There’s a back-story to every scene playing before you. The young woman driving by in the red and black ford, the little spotted dog that runs up to you with his ball every time he sees you, the gentleman taking out the trash… they all have a story.
There were many events leading up to the one you see playing out right now, and being able to narrate those events is key in telling their story.
The trick is not really in knowing what happened, it’s in being able to imagine what could’ve happened. Imagine who they are, where they are coming from and where they are headed.
Begin from the scene you’re on and trace the story back to the beginning, or as far back as you can go.
You may choose to do this for individual characters or multiple ones, or for even just the scene itself.
This will help in your ability to develop a plot and characters.
1. Stop. Take a moment to observe the happenings around you. Notice the people all coming and going, the expressions on their faces, the busyness of their hurried steps, or the relaxed manner in which they stroll by .
2. Pick one of them. Ask yourself briefly; who is this person? Imagine the details of their life, such as their name, age, where they live, where they grew up or went to school, what job they do, how much they make.
3. Ask yourself, “why are they here, doing this right now? What events led to their coming here? Where are they going next?”
4. With the information you’ve got, write a short narrative/story.