1. Nadnight258
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    Nadnight258 New Member

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    How to start writing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Nadnight258, Jun 7, 2015.

    Hi, I'm a student and I'm interested in writing. I've just finished my exams so can now devote time to it however I attempted a piece of creative writing using a prompt, but I can't seem to get into the flow of things. It's all up there in my head (I narrate scenes in my head during the day :') ) but I have trouble getting onto paper. I over think the details (like planning characters and plot) and can't seem to just relax and let the words flow. Does anyone have any advice?
    Thankyou:D
     
  2. Jack Kensington
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    Jack Kensington Member

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    Hello and welcome to the forum. I'm new to writing and the forum as well.

    When I was young, say 12-13, which was 7 years ago I used to struggle in English lessons. We were told to create a story and lessons were an hour long.

    It would take me around 10 to 15 minutes just to start beginning to write the story as I agonized about, what was the story about? How on earth do I start it? Where the HELL DO I BEGIN?!

    Now I've just begun my novel and I'm around sixteen thousand words into the project and it's taken me around a month from lack of time to not knowing what to write. I got past that by just taking one idea and then writing it, and voila, it turned out fine. Now, if it didn't turn out fine I would have scrapped it and remade it. I've remodeled a start of a chapter once, deleted around five hundred words and ended up replacing that with two thousand.

    My only advice is to just start writing and experiment. If it doesn't work, ask yourself why? Why don't you like it? How can you change it so you do?

    For planning, maybe create separate word docs for each character, setting etc and then describe them and state the facts about them.

    To back this theory of just start, runners don't find the rhythm straight away. It takes around 8-15 minutes to find their rhythm which allows them to enjoy it and to run further with less mental effort. Or so I have been told by many people :)

    I'm curious, what was the prompt and what are your ideas for the story? Maybe we, the forum, can give you some ideas and inspiration for the start of your story.
     
  3. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    Take two characters who have incompatible goals, and lock them in a room. Write down what they do.
     
  4. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    If you ever figure out the secret to how to write, let all of us know.
     
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  5. Lance Schukies
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    Lance Schukies Active Member

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    to me writing is a just do it thing, as it is art there is no right or wrong just good and bad, (which is very subjective).

    the best thing about modern times for writers is electronic word processing you can edit your work and not have rewrite it
     
  6. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    In my experience, the best way to to get past the planing stages and start getting your ideas on paper is to actually sit down and write what is interesting to you. No one ever said you had to sit down and write the story start to finish. If you have to write in sections and scenes - even if they are not truly connecte to the plot or story - just write. Writing, itself, has a cascading effect. Once you get a rhythm, it is easy to let the mental river flow. The key is to be interested and engaged, so that is where I suggest starting.

    For example, I was working on a project a while back, some 4 years ago now (geez, where has the time gone), and I wasn't quite sure how to start. To get around that. I started with some generic, "once upon a time" sort of intro, and kept going until I got to the part I really wanted to write. From there the writing was easy. I had replayed the scene in my mind so many times, putting on paper the first time was no problem. Ideas after that just came to me as the story went this direction or that. After a while I was able to go back and rewrite my intro to fit what the story needed. Of course the whole thing needed revision, as is the case with rough drafts, but that can be easier than the initial writing for many people.

    Hoe that helps. Good Luck!

    Andrae :cool:
     
  7. J_Downloading
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    J_Downloading Member

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    Literally just sit down, turn off the internet, turn off your phone, close the door, make your beverage of choice and write. If you know what characters you want to use then write a scene that shows the reader their main characteristics. Don't worry about the quality of the writing because you can go back over it later. If you know what your plot is going to be then pick a point in it that motivates you and write it. Again, don't worry about the quality.

    After you feel that you have either adequately introduced the character or written down your plot point then stop. Come back and edit it later after you've let your mind think about other things.

    Repeat until you have as much as you want. Remember and never forget that the quality of a story is in the completed product. While you're writing and while you're editing it will not seem as good as those stories that you admire. Once you're done it will have that quality of completeness to it. Maybe even then it won't be as good as other stories. Well then your next one can even better, can't it?
     
