A Writer’s Quick-Guide to Developing Your Story

Well… I have not been active.

Take this post as a token of my forgiveness.

I have a few meatier posts that have been waiting in the wings as I develop them, so there’s that excuse.

Anyway, here’s a little something for all of my author friends and followers that can hopefully help you with the development of your story.




C H A R A C T E R    D E V E L O P M E N T

  • Go to your local grocery store and observe. Jump into the head of your character and try to imagine what they would be doing at that moment.
  • Purposefully search for songs that fit your character, and save them for later when there’s a rough patch in your writing and you need something that’ll put you back on track.
  • Eat ice cream. If you’re lactose intolerant, eat a popsicle.
  • Pull out  dictionary and find exotic/new/words you’ve never heard before that fits your character perfectly.
  • Find a medical disease dictionary list online, close your eyes, scroll like crazy, and open your eyes. The first disease or illness that your mouse pointer is closest to, try to incorperate a character with said affliction and show how they cope with it.
  • Eat cake if possible.
  • Take this free Myers-Briggs personality test and answer as your character, then incorperate their personality into your story.
  • Take a scene from one of your favorite stories, and write your character into it. How would they react and feel?
  • Now eat chips.
  • Draw your character- it doesn’t matter if you think you’re bad at art or not. If you want to instead, ask one of your artsy friends to draw them instead.
  • Keep a list of what your character is supposed to look like on a seperate document or pad of paper. You’ll thank yourself later.
  • Wonder why you’re feeling fat.
  • Look up a list of character flaws and physical flaws. Pick at least 2 character flaws and 1 physical flaw, then incorperate it into your character. This will make them 10x more relatable as a human.


W O R L D   B U I L D I N G

  • Find similar environments to use as a reference. If you don’t at least have a foggy idea of what you want your character’s world to look like, you might end up with your readers imagining a Picasso painting as the background or have continuity errors.
  • Take some time in your day to throughly detail the area that your characters will be spending most of their time in, and save that so you can pull it up when you’re having a difficult time describing elements in the background.
  • Create a world map. To keep your map looking random enough and look natural yet pleasing to the eye, pour rice out on a piece of paper and arrange the rice until you’re pleased with the results. Then trace around the rice to create your new landmass. Because sometimes scribbling on a piece of paper and hoping it looks like something you’d find on a map just doesn’t do it.
  • Study the cultures and habits of people around the world, think about what you would like to incorperate from your observations, and think about how it would impact your societies and communities you create. For an example, people living by oceans or water would most likely be fishers and merchants as well as eat more seafood because it is cheaper and available. People living in mountains would most likely eat more meat products for their lack of growing vegitables in high altitudes and would hold jobs as miners, blacksmiths, the occassional dragon hunter, and tour guides. Try to figure out what’s relevant to the area you want to create or else it won’t make sense- we’re all going to doubt seeing a regular manatee by an active volcano. You might think you’ll be able to slip it past us, but trust me, it won’t.

Your environment will heavily effect the memory of your character, and your memory will turn your character into who they are now.


N A M I N G   P E O P L E   &   S T U F F

For a few of us, it’s somewhat easy to name things. I happen to be one of those rare people. But for those of who can’t name that one oddball character or your midevil merchant castle, here’s a few tips and things to keep in mind as you’re brainstorming.


