When creating a storyline, don’t just pull things out of the soiled ideas pile. Dig through it for something fresh. Inhale. Do they smell like something one of your characters would actually wear (think/do)? Good, but still not fresh enough.
Wash them using your “New! Improved!” Context. Let your, ahem, tide of ideas scrub away all that isn’t germane to the storyline you’re building. When they come out, they’ll be “like new!” But you’re not done yet. Now let them tumble dry in the back of your head while you take a much-needed thought-walk.
During your thought-walk ponder what’s in that dryer. Yes, it’s fresher, but it’s going to come out wrinkly (illogical, lacking clear motives and connections)! Dropping the laundry metaphor: Are you forcing your characters through a maze of plot points? Bad. How can they, by their choices, force themselves into and through that maze (storyline)?
One of the most valuable tools for accomplishing this is irony. Some examples:
- How can character A’s very efforts to avoid danger ironically force him into a life and death situation?
- How can character B’s dislike for character A ironically be the very thing that causes her to be his only ally?
- How can character C’s total lack of leadership ability be the very thing that equips her to lead characters A and B out of the fix they’re in?
Now, pull your fresh-but-wrinkled plot points out of that thought-walk dryer, then get out your irony board (pad or computer)…
And press out those wrinkles!