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  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    What the others said, plus bear in mind that you're not going to write a masterpiece the first time. Unless you're an undiscovered genius, the first couple of years you're going to write a lot of crap. Writing is a craft, and it takes time and practice and a willingness to make a lot of mistakes.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    They don't flow. Not at first. At least for me. That was a surprise to me. Nonfiction writing flows for me, so I expected fiction to flow, and I was stalled for a long time when that just didn't happen. I finally realized that for me, fiction and nonfiction writing are fundamentally different.

    Nonfiction is essentially a translation of my thoughts into words, and a fair little bit of it is a literal translation; actual phrases in my head end up on the page, and the order of my thoughts tends to end up as the order of the writing, at least the first draft of the writing.

    But the raw in-the-head material of fiction isn't in the form of words. It's largely pictures and movement. Characters wandering around, having emotions, having thoughts, being in settings that my mind's observer can see and hear and smell. The only part of it that's in words is the characters' dialog and maybe some of their thoughts.

    Translating a picture, sound, smell, into words is far more difficult than translating words into more elegant words. You sit down with your hands on the keyboard, see the picture, try to type, and say, "What the...? Nothing's coming out!" How could that happen? The picture, emotions, actions, are so clear in your head. Why don't they come out?

    They don't come out because they don't exist in the form of words. In fact, I think that my use of the word "translating" above was wrong. You don't translate. You come up with words, and then you read them, and you see if the picture that those words conjure up has any resemblance to the original picture that was in your head. And it won't match that picture, not perfectly, not even closely. The picture that they produce is like a highly stylized cartoon of that original picture.

    So I feel that the first step to making it easier is realizing that it's not going to be easy. You're going to struggle and groan and drag words kicking and screaming onto the page, and evaluate whether you've communicated anything at all. And then do it again. And after you've done it for a few hundred thousand words, it may get easier.
     
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  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Wow. that is EXACTLY my experience. Exactly.

    I wonder if it's harder for us folks who are experienced in writing various kinds of non-fiction? It was certainly hard for me to break out of expository mode. I found I wrote very melodramatic fiction at first, and maybe that helped. Go ape, in other words. Do the complete opposite of what you've always done. You can tame it later, bring it down to earth? It worked for me, but it was a weird and not easy experience.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. That sounds like a very interesting idea. I've never tried it; I've always retained a determinedly dryish style. I let humor in, or at least I'm under the delusion that it's humor :), but not a lot of emotion. I'm going to try to try that. (I say "try to try" because it's hard to break that sort of guardedness.)
     
  12. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's been my experience too, although I haven't been able to articulate it as well you just did.

    Reading this actually makes me feel better about my writing, or, more accurately, my potential to write. And it gives me a new way to think about how I write.

    I may not have been your intended audience, but I still want to say "Thanks!"
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, my problem is slightly different now. After doing the melodrama bit, then editing it out of my first novel ...now I find it hard to write melodrama in my second. So it's back to being dry and dull. Dammit. (I mentioned this on another thread.)

    Conclusion: writing fiction is hard work. But well worth it.
     
  14. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let the story write itself. Start writing and you may incorporate your ideas into it. And if not, write a second book. And a third and a fourth and a fifth.
     
  15. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    sit down wherever that may be. In front of your computer, typewriter or notepad and pen. Describe your surroundings. Use all 5 senses. What do you smell and if you say nothing, then write I smell nothing, don't just leave it out. Write what you could touch from where you are without getting up and walking to it. What can you hear, see and taste? If I can write, anyone can.

    And another thing, no one will die extra because you write crap. If that would be the case I'd be guilty for killing off a lot of people.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  16. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Read a lot and study various authors techniques in the process. Learn word mechanics. Grow your vocabulary. Then take a sheet of paper, pick up a pen, and go to work.

    The sky's the limit, buddy.

    P.S. Be patient!
     
  17. pachap
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    pachap New Member

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    Very good advice above.

    My entry into non-fiction recently got a nice jump-start. I simply began writing down the scenes that I had in my head. After putting some polish and shine on them I began to work on linking the major points together in what seemed like a logical manner, at least logical enough for the story I am trying to tell. It's been a challenge, and there is still plenty of work to do, but now I can genuinely say that I have started writing my first novel.
     

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