You Know What to Write...But How To Start?

You Know What to Write...But How To Start?

A Lesson by Fae

Hopefully this lesson will give you insight onto how to start writing once you have a rough idea. P.S. this course is geared mainly towards short stories and novels, not really poetry so much.


So you've got is great idea. Congratulations! You've just bypassed the most difficult stage of writing (at least for me) but that's not to say that this stage is much less difficult. 

Now you've got the idea, you have to commit. If you keep saying you're going to write something amazing, but it never happens, not only do you feel demoralized as a person, but you also feel like you can't accomplish anything as a writer. If it works for you, I'd recommend drawing up a schedule of when it will be easy for you to write and stick to it, or just commit to write every day.

The next step really depends on how you write. Some people say that the best writing comes out of spontaneous action, while others say that good writing can only be produced by rigid planning. Whatever works for you is the best way. Personally, I stick with a bit of both. I tell myself to stick to a schedule and reward myself when I meet my goals. I plan out what's roughly going to happen and write along the way.

Alternative methods and things to remember: 

Just Write! What's the idea you have? Is it a complete book, or do you only see it as a short story? Decide what format it would best fit and write it! The scene that sticks out most in your mind the one you should write first, in fervent detail before attempting to write 'from the beginning' if that's not where the story started in your head. Just put what you've got on paper, and if it's meant to be it'll form itself. You can bounce ideas off of your initial writing and edit and revise later.

Just Write #2 Just write, but do not in any way relate it to the magnificent idea in your head. Freewrite about three pages of longhand writing which are just stream of consciousness, or an exploration into an unrelated idea can 'cleanse the palette' for other types of writing to flow freely.

Planning Planning Planning! Another way to write is to meticulously plan everything. Write down step by step exactly what you want to happen in your story. Next make a plot diagram outlining the entire story-line of your idea and use this as a basis for writing. This method is usually easier for people who like rigidity and can only work on a schedule of specific events.

Perspective. I know perspective means different things to different people, but if your just can't get started, try changing the perspective you're writing from. To do this effectively it's helpful to study other literary works. If you were writing in first person, maybe you want to change to another insignificant narrator like a mouse that follows the main character? It's all about thinking outside the box.

Here's a magnificent link on types of narrators: 

Read! if you're uninspired to write something yourself, then read! Reading can expose you to other ideas of how to approach your idea, how to tell it, how to make a twist and such. Just reading the first few pages of a book can show you how the author has begun and you can utilize their approach, or be inspired to modify your own. By reading critically, you can identify methods authors use to write and use them yourself, like where they begin and why.

Don't Tell it That Way! Change up your method of telling the story. Much like perspective, you've got to change your approach to get yourself going. Maybe you're trying to tell the story the traditional way; first person out of mouth, telling a story presently, but maybe it shouldn't be told that way. Maybe you want to recount the story as a wise old man, in past tense, implying that you still are alive and telling your story to disciples. Maybe you want to tell your story though letters to a loved one, maybe you want to tell it as a journal that someone finds, or out of a gypsies crystal ball. If you're bored with your idea, tell it in a spiced up way!

Don't Force It! The problem that a lot of people have is that they don't have the time or patience for the ideas to present a vessel in which to sail them in, so they force the idea into a format it doesn't belong in. The important thing to do is not force it, whatever you do! Do something else, get a hot drink, sit in bed, go outside for a walk and distance yourself from the idea. Go to a happy place where you're not thinking about the idea you so desperately want to take off, and inspiration will strike at the strangest of times. Also remember that you can edit later, don't perfect your story right away! Lower your standards if you keep starting and throwing away that initial paragraph. 

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Added on November 1, 2012
Last Updated on November 1, 2012

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