1. CJTodd
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    CJTodd New Member

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    New to this..

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by CJTodd, Feb 2, 2013.

    I'm new to writing. I've always been able to write essays and such, but I've never actually written a story of my own. I have many of them in my head that I would like to put onto paper, but the problem is that I don't even know how to start. I don't know what goes into writing a story. If anyone could help me out with some advice that'd be amazing.
     
  2. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    Well, the way I treat such things kind of entails a 'full speed ahead' approach, meaning, just start writing something, and do so every day. Get yourself into a groove, whether you're writing journal entries, essays, articles, observations, anything. You have to start training yourself, have to start developing a different mind-state.

    As for stories, some people like to outline things to get some clue as to what the whole piece may look like. You have an idea or a character, you want him to go to this place for this reason, this thing happenes, this is how he reacts, and it forces him into this other new place, where this thing happens, or the solution shows itself, and the story ends.

    Others like to, as Bradbury did, "Jump off the cliff and build my (your) wings on the way down."

    This technique allows the element of surprise to shape stories, where you aren't limiting yourself to character descriptions, for you really have no insight into how they speak or act, and by creating situations and events that force them to do so respectively, on the go, you discover shades you may never have considered until writing that part of the story. It creates plenty of fresh space, but sometimes involves more work than the other route, for you discover new twists and turns that need heavy revisions, full deletions of paragraphs, complete re-writes of not only scenes, but dialogue, as the characters flesh themselves out in your narrative and become living, breathing creatures.

    If I were you, I would start off by learning the basics, or refreshing yourself, on grammar, especially how grammar pertains to fiction. Depending on your cultural situation, there's ways to punctuate dialogue, page breaks, new paragraphs, and different ways to format Manuscripts for Fiction Submissions. Another serious requisite is to read the best literature you can get your hands on, starting off with classics and ageless tales. There you will find ways to structure sentences and paragraphs and dialogue, ways to set up scenes, ways to characterize, how to pace your narrative--the devices writers utilize to enrich their ideas and their stories and their characters.

    All of this can be found in a quick google search, esspecially the MSS formatting, which typically is universal, but if you're overseas, may differ in ways unknown to me.

    Also, don't indulge yourself in the many formulaic approaches to writing fiction, at least not in this stage, for those really deal with style, and they almost get stagnant, for you'll start developing your own feel for such things, and your own intuition may completely contradict what the 'norm' is for paragraph content, what the 'norm' is for action and reaction scenes, while having your own work just as brilliantly. Even more so with an increasing absorbtion of the best literary works active in your lifestyle.

    After all is said and done, the reality is, there is a huge difference between people who simply have ideas, and people such as yourself and me--writers, and that difference is, the people with ideas just have ideas, and all they do is talk about them, while writers attempt to make those ideas reality by writing.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Always be aware that you don't have to get it right the first time. Staring at a blank page (or screen) can be very intimidating for a beginner setting out to write a new story. But those first words you write are not carved in stone. You'll revise, edit, rewrite several times - perhaps many times - before you're finished the story.

    So just start, confident that those first words won't last. They just get you going. At some point, you'll realize you need a different beginning, and you'll revisit the first page or two or ten. It doesn't really matter when this happens, but knowing that it will happen lifts a huge burden off your shoulders - you don't have to write deathless prose from the git-go.

    Take it easy and have fun. You'll get through it.
     
  4. Bimber
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    Bimber Contributing Member

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    Also keep in mind the first book you write will be the worst thing you write, dont expect too much of it as it takes experience, so always keep in mind "practice makes perfect".

    Research is your friend, so dont shy from it, also look for tips from published writers how they write and learn from the best.
    Found a website were some published and well known writers meet and talk about how to write, that helped me understand a lot of it, not allowed to share links on forum but if you'r interested let me know and can drop it in PM. But i do find it silly considering this is a learning place we should be allowed to share useful information :/
     
  5. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Could you send me this link in pm too?

    Thank you in advance
     
  6. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't worry too much about it and just start. You can worry about the technicalities after you've decided what it is you want to achieve with your writing.
     
  7. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I start a new chapter like I talk to women. I babble insanities until I find a portion of the right combination.

    By that I mean, I just sit in front of the laptop and type the idea--madly. Oh, I butcher spelling, syntax, I forget quote marks in dialog, I type so fast and so poorly that even I get confused on the first re-write.

    But the germ of the idea is now down as a solid, tangible, visual exercise. I can save the text, and even walk away. Tomorrow is another day to laugh myself silly about rudimentary errors and gaping holes in continuity.

    If nothing elese, "the repairs" are a good way to fend off writers' block.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    how much fiction do you read?

    if you don't read it constantly and have read it for years, that would be where to start... no one can become a good writer if not first a good and constant reader...

    read/study stories in the genre you want to write, as well as the best fiction of all kinds and eras and you'll learn what a story consists of and how to structure one... that would be more effective than following tips, as what works for others may not work well for you...
     
  9. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    As mamamia said... or to quote a friend of mine: "A writer is just a reader who decided to do something."
     
  10. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    I started out writing 2,000 word short stories, and developed my writing skills that way. I had a brief phase of writing 4, or 5, 400 word short stories in one day (those were some of my favorite times writing), lately I have been writing short stories in the 10,000 word range. this is what I do as personal writing, or 'practice' writing. At the same time I have a main project.
     
  11. NellaFantasia
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    NellaFantasia Member

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    What goes into writing a story is...a lot. Things you'll learn over time as you write and develop as a writer. Don't feel obligated to perfect everything at once or you'll only become overwhelmed. As others have already said, just write. Writing, reading, researching, asking questions, editing, all these things will help you and may take time, but it's totally worth it.
     
  12. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Oh, and I might add a very important aspect to writing--and living in general.

    Step out in courage whenever you can. Curse the odds, belittle the criticism. If I would have known that I would have lived even wilder.

    Having someone pan your writing, your opinion, or your story arc doesn't really hurt you. It doesn't detract from you as a person, your personal safety or the core reason why the critic said what he did. You must realize that half of what a critic says is based on jealousy anyway.

    I always say, I had my nose broken twice. First one just surprised me. The second one didn't hurt at all. So what if a guy doesn't like your stuff?

    Just this morning I got a PM from a fellow member who discussed bans in forums. I replied that this practice doesn't bother me in the least. At its best, a computer is a big dumb adding machine with a coaxial cable, not some vital heart/lung machine. Live bold!

    CJTodd, you must have a story rattling around inside you that is the most important guiding light in your life. Truely personal, vitally important, and perhaps painful to express other than to trusted friends. Trust me, millions have the same ideology.

    My advice--write it! Don't fear some bozo in Peoria with a blue pencil and a mommy fixation! Type it out, send the tale on its way. If it's a mess, we'll all tell you, but at the end of the day you'll go get an Oreo and begin the second novel. Fear not.
     
  13. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do it. Is a great feeling, first time. Kick off with a ramble about the journey to work, school. 500 words. Try freewriting too, glue yourself to a pen and return after and remove the two clauses that hold some interest. Is practise.

    Reading...well, short stories...lots of people like Carver, Jack London astonishing, Bukowski's fun. Ehmm, bit male...that list <adjusts petticoat>

    Destroy adjectives; imagine the reader, give them a smooth ride through the text, with pictures. Am boring myself now.
     

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