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Topic: I want to write, but struggle. How do I begin? Need advise, please.

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Subject: I want to write, but struggle. How do I begin? Need advise, please.
Date Posted: 11/21/2009 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,836
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I haven't done much writing in my life, but I would love to write.  I know I have a talent.  I struggle with the writing process thus making writing distastful for me. Maybe a writing program might break the ice. How do writers start their writing. How do they plan their stories. I haven't the faintest clue. But I sure could use a little advise. How does one begin. How does one become a writer?



Last Edited on: 11/21/09 11:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/21/2009 11:53 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I responded to your question on the CMT forum :)

Date Posted: 11/22/2009 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 1,640
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One good way to start is by free writing for at least 15-20 minutes per day. Free writing can be about anything.  It can get the creative motors spinning. Also pick up some books on writing. Here's a link to some good starter titles, they have writing exercises built into the book.


Date Posted: 11/22/2009 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,836
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Thanks Paula,

I put this on my WL:

How to Write a Great Story: A Fiction Writer's Handbook (Paperback)

~ Othello Bach


It looks like a good starter book. Amazon had good reviews. Do you know it?



Last Edited on: 11/22/09 10:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/4/2010 9:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2010
Posts: 7
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Nanowrimo.org. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. I know some hate it, and I can understand some of the whys, but I tried Nanowrimo one year and it opened a whole world of possibilities. The idea is quantity, not quality, but in all the craziness and fun, you might break right through writer's block, and with no self recriminations because you weren't doing or expecting anything anyway.

I too, figured I had a touch of talent, but no confidence and a tough time getting motivated. With Nano, I stopped worrying about what people might think, how "good" it was, etc, and just WROTE. The result was a hodgepodge of sloppy writing, some real gems, and a killer plotline (IMHO).  I had a great time with it, chatted with some seasoned writers, found great resources, and now have a novel in the works. 

If you don't want to wait for November, take the idea to heart and sit yourself down to just write. Don't worry about turning out the works of Robert Heinlein or Stephen King, because it isn't likely to happen. What WILL happen is your own writing. It may not be pretty to begin with, but it will be yours, and out of all the time spent in front of the pc, or with notebook and paper will come something you can polish. 

Also, my here's my dirty little secret. I played with fanfiction. The characters and much of the setting was already there. I had to learn story, and keeping to the true character. It wasn't my own and you can't publish any of it, but I had fun, met some writers, and built the germ of the idea that I might be pretty decent, given time and practice.

Date Posted: 2/4/2010 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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I've been trying to get myself motivated for years, and one book that really helped move things along was Stephen King's On Writing.  It's partly autobiographical, focusing on his life as a writer (of course), and later on the period surrounding the trauma of being stricken by a van while walking roadside.  He gets into a bit of a writer's clinic, offering advice and tips to remember.  Ultimately, the biggest suggestion he has is just to do it, and that if you can't find time to read you probably won't find time to write.  I took that last bit most seriously, and can honestly say that if I hadn't started making more time for reading, I wouldn't be as far as I am with writing.  If you can get a hold of a copy of this book, it's well worth it.

Date Posted: 2/4/2010 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,836
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Hi James

Thanks for writing!. I think Stephen King is a great writer. I just can't pick up his stuff. I'm such a sissy. Lol  I saw Misery and the Green Mile and that was the end of me for him. But in light he wrote a book about writing, that's another story. Actually, just expressing myself here has been helpful to me . I'll check "King's On Writing". As long as it's not over my head, I'm sure I'll get something from it.




Date Posted: 2/7/2010 3:32 AM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2008
Posts: 8,672
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'On Writing' will not be over your head. It's my favourite book about the craft of writing, and I think you will get a lot from it.

I'm writing my first novel - if you want to talk to me about the process of writing, feel free to PM me.

Subject: re: How to begin to write
Date Posted: 2/10/2010 8:57 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 39
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I am beginning to write myself. I admit I do it on and off. I agree with the person who mentioned free writing because that helped with getting my thoughts on paper in an organized manner. I also have quite a few books on the subject. I even have compiled a notebook of quotes from writers so that I can read their advice. Might I suggest you read a regular novel in the area your interested in. I have over 200 books on all of my shelves (and I am trying to work at getting that number smaller.)

Subject: How to begin to write
Date Posted: 2/14/2010 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 2
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Elona, I teach children to write, & my favorite technique is to begin with storytelling. If they can tell me a story, I scribe for them & then show them their "story" that they wrote. This introduces them to my theory of "if they can tell a story, they can be a writer." You can even tape your story, first.But before you do this, you must have a story to tell. Once you decide on a topic, figure out why you want to tella story about it. To entertain, to express an idea, explore a topic, or persuade your audience to feel or do something. (If you don't know why you are writing, or where you want your story to go, you'll never get there!)

Then you must do your research. Yes! Even for fiction!!Investigate everything you can findabout your story so you can elaborate & create detailed settings & characters. Flesh out your characters before you begin writing about them.

You should be able to write a short synopsis of your story before you begin writing your manuscript. Then decide your POV. Divide your story into sections & summarize each of them. Use your research to expand on each of your sections, then use transitions to connect them all together. Be sure your dialogue sounds natural for each character.Go back & polish & edit, edit, edit!

Writer's Digest Magazine has some very good workshops you can do on-line, & their articles are practical & easily applied to your own writing. Also, whatever genre you are interested in writing, I'd suggest you read that genre with a highlighter & a notebook in hand. Take notes & highlight techniques that the author uses particularly well & adapt those to your own writing. Good luck! It's hard work, but well worth it!

Date Posted: 2/15/2010 12:14 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 16,427
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I just posted several books on writing, including a few for rank beginners. Please take a look.

Subject: writer
Date Posted: 5/30/2010 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2010
Posts: 2
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I had always wanted to become a writer as well. The only way for one to become a writer is to simply write. I always had trouble starting a story before. I was always coming up with ideas and outlining the plot for a huge story I was going to write. It was not until after I spent three months in the hospital that I finally decided to discipline myself and sit down and write. I am in the 3rd draft of my story and have written over 200,000 words. I am only keeping 74,000 of those words so far, as I am not yet finished with the story. The point is, you throw out a lot of writing that you find inadequate when you become a writer. You just have to know the difference between good and bad writing. You have to be disciplined and just write. I spent years outlining my book, but now I've decided that the time has come to get down and work. I think that you will find that you know what kind of story that you want to write all along when you finally start. The thing is, you've got to start at the beginning until you come to the end, adding parts where needed into your work. That's all there is to it. Having a good editor helps, too.

Last Edited on: 6/12/10 9:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: writing prompts could work
Date Posted: 7/31/2010 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2008
Posts: 74
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Hi Elona, a few things:

  • You could try writing prompts. There are books full of them.
  • Buy a couple writing books - one I suggest is On Writing by Stephen King
  • Look at a picture in a magazine and imagine a story around that
  • Take a writing course at a community college
  • Most important - you sound like you may be letting your inner critic rule - take away its power by telling yourself you are writing just for yourself (that's what helped me when I started writing).