Every writer has story ideas. From animals that talk to flying cars, we allow our imagination to wander the possibilities. Some writers have visions of living on Mars, while others take the world we live in and twist the reality in any way they chose. That’s what I like most about writing. Writers can take their readers anywhere.
Although we have this ability, getting our story on paper to captivate our readers requires specific steps followed by a lot of editing. Writing is a craft. We start off as a novice, become an apprentice, and end up a master. Most writers never make it past the novice because they rush the process.
So how do we get started? Or we already started, but now we’re stuck? These steps will help whether you’re just getting started or already have a story.
Write one sentence describing the novel.
Include the setting, the hero and what he/she is after, and the villain (or what is stopping the hero from accomplishing the goal). Use no more than 15 words.
Now expand the sentence into a paragraph by adding more details needed to set-up the story.
This includes the main plot points of the story (like a 3-act play) and the ending of the story.
There are several different methods writers use to write. I personally do the first two steps because it does help when it comes to writing the back of the book blurb or pitching to an agent. I always have to fine tune it once my novel is done, but the main idea is there and I’m not distracted by all the other events that happen in the novel.
Now that you have a general idea for the story, it’s time to go deeper. We call this probing. We’ll be going deeper into describing our characters and the world in which they live. Some writers (like me) write as they go. Once I have the general paragraph written, I begin to expand the story.