This topic contains 24 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Jana 1 month, 1 week ago.
October 17, 2018 at 6:54 pm #31991
I’m starting to write a book and I need a little help getting started. Okay, that was a lie. I need a lot of help getting started. If you guys have any tips for anything I should include, stay away from, or whatnot, please let me know. I’m so excited to start, this is going to be fun! (Most of the time at least.) So, yeah, that pretty much wraps it up, thanks everybody. Have a great day. 🙂
October 19, 2018 at 9:51 am #31999
Go Don! That’s super exciting!
1. Watch people around you (but not in a creepy way xD) to see how they act and react to things. See how different people react to different things, how different people talk, and how different people express themselves differently. Understanding how people act and using that in your stories helps them feel realistic.
2. Just keep writing. Don’t give up but plow through it, even when you get discouraged. It’s the first draft and it’s supposed to be written perfectly but just get written. As the saying is: “Rome wasn’t built in one day.” I’ve found it helpful to just focus on the story for the first draft and then later go back to make it pretty. Actually, I tell myself to “Vomit the plot on the page” and then go back to clean it up. 😉
3. And thirdly, I would advice finding someone to cheer you on and constantly talk to about your project. Like many tasks, writing a book is harder alone. Having someone to talk with really helps me personally. It helps me stay accountable, as they ask “So do you have another chapter down?” every week. They help brainstorm and work out plot holes. They also really fuel me, encourage me, pray for me, and keep me going even when I want to give up. I can firmly say that my two novels I’ve completed would never have been finished if it weren’t for two of my friends, who were always there to talk “book” and convince me not to pull my hair out or throw the manuscript out the window.
Don’t know if that was helpful, but I hope it was!
And if you don’t mind sharing, I love to hear about more about your project!
October 19, 2018 at 10:46 am #32001
Evelyn that is excellent advice!
Don, what I would suggest is this, get an understanding of what you’re building the world around. Are you building things around the world, characters. or something thematic (i.e. loss, regret, etc.)? This will help you immensely in how you will proceed.
In worldbuilding, I would suggest laying out ordered reasons for the way your world works (if you are creating your own world). Start with a premise, make it believable and grounded, and then extrapolate it, take it to it’s logical conclusion. If you can make your audience believe your initial premise, then they should believe where ever you take it. And further more, if you want to add in multiple premises (i.e. the world’s gravity is different, how dragons work, how magic interacts with the world, emotions are the key to power), make sure they all feed back on each other. They all contribute to the world, and the culture in which characters were brought up. This will help you better understand what actions and emotions your characters would take or feel, and how these can help the theme that your going for.
If your story takes place in our world, study that place and time, and more importantly the attitudes of people in that time/place. While you can still weave the theme you want into that story as you see fit, your world and characters viewpoints will be the attitude of that place or time, (i.e. if your story is in ancient England, the characters shouldn’t be acting like they’re millenials).
With characters, Evelyn’s advice is very correct. Study human behavior, motivations, psychology, and dynamics. People all have their flaws, and their redeeming qualities. Your hero shouldn’t be perfect, and unless your villain is (not)Sauron, your villain should be sympathetic, or you should at least understand where he’s coming from to the point where he views himself as the hero to his own story. How your hero interacts with the world should also be very much based off his/her life experience. Granted, their personality should be their own, but how they then take that personality out into the world should be logical and make sense. Further more, the actions that your hero takes should make logical sense in their minds (even if it wouldn’t really work, they have to be convinced of it in their own minds). Similarly, the plans of your villain should be logical and complex. The villain of your story can’t be like a villain of the week that can be brushed aside with “I’ll get you next time so and so!”
As for your side characters, make them grounded, interesting, and able to serve the plot. How they interact with your protaganists should be believable and understandable. Furthermore, try to make them memorable. Give them a characteristic or quirk that the audience can pick up on to easier identify them, visual cues can help with this as well. Before deciding on a love interest, make sure it works within the themes of the story to even have a love interest at all. If you do decide to go with one, don’t make her into a Mary Sue (i.e. beautiful beyond belief, genius, incredible warrior, perfectly moral, easily outshines your hero in everything). She is a goal the hero must attain, and real tension must be felt over whether she is to be won, lost, rescued etc. Further more, how the love interest and hero interact will define a lot of how their relationship will go. Even if it has nothing to do with the plot, just write a conversation of the hero and love interest having a normal conversation, to see how they interact and the dynamic they have. (This might be good to do with everyone).
And finally your themes. If your building your story around a certain theme, then your themes must be grounded, fleshed out, and realized through your story. If your theme is loss, show your characters loosing something and how they react to it in different ways. If your theme is love, show your characters loving other people and things, and show how they react when that love is tested. If you’re creating your own world, and your story idea is based around the theme, don’t feel bad about making the world to suit the theme, instead of working the theme in to suit the world.
All in all, everything takes practice. Don’t be afraid to work hard and efficiently. The more you believe in and understand your characters and world the better you will be able to write, and the more your readers will be invested and understand what you are trying to say. Enjoy your work if nothing else. Good fortune on your writing!
October 19, 2018 at 2:11 pm #32002
Hello, Dan! Evelyn already said this, but it needs to be said again, because it is the only reason that I finish my stories. Keep going. Persevere. Keep writing even when you feel like quitting. Keep writing even when you feel like burning your notebook or hurling your computer across the room. Take breaks if you need to, but always come back to your book until it’s done. 🙂 That is probably the only advice I can give, especially in the face of Evelyn and Gabriel who are much more experienced and amazing writers than I am. Keep going, good luck, watch out for plot bunnies, and save what you write!
