1. sophzo
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    sophzo New Member

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    HELP! How do I start?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sophzo, Jun 10, 2011.

    I have all the ideas, my main characters and the storyline - albeit a slightly vague rough storyline - but when I want to start writing the story as a whole, I have the working-title and nothing else on my screen.

    The general concept involves four main characters - eventually breaking off into two pairs - who will grow throughout the story. I have a start on each of the character's individual tales but for some reason I cannot seem to start the actual story!

    Any help, tips, personal frames of reference would prove to be a great help.
    Thanks
    Sophie
     
  2. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    Write one sentence. Then write another.

    I know that sounds patronising, but I don't know what else you expect to hear. The only way to start writing is to write. You can always go back to edit and smooth things over later.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    At some point you just have to start typing. Even if it isn't exactly what you envision. Even if you don't think it is coming out exactly right.

    Sure, you can revisit your outline, go back and try to flesh out the storyline and characters until you find the "right" starting place, etc., but at some point all of these things become tools for avoiding actual writing.

    The problem is that often the writer feels that she can't adequately translate the vision in her head to paper or to the screen, and this leads to an inability to write the work because the writing seems to be a mere shadow of the vision. The answer is to just write, regardless, and worry about the details later.
     
  4. stevenchapmanwriter
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    stevenchapmanwriter Member

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    Same advice as above. It's about getting something down on paper then elaborating it.
     
  5. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Start by introducing something you want your readers to know.
     
  6. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    The start is always the hardest. You want to start somewhere in your story that will hook your reader and start the ball rolling but where. Some times you know exactly where to start and some times you spend a week staring at the blinking cursor.

    A trick that works for me sometimes, is to write the end of the story. It would not have to be the ending you will finally use just a brain storm to kick your muse in the rear.

    What ever you do do not start the start out talking about the weather or the environment, just show us your MC (or main device or whatever) and what he or she is doing at that point in your story.
     
  7. sophzo
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    sophzo New Member

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    Thank you for all the help and advice. I suppose the obvious - just start writing - never really came to me.
     
  8. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    You just have to start somewhere.
    Type the first line of the scene that you like, then continue.

    This does not mean it is permanently the beginning, nor that it will stay in.

    When you get something down, you have something to work with, rather then the endless possibilities in your head.

    The first few words are the basic frame work, and probably will be changed, altered or deleted before you are done.

    Until you write it down, it is not writing. They are just thoughts in your head.

    Jump in, the water is fine.
     
  9. stevenchapmanwriter
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    stevenchapmanwriter Member

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    You have to stop thinking of it in terms of "what will the reader think?"

    The reader isn't going to see it for a long time, and not until it has been revised MANY times. So dive right in and scribble stuff down. Even if you end up deleting everything it will still give you ideas, and you'll know what NOT to write.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Good answers above, to which I would add this (because I did it in my first attempt at a novel) - you must have in your mind some interaction among the characters, or at least between two of them. Write that. Don't worry about where it ultimately fits, just write the scene. Because in doing that, you will develop a feel for the interactions between/among the characters involved, and that in turn will help you further develop their personalities, which in turn will direct how and why they act in your story.

    To me, character and plot development are dynamic processes, which is why your characters and your storyline will often change as you write. Your understanding of who they are and how they act grows the more you write about them.

    Good luck.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Start with change. Start with a day that is different than usual and which is significant for the plot.
     
  12. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Exactly. You start at the beginning, the one event that changed every thing.
     
  13. Venusian31
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    Venusian31 Member

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    When I have this problem, I sometimes start by writing "Once upon a time there was..." and then taking off from there. It gets me going into my story and once it's written, I go back and rewrite the beginning.

    If your 4 characters are people who start out as a group of friends before splitting up and going about their separate lives, try starting with "One upon a time there were four people who were the best of friends..." and go from there. Write a little bit about how they were as a group and then move into your story. What was the group like before they split? What made them a group in the first place? What leads them to split off into separate lives?

    It might work for you, it might not, but it can't hurt to try.
     
  14. Phruizler
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    Phruizler Member

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    Something I often do, which I've found works well for me, is to write an event, whether it's the beginning or not, that you know you want in the story. Like you said, you have a rough outline of the plot. Write a scene from any point in this plot (write the scene where your four characters break into groups of two, for instance). This way you don't need to worry about a beginning right away, and it gets you writing and warmed up. Then, just think backwards. How did the characters get to this scene? What happened to them beforehand? How long ago did your story begin? What questions need to be answered before this scene can make sense?

    It's not as though you have to write all the way back to the beginning; just think about it! For me it takes no time at all before I'm eagerly working my way from the first page to try and get to the scene I've written.
     
  15. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    Expect this answer to every such question: Write, write, write. If you've got the idea and the story, then all that remains is writing. Writers write (and read, for all those who would add that if I didn't :p ).

    So get to it and enjoy yourself. It's your first draft. If it's inconsistent, oh well. You can fix that later. The important thing is to write the story.
     
  16. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    You start with trouble.

    Writer John Brown says your readers have fear and hope for your characters; fear that they will fail and hope that they will not. Now, hope can not exist without the fear. So, you start with trouble for your protagonist, developing the fear and, indirectly, the hope.

    Now, your trouble for your protagonist need not be bad things happening. It can be a foreshadow of things to come. If you start with trouble, you are doing a fast start. If you start with foreshadowing, you have a slow start. If you start with anything else, you are boring.

    Do not start with each character's background unless you can use it to foreshadow things to come.

    Otherwise, it's boring.

    If you can't think of anything to foreshadow their future, throw them into action right away. More trouble than they can handle is always a good start.
     
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  17. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Whenever you get any scene ideas in your head, from any part in the story, write them down. You can always organize them later.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Get in touch with your inner Nike: Just Do It.

    It won't be perfecr, but you need to start stringing words together, then sentences, paragraphs, chapters. Then go back and revise.
     
  19. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    I love this idea. Now I have to try it. Maybe I will try a short story.
     

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