I’ve had many people tell me they want to write a book. Most of them already have a story idea, some of them started writing years ago and then stopped, and others know they want to write, but the idea is yet to strike them.
I had a vague notion most of my life that I wanted to write a book, but I never put any serious thought into it. Like most of my fellow humans I have a fantastic imagination, and I always have several stories on the go in my head. Writing them down didn’t actually occur to me for a long time. When I did start writing, it was only going to be one scene. Only one, and only because it haunted me and I needed to get it out.
Since then I’ve written over six books.
Do you have an idea for a story you want to write, but you don’t know how to start?
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of blank pages waiting to be filled. Try starting with something small in mind rather than the thought of a whole book. Start with one scene that you want to write. If you enjoy writing that bit, write another. It doesn’t have to be the first scene in the book, either. The one I began with ended up being almost half-way through the finished story. Oh, and there’s no rule that says you have to write the story following the order of events. Write what you feel like writing.
Another thing I’d recommend when starting a new project is don’t worry about writing a perfect first draft. Don’t worry about sentence structure, use of words, grammar, etc. Get the story, scene, poem, or whatever you want to write out of your head and onto paper or your computer. Sorting out character names, plots, and other details comes with editing after the draft is finished. Enjoy the process without worrying about the polish. That comes later.
Shannon Hale (New York Times best-selling author) summed it up perfectly:
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shovelling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
I’m not big on rules when it comes to writing, as in I don’t believe in rules for writers at all. I think writers should write in a way that makes them happy. I’m never going to tell you about a rule you should follow. I will, however, throw in some advice about what works for me. Note I said ‘what works for me’. It’s up to you if you want to try any of the advice I give.
Above all, do what works for you. It’s your story. Go ahead—start writing.
There is a list of useful information and places on the Write Mind resources pages. It’s not a definitive list, just something to get started. All of the sites, books, and blogs are ones I use regularly.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or send me a message (you can use the Contacts page or Facebook). For the record - there's no such thing as a stupid question!
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All about my writing life: news, research, books I've read, and more.