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Steps to Success » Writing

Developing Ideas from Spark to Story

As someone who loves reading and writing stories, I often find myself inspired by an amazing idea. Sometimes, it’s a vivid scene in my head, or an amazing back-story for a character. I love to think about these and develop the thought into a full story spark! Yet, no matter how clear the idea, developing it into a story is a completely different challenge.  I’ve found a couple of methods to make this task easier. Try them out and see if they work for you.


Write out everything you know about the story spark

It doesn’t matter that it’s incomplete. If that spark gets you excited, just write down all the details you have about it. When you get to writing down the idea, this may naturally lead you to fill in some blanks in the scene. Even if it doesn’t, you can work on the elements you already have to develop a story.


Draw / write an outline for your story

After you have written down the idea, consider what else is needed to make a full story around that scene or character.

‘You promised not to sell our mother’s bracelet!’ Ella screamed at her beloved sister, Betsy. ‘Why did you do it? How can you ask me to trust you?’

From these two lines, it’s obvious that the story requires the backstory of the bracelet, and the relationship between the sisters and their mother. Making a list of connections like this gives you a clearer focus on the scenes you will have to write for your story.

If you can’t think of what happened before the scene you’re interested in, try thinking about what happens next.

‘I didn’t want to!’ Betsy screamed back. ‘But what choice did I have? It was either selling the bracelet or losing our house!’ Betsy couldn’t believe that her sister was angry at this.

Continuing from the spark may also enrich the characters and plots. Following the flow may help you to complete the story later on as well.


Having a flow for your spark of an idea is all you need to develop a thorough story. You’ll still probably encounter writer’s block as you write, but keep returning to the spark, and you’ll see what first excited you about this idea.


For more ideas on how to develop your writing, read i-Learner’s Stevenson Term 2019 newsletter. It’s packed with tips and ideas. You can also sign up to writing classes with Ms Heidi and the rest of our creative team of teachers.