You have a wonderful story idea and your characters are formed and set to go. So what’s stopping you? Why can’t you get started?
A blank page can be an intimidating thing. So much space waiting to be filled, but where do you start when writing a story?
The answer is simple. You start where you want to.
There is nothing that says you must start at the beginning of the story. The first thing you write can be whatever part of the story is uppermost in your mind at the time. For some this will be the start, but it can be hard to decide where a story actually begins. Do you open with action? Do you begin with a prologue that leads into the story? It can be daunting to start writing a story from where it begins.
When I wrote my first story I began with a scene that ended up being about a third the way through the book. I started with the one that was loudest in my mind, begging to be written. From there I jumped all over the story—back and forth as the ideas occurred. Once I’d written a large number of scenes I then shuffled the order to suit the plot, and then wrote the bits that brought it all together.
One trick I use to keep track of what has been written is to give each chapter/scene a descriptive heading such as ‘X meets Y and they argue about Z’. This helps when it comes to sorting out plot and filling in gaps. I write using Microsoft Word and using the navigation pane I can drag and drop the chapters/scenes into different orders if I choose to. The same would work for almost any process.
The other trick I use to get going is to imagine the scene in my head, or at least the first part of it. By doing this I can rework it before I get started, and once I’m reasonably satisfied I start writing. And once you start, it’s easier to keep going.
I know it’s hard to get writing at times, but if you sit down with an idea of what needs to happen, it makes it easier to get those first words down.
Have a question? Don't hesitate to ask. Alison
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My thoughts on writing, the research I do, and what interests and inspires me as a writer.
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