Step One: Coming Up With a Plot line
Ever wanted to write a story but have not known where to start? Or have you had to write one for class and been completely lost of words? Well than here is a few tips that might help you.
1. Think of one thing.
Just one simple thing. That thing could be a large final battle, it could be a dragon, or a clue to a murder, or even just a lamp glowing in an abandoned house. Whatever it is, once you have that one thing, you have to think of reasons why that one thing is so important. Maybe that lamp keeps the monsters of the house locked up for so long as it is on, maybe that dragon is stealing treasure from all the nearby kingdoms for the purpose of buying back her child, or maybe that clue is the murdered mans DNA that proves he never really died.
What ever that thing is, expand on it. Even if you just look around your house you might find it. Remove that "Oh, that's a stupid idea" mental block; in fact, blow up that block with a thousand imaginary hand grenades, then let ideas flow.
2. Come up with a character.
Sometimes, thinking up the right character can have the story flow out on its own; all you have to do is piece the plot to the characters personality. For example, a sly thief might love to steal, it is their passion, but that thief might be bored of stealing the same things, and wants to go for something much bigger. Another example could be a nerd who is a whiz at computers. He has studied how the computers work all his life, but what happens when a man threatening for world domination using the nerds powerful technology comes into play? Maybe that man is the only one with the intelligence to break into the lair and destroy it from the inside.
The character alters the plot.
3. Use plot lines that have already been done.
Sure everyone knows the story of sleeping beauty, but maybe that princess was put to sleep for reason to save everybody that the prince does not know...or maybe that princess is the only one who can save the kingdom, but the only way to wake her is with the blood of a dragon.
There are many ways to figure out a plot line for a story, you just have to find the way that works best for you.
Step Two: Starting to Write
Woah, wait right there, how much have you planned out? Sure you might be able to make things up as you go and still make it sound pretty, but are you really going to have any really interesting plot twists that way? No, you do not have to plan out your whole story in amazing detail- simply saying "Someone important dies here" might even be enough- but foreshadowing is very important and it is something critics look for.
Alright, so you are finally ready to write, but how do you start? A good way is to start right where the action is without a moments hesitation. Even if it is just a dream, any way that gets you into the story is a good way.
Step Three: Finishing Your Story
You are almost done, but DO NOT RUSH! Even the best stories become horrible by a rushed ending. This is your big finish, the last piece of writing in your story that your reader will see, so make it your best! Take your time, take a deep breath, and find out the perfect ending. With any luck, your ending should be the highlight of your entire book.
Get in the Mood for Writing
A few ways of how to get into the mood for writing...
1. Go and get earplugs/Headphones.
Music can really help you get into the mood for writing, and headphones/earplugs can help separate you from the real world and the distractions it has. Try switching your music around to find which helps you the most.
2. Have a hot shower or bath.
Water can really help take off loads of the stress which can pull you away from wanting to write. Besides that, relaxed moods can make it easier to brainstorm.
3. Eat/Drink something.
It is amazing how many authors snack while they write.
4. Read some of your old work.
Maybe a chapter or so earlier. Sometimes this is all it takes.
Sounds dumb, right? Well give it a try. Its actually supposed to be very good for you. Don't know how? Do not sweat it, it's is really very easy and I will post a link in the description on how to get started.
To those who do not know, both writing and drawing are actually forms of meditating.
Find a friend that likes to write and has similar goals as you, and then set dates.
Maybe whoever has the most done by the end of the month has to pay for the movies, or maybe you both decided to have a chapter done by the end of the month and on that date you will exchange chapters, read them, and give each other your advice or opinions on the newest chapter.
When you have someone expecting you to do something, or you have a goal to beat someone at something, it can really get you pumped to do it.
7. Set a timer on your computer or alarm clock.
Have it go off at the same time every day to tell you when to write, but instead of thinking of it as a pain try to force yourself to only think positive thoughts about your "writing time" and when people comment on it, sound enthusiastic.
If you keep this up, pretty soon it will become a habit and you will learn to love your time to write.
