Different as we all are, there are certain things most of us do to get from Chapter 1 to The End. By the time they start the 'proper' text, they've usually put in a lot of preparation. In order to finish a novel, you need to roughly know where it's going. Planning may sound like the very antithesis of creativity, but it's a totally creative process. Many novice writers are inspired by an interesting situation but have no idea where they're going to take it. This usually dawns on them after the first rush of enthusiasm, and at that point the writing often becomes a chore.
If you brainstorm the big picture, the actual writing is even more rewarding - you know you will have a cracking tale to tell.
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Genres have their own conventions. In a straightforward romance, the pair must end up together. In a literary novel, the romance and the way it turns out might be used to illuminate a more complex truth about the human condition, which may not be simple and happy. Murders in fiction have infinite uses too. In a cosy mystery a murder disturbs the lives of nice folk and must be solved. In a novel about a serial killer, you turn up the gore and depravity.
In a literary novel you might focus on the murderer and a life shadowed by guilt.
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Knowing these conventions will help guide your story decisions. They can also give you more ideas. Once you know what the readers are used to and the set pieces they expect, you can play with their expectations and put your individual stamp on them. Once you know roughly what your characters are doing and the kinds of activities they might be involved in eg deep-sea fishing, solving murders in Regency London , you can find the details to bring them to life. Did something in his past cause the disaster? What events have shaped him to make him respond to the disaster in the way he does?
Once you have a basic idea of how your character will be invested in the main story, you can start unearthing the nitty-gritty details of his life with a character interview. Look for settings that will be inherent to your plot.
- Step 1: Nail-down a winning story idea.?
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If so, dig a little deeper to find a setting better suited to your plot, theme and characters. Can you reduce this list by combining or eliminating settings?
Nothing wrong with a sprawling story locale, but extraneous settings should be eliminated just as assiduously as unnecessary characters. This is where you will begin plotting in earnest. In Step 2, you solidified the big picture of your story by identifying the scenes you were already aware of and figuring out how they might fit together. Now, you will work through your story linearly, scene by scene, numbering each one as you go. How comprehensive you want to be is up to you. Who will be your narrating character? What is his goal?
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What obstacle will arise to obstruct that goal and create conflict? What will be the outcome, and how will your character react to the resulting dilemma? Work to create a linear, well-structured plot with no gaps in the story. As you mentally work through each scene, watch for possible lapses of logic or blank areas in how one event builds to another. If you get stuck, try jumping ahead to the next scene you know, and then working backward.
Doing so allows you to weed out extraneous thoughts and summarize the entire outline into a scannable list for easier reference. Rather than having to wade through the bulk of your notes every time you sit down to work on your first draft, you can save yourself time in the long run by doing a little organizing now. You may choose to create your abbreviated outline in a Word document, write out your scenes on index cards, or use a software program such as the free Scrivener alternative yWriter. Each time you sit down to work on your manuscript, begin by reviewing your outline.
Read the notes for your current scene and the scene to follow. Before you start writing, work through any remaining potential problems in your head or on paper. These ventures into unknown territory can result in some of the most surprising and intriguing parts of your story.
Ten rules for writing fiction | Books | The Guardian
An outline will offer you invaluable structure and guidance as you write your first draft, but never be afraid to explore new ideas as they occur. Register today! It is a great tool. I recommend it. The second tool is a weekly leaderboard:. Because leaderboard displays the top writers of the week, even novice and aspiring writers can jump in, and see their progress without having to compete with veterans who write less frequently or wrote great stories long ago.
Together, these tools track and measure your writing progress, representing it as 3 simple numbers:. This allows you to set straightforward and attainable goals I recommend starting with words per day , motivates you to write as much as possible, gives you immediate feedback on your progress, and helps to develop good habits. When a human brain sees a number, it naturally strives to maximize it. Just by looking at these 3 metrics, and trying to improve them, you will maximize your learning speed. And competition will make this journey extra engaging, and fun. So there you go, writing process, broken down into fun and easy steps.
I believe this is all you need to maximize your potential and become a great writer. Of course, I myself have a lot to learn, but now I have the roadmap and the process which I can use to consistently move forward and feel the sense of progress. My ultimate dream is to develop a system that guarantees that you will never experience a writing block, that helps any aspiring writer to rapidly master this craft, and makes it feel like playing a cool computer game. If you have found this system useful, and would like to help this project, you can do it in two ways:. Sign in. Get started. Step by step Story Writing process.
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