1. The Warlus Man
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    The Warlus Man New Member

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    How should you start writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The Warlus Man, Mar 2, 2013.

    Hi, I'm new here.
    I've been writing songs for about an year, and I would like to start writing other stuff as well. The problem is that I don't know where to start! I mean I'd like to be writing short-stories, poems, plays and novels and of course continue the song-writing.
    So what should I do? What will develop me most as a beginner writer? The oblivious answer would be "write anything" of "write what feels right to you", but all of the types of writing seem equally appealing. So any suggestions?
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    First of all, you need to read all the time. Everything and anything you can get your hands on, even if you don't like the genre. For example, I hate readin non-fiction, but occassionally I read it because everything that is read is stored up in your mind and is subconsciously used in the things that you write. So that's my first tip.

    Secondly, you need to write every day, or at least every other. Again, try and write a bit of everything, and not just what takes your fancy (although by all means write what you want to write). Drama, fantasy, science-fiction, crime. Some you will hate, others you will not. Try to write about 500-1000 words a day, but that's just a suggestion. Perhaps you will eventually like to create a story which combines two genres, such as science-fiction and crime. That's great. But before you begin a full-blown story, just write a little bit every day - it will begin to get your creative juices flowing. When you feel you are ready to do it, try to write a short story. If you want to read a book on how to do this, I suggest you read Iain Pattison's Cracking the Short Story Market.

    Finally, and a little annoyingly, take all advice, definitely including mine, with a pinch of salt. All writers do things differently, and it's up to you to decide what's comfortable for you personally. That said, seeing as you don't write much yet, if I were you I would take all the advice you can get until you are more experienced and able to know what suited you best/what you preferred.

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope this helps. :)
     
  3. lauramaidah
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    lauramaidah Banned

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    Start reading a lot before you need to ask us how to start writing.
     
  4. The Warlus Man
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    The Warlus Man New Member

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    Thank you for the advice. I'm already writing about 1 song a day, but I think I'm adding the 500 words to my daily routine for other writing.

    So do you suggest I should start writing short stories first and then go for longer texts? That sounds logical. I was actually thinking about it myself.

    And that's a great idea to be choosing different genres, because it makes different texts -> develops skill.

    I haven't been reading a lot before except for school. The reason is that I feel like it takes a lot of time to read a book. Not saying I don't enjoy reading, but the time is the problem. But it's an issue of management, so it can be handled.

    Any other thoughts?
     
  5. The Warlus Man
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    The Warlus Man New Member

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    I sense a negative vibe from your answer, but I let it go. Thanks for the tip!
     
  6. lauramaidah
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    lauramaidah Banned

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    Don't get it get you down, bro. It's a positive kick-off. Like go you! You can do it. Start sitting still. Be patient. Read a page at a time. Or less. If reading is your bane of your existence. If not, and I'm talking down to you like you're a beginner? Whoops. Prove me wrong. Beat me at everything ever and start reading.
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely read and read different things - even try out genres you're quite sure you hate. You want to see how different writers do things and those can cross genre lines ;)

    I would recommend starting with short pieces, based on you already writing songs. It'll be an easier transition. A favorite of mine to find random photos in magazines or on the net and writing very short stories about them - sometimes only a page, sometimes several. It's a way of 'playing' and experimenting.
     
  8. lauramaidah
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    lauramaidah Banned

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    "A favorite of mine to find random photos in magazines or on the net and writing very short stories about them - sometimes only a page, sometimes several. It's a way of 'playing' and experimenting."

    I heard that was therapeutic. Did not work for me. I like finishing what I started. Lol. I used to call that artsNcrafts. I like music. I like recording and finishing a song, posting it, and getting FEEDBACK> feedback was and is key for me. Professors, you guys, random slobs.
     
  9. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I think writing short stories first is the way to go. The stories are usually far simpler, only focusing on two or three characters most of the time, and the character development doesn't have to be gradual, which can be a challenge with novels.

    As for the reading, do so whenever you can. If you catch a bus or commute to work/school, then read a book (presuming you don't get headaches like some people). Read in bed, while the kettle's boiling, and try having a slot of time for it instead of television. But yes, only you know your schedule and what you can do within that time, so you will have to figure it for yourself, I'm afraid.

    Any other thoughts? I suppose I would have to say keep a notebook on you at all times, or dictaphone, or whatever. Observe the people around you; see how they move, the way they speak to others. Jot down whatever catches your eye: a building, a scene, a person. Do sketches if you can, even if they're terrible, as they will become useful later. Writing these things down and seeing the world like this helps you to capture the real world onto paper (and if you do fantasy, then the people and problems should still be based on the people and problems of Earth, so readers can identify with them), making your writing more realistic and attention-grabbing.

    And above all, have fun. Creative Writing is meant to be enjoyable, so let it be so! :D
     
  10. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    I think it was Judy Bloom that gave this bit of advice:
    At the top of the page, write Chapter 1. Under it, begin writing the story. At the end, stop.
    You can probably skip that first part, but that last one is essential.
     
