Read Time: 4 minutes

Hey 👋 – Welcome to the Saturday Storyteller, where AI and storytelling join forces to save humanity… like Morpheus mentoring Neo, I’m here to help you awaken your “One” story that will change everything. 💡✍️

Here’s what I’ve got for you today: 

  • ChatGPT story development process
  • 4 simple steps with prompts
  • 99% give, 1% request

Sometimes crafting a story can be tough, especially when you’re starting with no idea or just a partial one.

But fear not.

With the help of AI, you can transform writer’s block or your small idea into an incredible adventure.

In this article, I’ll guide you through a 4-step process using ChatGPT, making it fun and easy to create stories that you’ll be proud of and your readers won’t be able to put down.

Let’s dive in.

** Important Note: This 4-step process is intended to be performed in the same ChatGPT conversation, with each new prompt being entered immediately following the prior answer, so the answers build upon each other.

Step 1: The Personal Touch

Begin your storytelling journey by drawing from your own experiences, interests, and hobbies.

By selecting genres, themes, and elements close to your heart, you ensure that your passion for the story stays strong, even as you face the inevitable challenges of the creative process.

Remember, the most compelling stories are those that truly connect with their creators. Because when you pour your heart and soul into your work, your audience will feel it, too.

Let your emotions guide you, and lean on your creative instincts as you explore the topics and ideas that matter most to you.

Step 1 Prompt: Genre and Theme

Caution: Entering too much information into the [placeholder] can dilute the output:

//Prompt below (edit the bold text in brackets)//

Please analyze my personal interests, hobbies, and experiences listed below and provide ideal genres (fiction category or type) and universal themes (central idea or message), which I could potentially use as a foundation for a fictional story. Here are my favorite movies, novels, shows, interests, hobbies, or experiences: [list your favorite movies, novels, shows… explain interests, hobbies, or impactful experiences].

Format your answer in markdown syntax as follows:

First suggestion:

Fiction Genre 1.1:

  • Fiction Genre 1.2:
  • Universal Theme 1.1:
  • Universal Theme 1.2:
  • Universal Theme 1.3:

Second suggestion:

  • Fiction Genre 2.1:
  • Fiction Genre 2.2:
  • Universal Theme 2.1:
  • Universal Theme 2.2:
  • Universal Theme 2.3:

Third suggestion:

  • Fiction Genre 3.1:
  • Fiction Genre 3.2:
  • Universal Theme 3.1:
  • Universal Theme 3.2:
  • Universal Theme 3.3:

//Prompt above (edit the bold text in brackets)//

  • Note: You can also just ask ChatGPT for a list of Genres and Universal Themes for fiction and films. Then review those and choose one Genre and Universal theme to explore based on your desire.

Step 2: The Birth of an Idea

Armed with your chosen theme and genre, it’s time to create or refine your story idea.

By working closely with CHatGPT, you’ll uncover unconventional concepts and thought-provoking insights that will set your tale apart from the rest.

Remember, the journey of a thousand words begins with a single idea.

Step 2.1 Prompt: Story Idea from Scratch

//Prompt below (edit the bold text in brackets)//

Based on the Fiction Genre of [insert genre], Universal Theme of [insert theme], suggest 5 unique, unconventional and thought-provoking story ideas that can go on to become a bestselling novel or blockbuster film.

//Prompt above (edit the bold text in brackets)//

Step 2.2 Prompt: Existing Story Idea

//Prompt below (edit the bold text in brackets)//

Based on the Fiction Genre of [insert genre], Universal Theme of [insert theme], help me refine and expand this idea [placeholder] to make it more unique, engaging, and thought-provoking. The intention is to find novel ideas and unconventional narratives that make people think while also serving an audience proven to love innovative stories.

//Prompt above (edit the bold text in brackets)//

Step 3: Breathing Life into Characters

The heart of every great story lies in its characters.

As you develop your protagonist and antagonist, focus on infusing them with depth and complexity, ensuring that their motivations, backgrounds, and personalities are rich and multi-dimensional.

By doing so, you create a cast of characters that captivates readers and propels your narrative forward.

** Note: The short story summary you enter below can be a simple copy and paste from one of your Step #2 outputs provided by ChatGPT.

Step 3.1 Prompt: Protagonist

//Prompt below (edit the bold text in brackets)//

Based on the story idea of [insert short story summary], help me create a multi-dimensional protagonist for my chosen story idea, including their background, personality, strengths, and weaknesses. Also provide one clear, unmistakeable objective with high-stakes that the multi-dimensional protagonist must achieve in the story. Keep in mind this story is based in the genre of [insert genre] and a universal theme of [insert theme].

//Prompt above (edit the bold text in brackets)//

Step 3.2 Prompt: Antagonist

//Prompt below (edit the bold text in brackets)//

Now help me create a multi-dimensional antagonist that will challenge the protagonist above in accomplishing their core, unmistakeable objective, based in the same story above, including the antagonist’s motivations, background, and personality. This antagonist must be a formidable force for the overarching narrative to ensure high-stakes conflict, tension, and suspense.

//Prompt above (edit the bold text in brackets)//

    Step 4: The Narrative Backbone

    With your characters in place, it’s time to construct a solid narrative foundation.

    The relationship between your protagonist and antagonist should serve as the backbone of your story, driving the plot and injecting it with high-stakes conflict.

    So you will lean on ChatGPT to develop a three-act structure that explores the depth of this central conflict, keeping your audience enthralled from beginning to end.

    Step 4 Prompt: Basic 3-Act Structure

    //Prompt below (edit the bold text in brackets)//

    Now using the protagonist and antagonist we just developed above, outline a three-act structure for this story idea and focus on the importance of very slow development character building and not rushing the main plot but slowly building the story arc. Inside the three-act structure, provide the main conflicts and resolutions between the protagonist and antagonist. Include key story beats, turning points and climax in each act.

    //Prompt above (edit the bold text in brackets)//

    Remember, those four steps are designed to be completed inside the same ChatGPT conversation with each answer immediately building upon the prior one.

    But embracing the power of AI in your creative process can easily guide you from nothing to a cohesive, compelling plot. You can also use AI to identify genres and themes that resonate deeply with your personal interests and passions while capturing the hearts and minds of your audience.

    The journey from a blank page to a complete plot outline has never been easier or more efficient.

    It’s okay to dive into the uncharted waters of AI story development, the water is warm and a world of your limitless creativity awaits.

    That’s it for this Saturday.

    If you feel like TSS gives you 100%, give back 1% by spreading the word.

    See ya next week!

    — David