Channel-hopping Ideas


Are there any channel-hoppers among you? That is, with TV remote in hand, you scan the TV channels one way, and then the other, not quite settling on one programme to watch. I have to confess, I do that on occasion, especially if there is nothing I particularly want to watch that night.

Speaking to my female fiction colleagues, it seems to be a common trait among their menfolk – sorry, guys. In our defence, it’s a way of filling our minds with as much “knowledge” as possible, and has nothing to do with our short concentration spans . . .

This made me think of how such a scenario can work in a fiction sense, and can “story scene hopping” be creatively beneficial when it comes to writing? I often hear from my writers that they have an idea for a story, but when it comes for them to expand on the idea, they falter, not knowing where to start.

In relation to a short story, you can pretty much shoot from the hip and simply start writing, seeing where a story takes you. A serial is different, as there is much more of an investment – in terms of content and time – on the line. But I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Where To Begin

So should you always start at the beginning when writing a story? Not necessarily so. The ending might be clear in your mind, or there will be a piece of dialogue which you know will work to good effect, though you are unsure in which scene it will occur.

If it were me, I’d suggest writing out the scenes that do work for you, and placing them to the side for now. And then, in a channel-hopping sense, let your mind wander and see what other scenes naturally form around them.

Generally, and without much effort, your imagination will often begin to take hold. Then ultimately you’ll find yourself at the beginning of the story, with characters waiting to take you on new and exciting adventures.

You can find more tips in our Writing Tools section.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.

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