- The name of your protagonist.
- An inciting incident.
- The protag's emotional reaction to the inciting incident.
- The course of action the protag follow in response to the incident.
- The hoped for outcome of that action.
As the story opens, Laura, the novel's lead character, discovers that her son Timmy has been kidnapped by his father, who's a cop. Laura feels as if the world has been turned upside down and is distraught to the point of madness.The instructions suggest that you play with changing around the different pieces of information you enter in the form until you find a story that really appeals to you. They also point out that the story idea generated is "a brief, film-style 'treatment' for you to work from as you develop your novel."
Laura weighs all possible courses of action. Finally, after much careful consideration, Laura decides to go after Timmy without help from the police.
This is the only way Laura believes it will be possible to get Timmy back, the only course to take.
It is this goal that Laura will aggressively pursue, all the way to the end of the story.
I've never used writing software, but I've always wondered if it's helpful. After trying the Story Idea Machine, I'm still undecided.
On the plus side, it's free.
So what do you think? Is this helpful in giving you a jumping off point for writing? Is the 'treatment' close enough to a query letter or short synopsis to help provide some insight when it comes time to start marketing what you've written?