First things first, you need an idea! An idea can come from nowhere, but it mostly like starts from one of the Five Story Elements. These elements are: characters, setting, conflict, plot, and themes. A lot of the time a writer’s idea starts at one element and then they have to flesh the idea out to incorporate all elements. If your story is missing one of the elements it will not be as dynamic as it could.
These essentials are the backbone to writing a story. Without them your writing will have no direction. So start filling in the blanks. If your idea started with your character, then think about who your character is and connect your character to the other elements of story.
Great! Now you have a story, but next you have to write it. This is where you either get super excited and bring your fingers to pen or keyboard, or you freeze up. How do you start actually writing? As a person who has been writing from my early teens I would tell you to just start. It doesn’t have to be good. You just need to get words down. You can’t get good at writing if you don’t start. Here are some questions that might help you get started:
- If this was a movie, how would I want it to open? Start with revealing the main character or setting?
- What is the most important element of the story? And start there.
- (Remember: you don’t need to start at the beginning. It might be beneficial to start at the end or middle of the plot to get a good sense of where the story is heading.)
- What is my character’s goal? How is he/she going to accomplish that goal? When does my character’s goal change and what does it change to? How are they going to accomplish that goal?
- What or who is going to get in the way of my character?
I would strongly suggest that you start an outline of you story. You don’t have to start it before you write, but definitely start your outline near the beginning. You don’t want to start it when you’ve already started the climax. An outline is a helpful tool that might help you get started. I will be making a blog post about outlining in the future, but for now I suggest that you check out these videos: How to Outline Your Novel (Jenna Moreci), How to Outline Your Novel (Kim Chance), and How to Outline your Novel (Updated!) (Kim Chance).
(I personally love Jenna’s video! She’s quite entertaining and her videos are super helpful! This is her YouTube channel: Jenna Moreci (YouTube).
Anyway, back on topic!)
What I am about to tell you is very important, so pay attention. When you start writing DO NOT put yourself down. DON’T think you suck. DO NOT GIVE UP! Yes, at the start your writing may suck, but every writer has gone through it. You do not suck, even if your story does. Just keep working at it. The more you write, the better you’ll get. Don’t be your own worst critic. In the future will need that inner critic to get through editing and redrafting and editing again.
You will need that little asshole in you mind in future, but not right now. Right now you need to write freely without self-doubt. Right now you need to practice and sharpen your writing tools. Right now you need to write. So put a muzzle on that inner critic and get some words written down.
What other helpful tips do you have when it comes to starting a writing project? Comment your suggestions below!
P.S- I will be making future blog posts on outlining, the Five Elements of Story, and how to generate ideas.
Thanks for reading,