  • S/Sh  -S is for snakes and the stuff that you’d like to spout out there on the page. It’s also for softness and the sweetnothings you’d like you whisper in your loved one’s ear. The “S” sound can be either used as a sharp sound that people like spit at others or it’s a very gentle sound that can have a soothing effect; such as Susan, Stephen, Sasha, or Seth.
  • C/K/Q/T  -C is for cake, crystals, and clear sounding tones. K is for klondike bars, kitties, and kites. Q is for queens, the queer, and being not quite there. T is for top hats, tea, and taking pictures. The C/K/Q/T sounds are more pointy and can be heard in the middle of a crowd. They’re commonly used in king and queenly names such as Katherine, Kendrew, Christina, Christopher, Tabitha, and Taylor. Since they do have a bit more of a harsh and pointy sound, they’re well used tones for people in authority and the things that are regal. Or for those who are bullies more often than not.
  • D/G/J  -D sounds are for names that can sound down to earth like Daniel and Dana, G’s are also for grounded names such as Gunner and Gywen, and J’s can be soft or just as pointy like James or Jade. D/G/J sounds are great for important supporting role characters or for settlements that you can’t seem to find to find a perfect name for.
  • A/E/I/O/U  -These letters are staples in the english language for a reason. Most elven names start with these vowels because they hold a certain mystery and power about them. A’s are strong in their own right like Amy and Andrew, E’s  can either be bold or delicate as in Elijah or Elly, I’s seem to have an arsenal of powerful names like Ian and Ivanna; O’s are the forgotten second cousins- but once you remember them, you remember why you like them. O’s hold names such as Oscar and Opal, and U’s are even more forgotten than O’s. U’s hold names such as Ursula, Uma, and Una.
  • M/N  -M’s and N’s are for mutterings and mumblings. Names with M’s and N’s have a certain strength about them too, but in a quiet way- like Nick, Nadia, Marcella, and Morgan. They’re also for mellow personalities with mellow sounding names (or at least in my opinion) such as Noel, Natalie, Melody, and Max.


-Other Stuff-

  • Trying to name your own drug or natural elements? (I.E. metals, gasses, acids, flowers, just something found in nature) Look up words that relate with your element in other languages and mix n’ match until it sounds right to you. I’ve gotten some really cool results by doing this.
  • If you’re having trouble finding the perfect name for your character, check out a name generator (like this one) and keep messing with the generator until you find a name that you like. Or keep toying with the spelling of a name until you’re happy with it.
  • Having issues with naming your modern town? Think of a town moderately near your area, and and “New” to it. It’s lazy but it works. New York, New Mexico, New Brunswick. You’re welcome.
  • Still having issues naming your town because it’s set during Ye Olden days? Put in “midevil town name generator” or “midevil town name ideas” in your search bar online and let the results come piling in by the numbers.
  • Just about anything can be solved with a name generator. Or talk to your friends. They might throw silly gag names out there, but there could also be a gem in the rough in there, too.


R E S E A R C H   &   W H A T N O T

A story that’s heavily based in something that you don’t know will require research. And yes, I know what some of you are thinking right now- “Really? Do I have to research?”

And the answer is: No.

You don’t have to. But if you want it to be good, then you should.

There’s only so far that your imagination can take you before it starts getting the facts messed up, and it’s a good rule (hardyharhar) of thumb to know the rules before you start to break them. The reason why you want to research is because it makes your story easier to visualize and easier to relate to. Relatable is the goal because it connects you to your readers.

Usually, the best thing to do is to write about the things that you personally know and take an intrest in. That way you have the option of weaving your own experiences in your work. Or, at the very least, you’ll be less likely to get bored researching the thing you’re planning on writing on.

So continuing with these things in mind, go forth and traverse the interwebs for your desired knowledge. Proceed with caution; lest your head bloweth up with ego because of your newfound wisdom.


W R I T E R ‘ S   B L O C K S   &   B R I C K   W A L L S

Creative motors are sputtering, you ran out of enthusiam water, and there’s a lot more dead ends then you remember seeing on the map. Where did all the brick walls come from?

Lucky for you, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that very well might make your blocks disappear with a poof!

  • Try rewriting the last scene that got you stumped. This has helped me out more than once.
  • Writers usually get blocks when they’re bored and don’t know where to go wth their story. So try throwing a little action or intrest into your work and see if you can’t bring your work back to life.
  • If you’re having issues writing consistantly for a novel, try writing short stories instead and linking them together. With a tiny bit of editing you’ll have your novel that you’ve wanted!
  • Take a break, then come back to it later. Forcing yourself to write without energy constantly will drain the excitement from what you’re working on. You’re not going to fool your readers if you keep trying to fake it because sometimes you just don’t make it.
  • Write for you- not anybody else. If you keep writing about what others like rather than what you like, you’ll probably end up with more blocks because it’s a chore that you dread instead of a joy that you can’t wait to get back to.


So here was the quick guide to the essentials of story development. Hopefully it was able to help a few of you guys. Let me know if I missed anything down below in the comment section!

Thanks for reading to the end of my post!

~Felicity Annora


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