Writing is as fun as it is hellish!
I’m not joking. Fellow writers and with some time, say two or three days, you’ll come to agree with this statement. I don’t say this to be mean or to scare you off of writing. It’s more like stating a fact.
Everyone has a different difficulties when it comes to writing. Some people don’t know how to write the middle part, others can’t write an ending to save their life, and there are those who wouldn’t know a good beginning if it bit them.
Then you have the people who don’t know where to begin with their story. What’s the plot? Who are the characters? Is the conflict external or internal? There are a million questions that any writer will ask themselves as they embark on their journey and it can and will be overwhelming.
There are writers out there who can spit out plot, characters, and the perfect ending in a couple of hours. Let me be the first to say that under no circumstances should you ever compare yourself to them. Those people are rare like four leaf clover/unicorn/”I found a lost Monet in my attic” rare. The more you think about being one of them, the worse your writing will become. Do yourself a favor and forget they ever exist. Focus on yourself.
You do you and you do you well.
From yourself, you’ll find a writing style that works for you instead of copying another writer. I need to stress that copying a writer’s style and being inspired by a writer’s style are two different things and I will address it in a later post. For now, we’ll talk about how to begin being a writer and starting that novel you want to do.
- Find a space where you can write.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be on a laptop, but at the bare minimum it has to be a place where you can think.
- Decide what you want to write about
I can hear the panic going through your mind right now and all that I ask is for a moment of your time. You don’t have to have the clear picture in your head or written down. This is just a basic idea such as “Boy meets Girl” or a “Cain and Abel” plot, or maybe you want to write about a Cyrano-type novel. Again, it is a basic plot. It is without the shiny twists and turns and the dazzling characters.
- Decide what you don’t want to write about
Step Three is a bit of a cheat. If you don’t know how to accomplish Step Two then Step Three is a quick way to narrow your list down. For example, if you love Romance but hate Fantasy, odds are you’re not going to write a romance novel that’s got wizards and witches in it. The same goes for if you love Fantasy but don’t like writing about Middle Grade or Children protagonists. You’re not going to write what you hate.
- Pick your protagonist.
This is also kind of a cheat. Your Main Character will ultimately determine where your story is going to go. If s/he is a coward then there will be some sort of development where they learn to be brave. Ifs/he has a goal, hopefully, they will accomplish it.
- Write the worst version of your novel
There is this idea that persists for new writers that whatever they write about, it has to be perfect the first time they put pen to paper. This could not be further from reality. To quote Voltaire, “Perfect is the enemy of good”. Perfection isn’t a feasible state to achieve whether you’re a new writer or an old hat. So, to a new writer or anyone starting out, I say to write the worst version of your novel. Make it ugly, let it have choppy sentences, and dialogue that sounds like a kindergartner wrote it.
It’s from that worst version that you can start to improve it scene by scene. Waiting for your novel or even a chapter to be perfect will only harm you in the long run.