The most basic question from a beginning writer.


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  1. #1

    The most basic question from a beginning writer.

    I am a complete beginner at writing. It's something I've considered doing for several years. Here is the question that is at the heart of my problem:

    How do you start writing????

    I honestly don't know. I've tried a few times and ended up with a few paragraphs (or just sentences). But that's it.

    Can anyone offer some advice on how to start?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    I am a complete beginner at writing. It's something I've considered doing for several years. Here is the question that is at the heart of my problem:

    How do you start writing????

    I honestly don't know. I've tried a few times and ended up with a few paragraphs (or just sentences). But that's it.

    Can anyone offer some advice on how to start?
    In that case, you have already started. From what you've posted above, it sounds like you are perfectly capable of turning out a few paragraphs, so why not start with flash fiction? Or even, dare I suggest it, poetry?
    There are monthly challenges on here to write fiction (to a prompt) and poetry (also to a prompt), here and here respectively. This month's deadlines are looming fast but if this is too soon for you, have a look to get an idea of what they're about and maybe enter one or both next month? IMPORTANT: Both challenges are anonymous so if you enter, you must send your entry by private message to the relevant challenge host. If you have already entered, don't say so because it might give away which one is your entry and it might be disqualified.

    Good luck.


  3. #3
    The first question would probably be "What do you want to write?" That's the most important question, because writing is a bit like architecture or engineering, you need to know what you want to do before you start nailing random boards together.

    Start with something short. Learn how to plot and outline. There are good pantsers out there, but most people are much better off outlining.. How to plot isn't something that is taught to most people.

  4. #4
    Thanks!

    There are monthly challenges on here to write fiction (to a prompt) and poetry (also to a prompt), here and here respectively.
    Those challenges may be a great place for me to start. The topics will hopefully give me enough of a push to get something going and the short format kind of reduces the pressure a bit. I may not win but, it should be a good learning experience for me.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Dluuni View Post
    The first question would probably be "What do you want to write?" That's the most important question, because writing is a bit like architecture or engineering, you need to know what you want to do before you start nailing random boards together.

    Start with something short. Learn how to plot and outline. There are good pantsers out there, but most people are much better off outlining.. How to plot isn't something that is taught to most people.
    Thanks!

    What do I want to write? That's a good question. I'm really not sure. I think I lean toward sci-fi or fantasy. They seem less intimidating to me because I don't feel like I need to know a lot about a location or particular topic.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman View Post
    Thanks!



    Those challenges may be a great place for me to start. The topics will hopefully give me enough of a push to get something going and the short format kind of reduces the pressure a bit. I may not win but, it should be a good learning experience for me.
    Indeed, it's not about winning, at least not at first: it's about flexing your writing muscles. I didn't win a challenge for a fair while, but it felt great when it finally happened . I even won a non-fiction challenge once, but that doesn't count, because no-one else entered .
    The fiction challenge is 650 words (or fewer) and the poetry challenge has no limit, though it's probably better to stop before the reader falls asleep.


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Plaidman
    I lean toward sci-fi or fantasy..because I don't feel like I need to know a lot about a location or particular topic.
    Oh, trust me, that's a trap. You start messing with SF/F because you think that it takes less research, you look up and you just devoted a couple of years learning sociology, geology, zoology, military theory, rocket science, and so on. SF in particular is about speculative sociology and society. Fantasy tends to run to the military, and invites a lot of research into history and some very intensive worldbuilding. Don't go into SF/F thinking you can skimp on your worldbuilding research, it will bury you. Go into a genre because you like it.
    What kind of movies/shows/books/comics/etc do you like? Can you list a few and see what the trends are?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dluuni View Post
    Oh, trust me, that's a trap. You start messing with SF/F because you think that it takes less research, you look up and you just devoted a couple of years learning sociology, geology, zoology, military theory, rocket science, and so on. SF in particular is about speculative sociology and society. Fantasy tends to run to the military, and invites a lot of research into history and some very intensive worldbuilding. Don't go into SF/F thinking you can skimp on your worldbuilding research, it will bury you. Go into a genre because you like it.
    What kind of movies/shows/books/comics/etc do you like? Can you list a few and see what the trends are?
    I hadn't really thought of it that way. But, you're right. There's going to be a certain amount of research involved with any genre.

    As far as what kind of books I like, it depends on my mood. Sometimes I have the hardest time trying to figure out what I want to read next. For example, right now I'm reading Farewell, My Lovely, a Raymond Chandler mystery. But, during my commute, I'm listening to Strangers, by Dean Koontz. It's what I would call an Urban Fantasy. I'm approaching the end of both books and I have no idea what's going to be next.

    My book tastes are all over the place.

    Movies are significantly different. I tend to have the attitude that I get enough reality in every day life. So, I tend toward comedies, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.

    That has really been part of my problem. I can't decide what I want to write, because I don't really have a favorite genre.
    Last edited by Plaidman; August 13th, 2019 at 08:17 PM.

  9. #9
    Okay, here's my suggestion:
    Freewrite some shorts and flash fiction until some detail starts exploding in your head into greater detail.
    You probably won't publish your first piece. I rage at past me daily right now for how she wrote the piece I'm editing right now, and it will be my second publish. So go ahead and write stuff like fanfic or whatever, it will be a practice piece.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Dluuni View Post
    Okay, here's my suggestion:
    Freewrite some shorts and flash fiction until some detail starts exploding in your head into greater detail.
    You probably won't publish your first piece. I rage at past me daily right now for how she wrote the piece I'm editing right now, and it will be my second publish. So go ahead and write stuff like fanfic or whatever, it will be a practice piece.
    Thanks! Sounds like a good way to get in some practice until things start flowing a little better.

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