1. Steph1981
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    Steph1981 New Member

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    What do I do first?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Steph1981, Jun 27, 2010.

    Hi there,

    I am hoping that someone can help me sort through my muddled thoughts! I have lots of ideas for the children's book I am planning to write but I don't really know where to start. I have a plot line thought out and also the start of a chapter breakdown, but what is the best thing to start with? I know my characters are important but once all this is done, I am struggling to think about how to put it all onto paper as a story.

    Also, I have lots of 'how to' books, but what are people's thoughts on completing a writing course as well? I am currently undertaking a writing for children course but I find that it is veering my attention away from the book I want to write. My husband thinks I should continue with it as it will teach me lots of the skills I need, but lots of the books I have contain exercises to do at the end of each chapter and then at least I know I will be working on my own story.

    Any help on either of these topics would be great,

    Steph:)
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't even worry about a chapter breakdown at this point.

    My suggestion is, as soon as you have your initial characters roughly defined, start writing the first scene and see where it takes you.

    Some people need to pre-plan more than others. Other lose their momentum if they overplan. The only way to know which you are is to start writing and see how it goes for you.

    You will be revising later, so don't worry about getting it perfect right away.
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have lots of ideas for the children's book I am planning to write
    Establish what age you are writing for, research and read books geared toward that age group, talk to teachers maybe to see what type of themes are useful, test out a few ideas with kids...

    I have a plot line thought out
    good...find the main drive of your story, the 'theme' if you like. For younger children lots of subplotting isn't a good idea.

    and also the start of a chapter breakdown
    IMO, think in terms of 'scenes', not chapters

    I know my characters are important but once all this is done, I am struggling to think about how to put it all onto paper as a story.
    Again, my opinion, but it's a good idea in a children's book to have the main events driven by things that the characters do, not things that they have happen to them...

    Also, I have lots of 'how to' books, but what are people's thoughts on completing a writing course as well?
    Some 'how to' books can be useful, although there is no 100% 'right way' I would say. If you do a writing course properly, you may find that you don't have so much time for your book, and you will have to shelve it for a bit.

    I am currently undertaking a writing for children course but I find that it is veering my attention away from the book I want to write.
    Aha! Yes, that's what I meant above. Similar thing happened to me a while back. I'm still paying for the course, but I'm too busy finishing my novel now to do the assignments.

    My husband thinks I should continue with it as it will teach me lots of the skills I need
    He has a point but you can always go back to it...

    And good luck with it--it's hard work no matter how you go about it!
     
  4. Steph1981
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    Steph1981 New Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts - really useful to get another person's persepective. I am a teacher so that always helps things and I know the age I am gearing my book towards - 9-12 years. This is the age I teach, which is also useful. The great thing is that I read a lot to my class and with my class, so that means I am quite active in my reading.

    I sometimes feel that I read a lot about writing, but don't actually get round to the actual writing bit. I know that I need to think about in terms of next steps - character development is my main area to focus on I think.

    I really have appreciated your help,

    Thanks
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, 9-12 readers are sophisticated enought to understand and even demand well-rounded, growing characters.
     
  6. miricale
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    miricale Member

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    If I have a plot and everything set and I have no clue where to start, what I do is sit down at the computer put my ipod on shuffle and just start. The music let's you concentrate and gets a beat going. The songs also might give you inspiration.
    Good Luck
     

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