So, one creative idea my friend wants to try out is telling some of his favorite moments around the house, slices of life, and then maybe finding a story that strings some of these together like making a bead necklace.
Well,we'll have to know the length of the string, but we can cut it according to what we want the beads to look like together, what patterns we want to preserve.
So, he wants me to use my magical brain travelling power to help him pull together something worth sticking his neck out for.
I know what would really be the easiest thing to observe, the memories that he wants to remember and the things said he wants to preserve. Wherever he takes this story with his daughter's ideas, I know their close bond is truly important content in his finished product...so in a way, I may not know the plot yet, but I know to what end he wants to make this: appreciation.
So, I wrote him back that, basically, I want to start by helping him make up real stuff, or as I so busily put it:
:-D I want to write many of the straight out, naturalistic, real moments that happen and build the narrative around that. Introduce them being themselves, so we can absorb setting and tone. From those, we can observe character, as we must approach each character like: "this is all I know about 'em, if I watch them do these things in the sentences, I'll begin to understand their attitudes and opinions and become aware of how scenarios might call together a sequence of internal questions and suppositions." I mean, if you know how your characters achieve peace, for example, you can figure out what factors might be necessary to take that peace away, and how then do they react? You will figure out what problems you want them to conquer based on what will challenge their assumptions.
Remember, the reader knows only what you show, so pick a few scenes of show and they will quietly establish character traits while you keep their dossiers close to your vest and demonstrate their mentalities and objectives as serves your story. Picture your scene by the faces, pace it by their expressions and body language.
A few simple scenes, one simple sentence, is where your invitation to the reader begins. Allow the reader to possibly draw their own conclusions based on how they interpret a given moment; someone might be an a-hole in a rushed moment, but turn out to be sweet as pie when the chips are down. Never defend your beloved characters too much from making mistakes and being judged by the reader. What the characters learn to appreciate or learn not to try again is sewn into the lining of any ten second scene you devise. Just tell a few of those at random and watch a pattern envelope.