TIPS FROM A NOVICE CREATIVE WRITER
How to Start Writing Your Fiction Story
You like to read fiction, don’t you?
You love reading novels, short stories, romances, love stories, mysteries, all sorts of stories, and will read them again and again.
But I am sure you have the desire to do much more than just read. Like everyone who reads, I am certain that (at least secretly, in your heart of hearts) you want to write a story yourself.
Maybe you don’t write your story because you are stuck up in the beginning itself, you don’t know how to start.
Yes, I too faced this problem long back when I wanted to write but did not know where to start.
Let me share with you some ideas. The first thing is you have to brainstorm – let ideas perambulate in your mind and“write” your story in your mind.
Here are some ways to brainstorm and get your ideas clear in your mind (and down on paper) before any actual story writing takes place.
1. GET YOUR CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING
Have a creative writing notebook, a diary, a workbook, call it what you like, and allow yourself as much time as you want to just let any ideas that come to your mind and jot them down on the paper (or as a soft copy on your laptop or even on your cell-phone which you carry everywhere). You can make this an open ended exercise (your diary will be a rich repository of ides to which you can always refer throughout your life) or if you are writing a specific time-bound story with a deadline, aloocate some brainstorming time (say a a few minutes or more) close your eyes, think, and jot down everything that comes to your mind that you would think would fit into your story. Do not worry if what you are writing now does not make sense. That is not the aim of this exercise. The aim is to get your creative juices flowing. This will also give you an opportunity to diverge your plot, or sub-plot, in an interesting direction you never imagined before. Most of what you have written may not be used in the story you are writing at present, but these notes and ideas are sure to help you in future if you run into a writer's block.
2. MAP YOUR STORY
Now that you have got your ideas on paper, you have to organize those ideas you want to include in your story. Draw a circle in the centre of a paper and write your central idea in that circle. Write down all your other ideas on the paper and connect to the central circle any idea which relates to your main idea. Draw circles around all the interconnected ideas. Discard the others, and redraw your “story map” on a fresh sheet of paper. This story map will give you a rough representation of how your story will weave all your ideas together.
3. CREATE CHARACTERS
Starting with your main character you must create profiles of all the characters in your story. You must go into detail and include everything you can think of in order to make your characters look authentic. You must also explore (and write down) the relationships between the characters and how the affect your story. Now imagine the story from different perspectives or viewpoints of all the characters. This will help you in selecting your viewpoint character – the character from whose perspective the story is told. Remember, the viewpoint character need not be the main character. At this stage, you must also decide whether you want to tell your story in first person or third person (and maybe even in second person, which is quite rare).
4. PLOT YOUR STORY
Your Plot is the arrangement of incidents in your narrative. These incidents are interrelated by cause and effect and form a sequence of events that form your story. A story normally comprises a beginning, a middle, and an end, and your initial plot line will have an Initiating Incident, Exposition (explanation or description), Rising Action, Conflict or Complication, Climax, Falling Action, and finally the Resolution. It is a good idea to vaguely plot out these sections, so that you have a basic understanding of where the story is going. Of course, as you write, the events can change as the characters come to life, so you must write freely in an unrestrained manner, but once in a while do have a look at your original plot. This will help you whenever you are stuck and also keep your thoughts on track.
5. MAKE AN OUTLINE
Maybe it helps create an outline, especially if you are writing a novel. (Well, let me confess that I never make outlines while writing short stories and that is why I am finding writing my novel so knotty). Also, your outline will help you write your synopsis when you want to submit your book proposal to a publisher even while you are writing your novel. You can start with an introduction and brief writups about each chapter. Your outline will be a very basic rough draft of what you want your story to look like.
6. WRITE SHORT STORIES BEFORE YOU START WRITING YOUR NOVEL
This is what I have done. I have written many short stories and now I am tring my hand at writing a novel. I think writing a few short stories familiarizes you with the process of creative writing, enhances your writing ability and serves as a “dry run” for writing your novel. Start a Creative Writing Blog and post your stories on your blog to see the response and get some feedback. For me, this has helped build up my confidence.
As I said, I am a novice, and the process of creative writing varies from person to person and is a matter of personal choice. You may want to add your own personal touch or maybe add or skip a step. All the same, I hope this has helped you a bit.
All the Best. Happy Creative Writing.
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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About Vikram Karve
A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.
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