How to approach your writing

30 Oct

Whenever someone hears that I am ‘studying’ creative writing, they suddenly feel compelled to tell me that they themselves have written something. The reasons for it remaining unfinished are always different, but mostly it comes down to planning on their behalf. They didn’t think it through before they started. So, I thought it may be worthwhile placing some very basic suggestions in place.

Lets start at the beginning. You have a great idea, you can see scenes unfolding, you know it will make a great story….so start writing. Each writer has their own idea on the best way to move forward, but I would recommend starting with a synopsis, a working synopsis I mean. Write your idea down, from start to finish, and then you can begin to write the story around this.

 Once you know where the story is heading, begin writing in full. Don’t worry about literary devices, just write the story. Once you have finished, start again. Don’t copy and paste, just rewrite it, taking a little more time and care over it.

Now the hard work begins. Break your story down into potential chapters, this will allow you to highlight the turning points in the story, see how the story moves, and spot the weak parts. Once this is complete, you can begin writing properly. It is only at this point that you can start believing that you are writing your first draft.

You should always refer back to your synopsis, and adapt it as your ideas develop. This is important. When approaching an agent, you will need to supply a synopsis of your work. It needs to be the story at its most basic level, if it’s too heavy on detail, the emphasis of the story will be lost.

You should also keep up your character bibles. Does the character have blue eyes? Eats a Mars day? Even if these do not feature in your final story, they will be hidden in the background, in the way the characters speaks and moves. You will be able to show a well-rounded character, without telling your reader all the details.

Keep on re-writing your work. Get other people to read it. Be critical. Oh, and when you think you have it, when you think you are finally there, read it aloud. Even better, get someone to read it to you. The mistakes just jump off the page.

Don’t give up.

Nobody ever said writing was easy. You have to do it because you love it. Success can only ever be a bonus.

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4 Responses to “How to approach your writing”

  1. submeg October 30, 2011 at 5:46 am #

    Currently, this is where I am sitting. I spent two hours last night explaining the plot to my girlfriend, and every time I revealed a twist in the plot she would go, “oooh!” So hopefully the twists and changes in the story will be compelling!

    The craziest thing is that my plot came from a dream! It was the most intense and crazy dream I have ever had, so hopefully this story will be as intense as it was when I woke up that day!

    • Ellie October 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

      I wrote an entire one off drama in the form of a script, based on a dream. That scene, that one that stays with you, spurs you on in your writing. Good luck with your plot, would love to hear more!

  2. Ellie October 31, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Ten years? Wow! I hope I have enough determination in me if that’s what it takes!

  3. Dr. Tom Bibey October 31, 2010 at 1:40 am #

    My novel, “The Mandolin Case” took ten years to write. I didn’t stop until I was positive no other human being on the planet could have possibly written it.

    Dr. B

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