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How to Start Writing (need help) : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

How to Start Writing (need help)

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weirdo
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How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby weirdo » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:30 pm

Hi
I'm 28 years old and I read a lot, mostly literary fiction .I had this passion to write at some points in my life but was never able to start anything serious. I wrote some few short stories at some points in time but they were nothing considerable. I have this urge to write again now, the very thing is I really don't know how. I don't have any idea. The act of writing though I have a passion for it , as I want to start it even before putting a word down becomes an impossible job. I'd appreciate if anyone can help me through this by giving some advice.

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pls
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby pls » Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:39 pm

1. Plant butt in chair.
2. Turn on computer and launch your favorite word processor.
3. Start typing, even if it's nonsense.

Eventually you'll be able to come up with genre, plot, characters, setting, etc. (if you're attempting fiction). But for starters, just type anything that comes to mind until you get past the fear of writing. If you're not a pantser, jot down a preliminary outline to a story and follow it until your characters take over and make you abandon the outline.
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Brien Sz
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby Brien Sz » Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:59 pm

Exactly as above. Also - breathe easy. Don't try to write it all at once - one page at a time. Take the one idea and begin. As Nike says: Just do it. We can't help you with the words, they are yours. Start. It doesn't matter much in the beginning if it's any good. Right now you are simply trying to establish the habit of 'doing.' If you have talent, you'll learn the craft and shape the story. But as mentioned in the above post - turn on the computer, butt in seat and start banging on the keys.

MatthewTM
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby MatthewTM » Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:17 pm

Everyone's different, but here's one approach that might get the ball rolling...

Don't start by committing to a specific type or length of story like a literary novel. That can feel rather intimidating. Af first, you could just allow yourself to write snapshots, scenes and flash fiction. From there you might find yourself drawn towards a natural length or format for the ideas that start to grow.

But mainly, remember you're only writing for yourself until you decide it's ready. If something isn't quite right, you can leave it as it is, move on and come back to that part later. You can sketch parts in quite loosely. It doesn't matter if it isn't so good at first. It doesn't matter if a bit of dialogue is clunky or someone's name isn't right. Just keep working on it. You don't know what you've got until you start to lay it down on a page. Then you can start to tidy things up.

Hope that helps.
Last edited by MatthewTM on Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CharlyT
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby CharlyT » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:57 pm

There are some great story generators out there (google turns up several) that throw random phrases together. For one project I was doing with a friend, we pulled out three diverse magazines and read the last line in each article until we came across one that resonated.

Another great way to get started is by picking something that's been released from copyright (think Rudyard Kipling) and retelling the story in your own words, perhaps even with a twist somewhere. There are lots of returns on a google search of "writing exercises" that will help you build confidence. If you're anything like me (I was intimidated by the idea at first too), I found that reading texts about writing by successful authors such as Stephen King made it clear that good writing has far more to do with skills, which are attainable by anyone with the dedication to learn them, than it has to do with talent.

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mammamaia
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby mammamaia » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:24 am

if having a mentor guide you along the learning path would help, i always have time for one more mentee...

love and hugs, maia
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IlsaPup
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby IlsaPup » Sun Apr 12, 2015 3:51 pm

I got started in a school project. 20 words that had to be in my story. It's a small, seemingly silly project but can give you focus. Next came the "here's a topic" write about that. I had no idea there were books on writing or Writer's Digest. I was a kid in farm country. I didn't even have access to a library until school was in session. So anyway next I took my favorite novel & took it apart. I wrote my own story using that book as a model. No worries, no plagiarism. I shredded the book as soon as I was satisfied I had followed a successful pattern. Next I worked toward making my own successful pattern. I spent a lot of years trying to find an easier way. I now use Save The Cat by Blake Snyder (3 books). I use it to create a loose skeleton for my story. Once I do the beat sheet I have an outline which gives me purpose. Then I start doing the scenes I already have in mind. Generally I have some pretty strong ones for the outline. FOR ME - not saying it's like this for anyone else- if I try pantsing I meander too much, my story gets too long & I spent a lot more time editing. I hate editing. So I use the Save The Cat method to give me a little map. Doesn't mean I can't detour or meander. It doesn't mean that I won't go back & adjust the map if I have better ideas. I have literally written thousands & thousands of pages. I only wish I'd had the Save The Cat years ago. This is a way of mapping out a story to give me a direction to write toward. Before I start writing I have a theme for the whole book. I have a good idea of the dots I will be connecting. The current Cozy Mystery I'm writing ended up having a totally different killer than I planned at the beginning. So don't think it ties up your creativity.

I hope it helps. You might try the elementary writing assignments. I sit & listen to television & pick the words: welcome, relationship, admission, dancing, celebration, free, gift, lucky, etc... (I came up with that list just randomly picking out words from the tv show Bones). Use the words to create your own little writing piece. But pls is 100% correct. You must put your britches in the chair & write even if it's total junk, even if it makes no sense. Getting into the habit of writing is very very important. As Nike says... Just Do It ;)

James A. Ritchie
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:17 am


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DrG2
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby DrG2 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:23 pm

Why do you want to write? What do you want to get out of it?

Writers are people who write.
If you are having trouble even starting to write, I wonder why you want to do it.

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JennaSayles
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Re: How to Start Writing (need help)

Postby JennaSayles » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:02 pm

Proud author (writing as J.E. Sayles) at Mundania Press.
I love to write, and I love teaching others how to write to get published.

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