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How to begin writing a book or a story – Part 1

There are plenty of articles and author blogs that give you their insights on how to begin writing a story or a book. Well, I would like to give my insight and what worked best for me. I’ve developed this method over years of experience in writing books and short stories. I was able to use this method while writing my debut new adult fantasy book, The Fairest.

So let’s dive in with the first 4 steps. Stay tuned for the Part 2 which will list the next 4 steps.

STEP 1: Have an idea

What if, like me, you have too many ideas cluttering your head. I suggest you choose one idea you feel and believe could grow into a strong story or book. I remember sitting at the dining table one day going through short stories I’ve done in the past and came across one titled “Moonshine”. This short story was a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Instantly, an interesting idea popped into my head to pursue in transforming this story into a book because I felt and believed this magical concept could work. Make sure you feel that tingling sensation inside when you’ve chosen your idea because if you’re excited about it then the journey of writing the story would feel the same way.

STEP 2: Write Everything Down

I recall on that day of grabbing a notebook and jotting down the book idea. And doing so opened the door to my imagination and the idea expanded with potential characters, a setting, a conflict or two, and soon a rough sketch of a plot. Find a journal, notebook, or a digital document to store everything about this story or book from its beginning to the day you publish it. Try not to leave anything out. Eventually, you will have enough information to at least start writing scenes.

STEP 3: Get to Know Your Main Character(s)

Do you have a main character or two for your story or book? Depending on the point-of-view you decide to use, take time to get to know your characters. What do they look like? How do they dress? What is their personality? What is their occupation? How would they react to the conflict heading their way? In your notebook, interview your characters to get to know them for the journey or conflicts you want them to be involved in. This step will be an extra help in writing the plot and flushing out your main character so future readers would be able to relate and connect with them.

STEP 4: What Would Be the Overall Plot?

Once you have the basics written down for your story or book, now it’s time to figure out the overall plot. The plot elements include the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Whether your character’s journey will be a mental or physical one, what event will begin the book and drive it towards the end. Will your book be about solving a murder mystery or presenting a challenging task for the main character to fix by going on a voyage? Without a solid plot for your story, it can go in a hundred of directions and before you know it, you’ve hit a writer’s block or your idea crumbles. Now there are many writers who do not mind starting stories on a whim and seeing where the magic takes them, but even they at some point must stop or reread their work to make sure it makes sense.

So if you have a dream to write a short story or a book, remember you can do it. Do not worry if its perfect or not, just start writing. In my next blog post, I will be giving you more steps to follow.

A Question For You: Are you an experienced or aspiring writer? What methods do you try first when starting a new story or a book? Please share with me and everyone below.

Written by LeQuita C. Harrison

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