  11. lauramaidah
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    lauramaidah Banned

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    I think writing short stories first is the way to go.


    Don't put it all into your short stories. Great way to lose steam. Every new author gets told to start short. Sometimes, go HUGE. THen pay people to do it for you.
     
  12. lauramaidah
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    lauramaidah Banned

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    Jesus. That's a Hallmark Card made for us.
     
  13. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Of course, I agree with this. However, seeing as Walrus Man writes songs and not short stories, he has to begin somewhere. Do you really think it's wise for him first day to say, "Okay, let's write an 80,000 word novel"? I don't think so. He needs to write anything right now, even if it's just a short description of a person, or a scene where an old lady feeds bread to ducks.

    There are exceptions, but for now perhaps it's better if he does at least a week or two of short scenes and stories before planning a crime drama with various subplots and dazzling descriptions. But hey, I may be wrong. :)
     
  14. lauramaidah
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    lauramaidah Banned

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    songs show love and empathy.

    Try maybe sonnets and then a novel. DO IT
     
  15. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who said I didn't finish? :confused:
     
  16. lauramaidah
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    lauramaidah Banned

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    I know you finished. I (ME) I CAN"T I CAN"T I CAN"T FINISH. DONT TELL ME I CAN FINISH WHEN I TRIED AND FAILED. I CAN'T DO IT. I JUST CANNOT.

    hahah. I'm done ranting.

    Glad you can finish artsNcrafts.
     
  17. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    I don't think you should try writing a short story before you try writing a novel. Would you tell someone to try sprinting before trying to run a marathon? Short stories and novels are like that - they use different muscles.
    Write the story first. Then worry about length.
     
  18. lauramaidah
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    lauramaidah Banned

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    Personalities are different. FOr me, cigs (edit: quitting cigarettes) are not all mental. In the same way, writing for starters or in general is per person per situation per limitation IMHO.

    But in your case, yeah. DIfferent muscles. Songs and short stories.
     
  19. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I generally start with my main character stuck in traffic on the way to their job or they are coming home from their job, or their getting up and they are preparing to go to work, or their outside of their boss's office and there boss is about to give them a a task or task's to perfom.
     
  20. Shannonpeel
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    Shannonpeel Member

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    Read, journal, scribble, just make a mark.

    There is no right way, no wrong way, just write. Join writing groups, check your local library for groups. Go to writing seminars, classes, and symposiums. Just write.

    Everyone has a different style, a different story and are at various spots on their journey as a writer. Figure out what you want from writing in the end and work back from there. If you want to be published make that your goal then find out what it takes to get published. What are ways are there to publish.

    You write songs, do you play an instrument? Do you sing? Connect in the real world with others who do.

    The main thing though is to just do it, write.
     
  21. GhostWolfe
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    GhostWolfe Member

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    Sometimes it's not your choice. When you have an idea, sometimes that idea is full of several novels worth of plot twists and characterisations, sometimes it's just a short-story twist. Start by getting your ideas written down & see where they take you.
     
  22. The Warlus Man
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    The Warlus Man New Member

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    Thank you all for the ideas and tips.

    I've written today 650 words of a short story and got it finished. It's of course only the basic structure. I'm going to re-write a few times it to fatten up the story and get more material to choose from to the final text.

    And I read today 70 pages of a book I have to read for school.

    I think I'm on the right track now. I plan on writing a song, writing at least 500 words on short stories , and reading at least 30 pages of prose a day for starters.
     
  23. Eric242
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    Those are some very good goals to get you on the right track Walrus man! Good for you.

    Several people have said this and they are right: read a lot of material.

    As for what to write... Perhaps you could take something from a song of yours as inspiration and turn it
     
  24. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    Some writers work from an outline and build the story up in layers. Others write all of it then cut down. I prefer the second method, but to each their own.
    If you can tell a complete story in only 500 words, try flash fiction.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    Having almost no experience in writing until a year ago, I can only share with you my own experience.

    I found out about fanfic when I read the Twilight series and wanted to change the fantasy to one that gave more credit to women characters. At the same time, some of my frustration with the current political situation in the US, and my fascination with why people believe what they believe needed an outlet. From that I developed the fantasy I wanted, with more rounded characters and an intelligent, skilled but very imperfect female protagonist (she grows into a more perfect being in the story ;)). I began weaving in the politics and psychology of belief.

    I joined a Meetup writers group and lucked out finding one that is really helping me grow my ideas and actually learn to write. Every two weeks we all take a chapter of something to share with each other for critique.

    When I get stuck in a part of the story, I work out options playing with the scenes out loud while I walk my dogs in the woods.

    I still have a long way to go, but the story is maturing quite nicely.

    I guess the first thing I'd ask yourself is, what is it you want to say?
     

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