Where to start?!(8 Posts)
Okaay so I'm super passionate about writing, reading all this jazz. I would absolutely love writing something of my own (something I haven't done since I was a kid). It won't be anything amazing, to be published etc. It's more like therapy than anything else.
But where do I start? How much planning would I need to do? What would your top ten tips for writing a piece of fiction be?
I have no answers but I am watching this thread in the hope that someone knowledgeable will come along!
Top ten tips - Just sit down and write. Times ten.
Everyone has their own preferred way of working, and really the only way to find out what suits you best is by trying out different approaches.
Some people are planners, some start writing with no idea where the story is going.
Some people are drawn more to novel writing, others to short story writing, others do both - again it's a question of trying different things to see which suits you. Same with genre - romance, crime/mystery, etc.
You could start by thinking of a character, a situation to put him or her in, then see where it goes.
If you really are struggling to start, I'd recommend a creative writing course. You'll do exercises such as, I dunno: Write about a journey you used to take as a child, or Tell us about the person you hate/love/respect or Describe a frightening situation...that can help get you going and they're great fun.
There are also creative writing books with prompts or 'morning papers' (is it?) that's quite popular.
If that's not for you, then, there is no better advice than just get writing. Say something anything, see where it leads you...
I'd second all of that. You can spend your whole life planning to write and only have a blank page to show for it.
You could write your autobiography, write a scene that you would like to see in a book you love, or take the first line of a novel and write your own version of what you would like to see next.
Just relax and write it.
If you want to write, then just write! Dive in. You don't need special software, special stationery, special training, special anything. Just something to write on, something to write with and the time to do it. I don't have ten tips, but I have a few...
- It's not possible to "make" time; we can only "re-assign" time. We all use every second of our day for something (even if that "something" is not very productive). To make time for writing, we have to stop doing something else. Pick the thing you're going to do less of in order to find writing time. Accept the consequences of not doing that thing. Do not feel guilty.
- A daily word-count goal can help enormously. Set yourself a manageable amount and make sure you always do it. 1,000 words a day, 500 words a day, 100 words a day - whatever feels achievable for you.
- If you stop writing for the day while you're still excited about what you're writing, you will find yourself looking forward to getting back to it. This can often give you the impetus to get going again the next day.
- There's nothing more intimidating than a blank page or screen. Just get started. Write something. Rude limericks. Inventive insults. Terrible things happening to people you hate. Anything.
- The more you write, the more you'll be able to write. Like running. Apparently. I don't know this for sure, I'm not a runner. :-)
Best of luck and enjoy it!
Oh, and don't think you have to be writing beautifully crafted paragraphs from the start. It's perfectly OK to jot down notes, ideas, outlines, sketches for scenes, then come back and flesh them out later.
It can be helpful to think about what you're going to write while you're doing the washing up or the ironing or other task that doesn't require much brain power, so that you have your first few sentences ready in your head when you sit down to write. I do some of my best thinking when walking back from the supermarket!
Also, if a blank screen or pad of A4 paper is intimidating, try sitting with a small notepad or some scrap paper on your knee, rather than at a desk, and just jot down thoughts. I find that often helps me to get going.
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