8. Never try to write when you are distracted.
This can mean by both being sick, hurt, or even just stressed. These things can clog up your flow of writing. Instead, work these problems out, find a way to relax, and then try writing again.
9. Change it up.
Fill out one of those "character bios," draw a picture of your character, draw a map, research, and so on. Simply do what ever you can do that will keep your thoughts on your writing.
Coming up with Titles
The important thing to do in these situations is to not stress out. Most authors I have read about did not even try and come up with a title until after the book was written, so if you do not have the right title yet, do not panic, it will come to you
Here are some things to remember when thinking of a title:
- The title should, in someway, represent the story in full.
It could be the main characters name, it could be what they are after or, it could even just say what the meaning of the story is. Just an example off the top of my head for that last one would be a title such as "Fight On." for a superhero novel about not giving up even when it looks like the bad-guys are going to win.
- Try to keep the names short.
This will make them easier for your readers to remember, and will actually make them more likely to talk about it. Names like "The Lord of the Rings" can be quite the mouthful at times, but "Twilight" or "Eragon" come off the tongue quickly and nicely.
- Try to avoid using a characters name.
This is not a set rule, but when you use a characters name, it almost always gives away what the story will be about. Examples are "Eragon" and "Harry Potter;" just by naming the books after them, we can figure out exactly who will be the main character of the book, who the author fancies the most, or even who is most likely to die or live.
- Try to avoid using a quote from your book, or if you do, be very careful about it.
If you do not do this in a clever way, it could quickly make your story very corny; but, on the other hand, it can also be an interesting way to wrap up your story. It is all up to you and how careful you think you can craft it.
- The title can be almost as important as the story.
If you think about it long enough, you might actually think of something that is really meaningful to your story.
A very ruff example of this is if you have a story about a hero- maybe a samurai- who grows up his whole life learning and living by what is right and what is wrong until he is sent on a mission to kill the son of the king.
You see, the king (or emperor) is evil, and the son is stepping in his fathers footprints. So to protect his country, he breaks into the castle and fights his way to the youths room and stands with the sword above his head while looking into the unarmed princes eyes. However, after a few moments, he lowers the sword and is hacked down by guards.
The prince asks why he did not kill him, and the man utters something about it not being the right thing to do, then he dies.
After that, the prince instead tries not to follow in his fathers footsteps, but the man who fought so hard and then simply turned away despite all his hard work, just because he wanted to follow the path that was right.
Title for this book? Well "honour" would fit in nicely, and have deep meaning into the book.
Remember, it is your story, so no matter what I said, they are simply guidelines and if you already have a title you like, you do not have to change it just because the points above say that it could be better. It is your story, and you should write it yourself from title to ending.
((I am not with "Harry Potter", "The Lord of the Rings", "Eragon", or "Twilight" in any way.))
How to Become a Better Writer
1. Do not over dramatizing your work.
It can get rather annoying if your character is always beating the bad guys, or if your character is always getting captured.
Same thing goes for romance. It can get dull when your character is always finding reasons to be angry at their lover and breaking up, only to get back together again within a chapter or two.
The same goes for when the character thinks their partner is dead multiple times, only to find him safe and be happy again right at the moment where the character needs them most.
Remember, too much of anything can be bad; even for writing.
2. It is NOT cheating to use a dictionary/thesaurus.
That is what they are there for.
If you do not have the largest vocabulary, or have problems thinking of the right word, do not be afraid to use this tool. Besides, doing this will raise your vocabulary anyways. However, make sure that you are not loosing your voice when you use these tools. It is hard to be proud of your ow work when every other word does not sound like your own writing.
4. Show; don't tell.
Don't tell me "she was scared," show me how it feels when her throat tightens with fear, and her heart nearly races away.
Don't tell me that "he is afraid of water," show me by throwing him head first into a lake.
Showing instead of telling gives readers the chance to really step into your characters shoes, and can also give the reader some shocking surprises.
((See the artist comments below for a link to a great blog post by an author about showing instead of telling. ))
5. All scenes, in some way, should relate to the plot.
Meaning that every scene should have a reason for being there, even if the reader knows it or not. Don't be afraid to take out scenes without plot.