don’t worry, that will come as I really start digging into the story.

I have, in the past, actually written complete back stories for characters.  It’s a bit of work, but a great way to get to know your characters.

Part IIIb – Setting

So far, this is looking like it could fit a number of different genres, so let’s place it firmly into the Science Fiction one.  For this story, the time frame is several hundred years in the future.  Mankind has perfected space travel just as they had done in the 20th century.  People now travel vast distances through space quickly and easily.

The family has traveled to a distant planet in another solar system to enjoy the alien sights and take some much needed vacation.  The planet has an indigenous population that is descended from an advanced civilization that mysterious vanished.  Only the fantastic ruins and artifacts remain to show that they ever existed.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll stop describing my setting here.  As with all the story elements, you can go as deep as you like.  Just don’t keep building to the point where you never get a story written.

I’m going to end this week’s post here.  Take some time to review what you have done.  Maybe dig in a bit further, have some fun.  Next week we will be talking about conflict and creating plot points.  See you then.


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