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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • advice for new writers - how to start : Tips and Advice • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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advice for new writers - how to start

PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 10:52 am
by williamadams
i gets lot of private messages on many topics
one got me thinking about how to get started in writing

there are many aspects of the writing biz and actual writing
please add your views and make this topic a wiki of information for a new writer

one size fits nobody
and everybody will need help in different areas
so post whatever you have
somebody will use it

----------

below my answer to one person wondering how to start

ask specific questions and i will try to answer better
broad general questions are harder to handle

and dont be afraid to post them on WD or other boards
you will get a wide range of suggestions not just my very biased opinion

to better help you get started
i need to know where you are and your background as well as where you want to go
age and education would help too

in general
to start
learn the basics
grammar
vocabulary

read a lot to get an intuitive feel for correct english
read more of the specific type of writing you want to do

writing is a business unless you just do it for yourself
and if your do that then it doesnt matter what you do or how
but
if you want to write so others read it then
so you should go to the library and read WM for an overview
then other similar books on the business of writing
and then books on specific areas such as marketing
learn how to sell your writing
and learn how to do everything in a professional manner

as to the writing itself
fiction or non fiction
both similar but you would approach then slightly differently

for fiction there are many great books on short stories or novel writing
check the reviews on amazon and then look at them at your library
pick a method that you like
‚Äčor google
there are many sites that will have methods or tips on writing

snowflake is a good one
look at it first

nothing is original
there are only a small number of basic plots and characters
the originality is how your characters use one of the plots

so read some books on the basic plots
read a book on characters
or google for the shorter versions on the internet

you have to create the story
and you can do that while you plan
which is essentially what planning is
while making it all fit together logically

you need some characters
and a situation with a problem that motivates the star aka protagonist
then fill in the details from top to bottom as if you were in a balloon
the ten mile view
the one mile view
the thousand feet view
the hundred feet
and down in the action on the ground view


the ten mile vies
everything has a start middle and ending
so what started the story
how will it end
figure out something in the middle that fits

repeat as you get closer to the ground and have all the gory details

download some templates or beat sheets for guides to fill in more at the middle levels
look at the snowflake method to help you fill them in

or do what any of those how to write a novel in a month books tell you
do look at several before you decide which one you think is best for you
library is free
amazon reviews are free
dont buy any of them unless you will actually be using it
then do buy it and keep it handy

my junior year i had no job and decided to write a novel
total fail
i didnt know how to write a novel by pantsing it
i did not even know how to write more than a page for a test

when i taught myself to write many years later because i had to
i discovered that planning made it faster better easier

planning has to fit the size of the effort
for a 700 word oped i pantsit
for a 5000 word paper i plan what needs to be in it and where
for a 100,000 word novel i would have a detailed plan to guide the writing
down to the scene and beat level with when and where did who do what and show the why

Re: advice for new writers - how to start

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:58 am
by ostarella
Her tips were good, because they were basic and, honestly, obvious. So obvious a lot of writers don't see them ;)

I didn't totally agree with #2, as far as the questionnaire. How can you answer any questions about a character until you've seen them "in action"? And then, of course, there's the problem of forcing the character to conform to the questionnaire instead of changing/growing with the developing story (as she notes in #3 - "this problem is going to shape your character, leaving her forever changed.").

Kinda like #5 (Make it believable), although I have often said I can believe anything in a story if the author makes me believe it. But the "gimmick" - yeah, stay away from that (unless you're writing humor).

My total complete favorite is #7 - Ignore the rules. Other than grammar, there are no rules, only advice/opinion, and even grammar's can be tweaked if you understand how and why.


EDIT: This was in response to a WD article referenced by a previous poster - but that seems to have disappeared :?

Re: advice for new writers - how to start

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 7:14 pm
by Alice Clay
I would avoid the "How to Write a Blockbuster" book or "How to write a book in a month", or the "Weekend Author". I call them "fail and wail" books. Good example of a long post that is worthy.

Re: advice for new writers - how to start

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 8:00 pm
by ostarella

Re: advice for new writers - how to start

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 4:30 pm
by Alice Clay
Okay. williamadams wants to start a string here for new writers. People who ask "How do I start writing?" are impossible. It has to be in you to write. You have to have been reading 2 books a week since you were ten. You have to be fascinated by words. It's like asking "How do you climb Mt Everest?" Well, have you ever hiked? Climbed up a small hill and really liked it? Do you think about it every day you aren't actually doing it? Do you have stuff in your head poking up and crying out for a shovel? Geez.