Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Getting Started

??? How does a writer get started ???
They decide.
Many decisions have to be made when writing. Saying a writer must decide on plot and characters is placing many decisions, almost always overlapping, into only two words.

Some writers begin with a plot idea and shape their characters to work in that plot.
Other writers flip it. Creating the main character(s) first and twisting a plot around their personality.
Some times, writers will start with a scene. From there they deepen their characters and wind a plot from, around, or to that scene,

Plot ideas can come from anywhere, anything. Influence is all around us. We just have to look. For example, My drive to write romance comes from Cinderella.
Maybe you saw a movie and thought you would like it better this way. Or you read a book and thought "Good Lord, I'd kill to read something not about vampires...or at least with something new in it." There ya' go. A starting point. You have to write something you would want to read.

"Man, I can't find any books about pixies trying to take over the world!" Well, I guess you'd better start writing about it then.

And now, someone out there is thinking, "Pixies taking over the world? That's ridiculous. Who'd read that?"
That is where the trick of suspended reality comes into play.

It's good to write what you know. That is a whole other realm to find plots and characters in. If you really want to write about something that you don't know too much about research it. Research is a writer's friend.

I find it most amazing when writers write about characters that are not like them. Though reading about a character that the writer poured their heart and soul in, literally taking pieces and parts of their personality and experiences and placing them in that character, is great and often makes for a wonderful read, I love it when I can read about, get to know, and care about a character that seems almost real enough to touch, knowing it is 100% fictional from that writer.

You can research jobs, places, events, but to create a character with a personality, a past so very different from your own and make the reader believe in that character and get to know that character is a wonderful achievement because you are placing yourself in situations, in the mind and emotions of a personality not natural to you. The same holds true for actors slipping into a role and becoming that role.

I can write about anything. You can write about anything. Just pick a starting point and write. Don't worry about your grammar, spelling, tense, POV, rhythm. Just write. Immerse yourself in your characters, plot, setting and let it flow from your mind. You will have to go back for editing and rewrites. Fix your mistakes then. Just get your story out.


  1. I'll tell you what- most often, I'll have a plot idea in mind and the characters will twist it the other way. Stubborn people they are. ;)

  2. Yes, they often can be. At first I always find myself trying to shove my chracters in the direction I want, but they always end up getting their way. :D