– Bethel –
P.S. Evelyn, notice the oxford comma 😉
October 19, 2018 at 4:18 pm #32003
Wow. Thanks guys for all your tips, these are very helpful.
Next part is to Evelyn, and anyone else that wants to know about my story.
An otherwise normal kid that has deformed hands is fatally injured. In his healing progress, he discovers his past, which before was always avoided in conversation. He finds friends, and a fateful plot…Ok that’s enough.
I’ll be posting previews, so uh..Stay tuned if your interested, or just want to read something.
Thanks again for all the tips. 🙂
that plot sounded like the back of a book…Not what I wanted 🙁 Whatever. 🙂
Have a great day!
October 19, 2018 at 5:51 pm #32004
You’re welcome Dan! Anytime you want any tips or feed back or support of any kind, just let us know and we’ll be here to help you out.
Your story idea sounds fascinating! We’d love to hear more of it when we can! And if you need a good summary of your story to go on the back of a book, you already have an excellent abbreviation that captivates the imagination.
Have fun writing!
October 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm #32009
That sounds really interesting Don! I’ll be looking for these promised updates. 🙂
November 7, 2018 at 1:53 pm #32199
here are the two main things you need in a book you need a good main character if your main character is boring or too over the top people will not like it. So your main character needs to be grounded and feel like a real person. You also have to have people (supporting characters) that are on the opposite sides of the spectrum. One could be crazy one could be boring etc. The point is is that everyone who reads this book should have someone to relate to someone who they see as the same person as themselves.
The other thing you need in a book are good one liners and good dialogue. If a kid who reads your book is quoting that book everywhere then you have a good book.
notice that I didn’t say good plot was necessary. Good plot is usually good to have but I have read many books where the plot is either boring or generic but I’m found still liking the book because I like the characters and the dialogue is so good.
November 7, 2018 at 2:08 pm #32202
Thunder Boy, that is such an interesting point that plot can take a back seat to relatable characters. I have read some books like that, too, now that I think of it, where the characters were so good that I didn’t mind that not a lot of action was happening. And sometimes in books the most compelling “action” for me is more in how the characters feel and interact, even when there actually is a very strong action plot.
January 1, 2019 at 9:24 am #33468
Hey Don, how is your book writing coming along?
January 2, 2019 at 2:22 pm #33495
Thanks for asking!
It’s coming along pretty well, and I’m actually proud of some parts. I’ll be sharing some parts soon! Have a great day!
(if it’s night, then feel free to have a great night.)
January 2, 2019 at 3:32 pm #33498
Whoops, I just realized I accidently called you “Don” instead of “Dan.” 😛
Anyways, glad it’s going well! 🙂
January 8, 2019 at 5:12 pm #33651
March 14, 2019 at 1:46 pm #34912
stay away from bomnubbles 😉
March 14, 2019 at 4:47 pm #34914
Thank you for the advice, Jana. I can never seem to remember to do that. 😉
April 9, 2019 at 4:34 pm #35485
Actually, I too am writing a book. A great idea is go to https://www.dohardthings.com/young-writers-workshop where they have lots of great things like YWW, Young Writers Lessons, and https://www.theyoungwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/fiction-feedback-guide.pdf. Also, never give up. I write a chapter, give up, come back a few months later, plan it out, write, delete, repeat the 2nd two about 5 million times, and end up with a story. Or, just write, no matter what its about, if its related or not, then come back and make a story. Or, look at stories, and combine them and add your uniqueness to create a story. I also write sequels to stories as practice and other stuff that I can’t tell you because I have stupid homework 🙁
-Jana (the one who said stay away from bobmnubbles, which I do not abide by but advise others to do so
March 15, 2019 at 9:00 pm #34940
yes. bomnubbles are very bad. scary, hairy, huge!
March 19, 2019 at 10:49 am #35007
I want to echo what the others have said: Perseverance is key. At the end of the day, the only way your book will be finished is if you show up and do the work. Don’t worry about getting it right the first time, either. “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” ~G.K. Chesterton. Practice is the only way you’ll get better, and with writing, practice sometimes takes a very long time. It is also super important to just FINISH your book! It sets a pattern, and helps you gain confidence. Anyway, I hope that helps. I can’t wait to hear more about your book! You can do this. Verso L’alto!
March 27, 2019 at 7:19 pm #35270
Ninja Wizard Penguin
I am just an amateur writer myself, so I don’t know how much help this is, but here it goes:
1) Try writing a scene from the middle of the book with a person. If you have an idea of what you might think could be in the book (s) that is where it goes. If the scene isn’t interesting, you hate the person, or it just doesn’t work, scrap it and start again!
2) This has been mentioned but- don’t give up! It can be so so tempting, but if you get frustrated, just take a deep breath, take a short break, then sit back down and get at it again!
3) I just noticed I use again a lot. That is because writing is all about trying and trying until it is right..
Hope this helps!
March 31, 2019 at 10:31 am #35322
So, I’m here five months late to offer my personal experience with starting books…
Step one: open preferred writing software.
Step two: start typing.
Step three: stop typing, delete everything you just wrote.
Step four: repeat first three steps until you are pounding your head on the keyboard.
Step five: finally get something decent and revise it for weeks it until it looks nothing like the original first chapter and the projected plot for the rest of the book has changed drastically.
Step six: repeat process for next one to ten chapters until you have a fairly satisfactory beginning, completely ignoring worldbuilding till a later date and having to go back and make countless more revisions over the course of writing the rest of the book.
So yeah please just completely ignore what I do and listen to these other very talented authors who have the ability to plan before they start writing. XD
April 8, 2019 at 8:48 pm #35473
Wow. I have not been here in quite along time.
I’ve made a rough outline of my book now, and as soon as I clean up the first chapter, I’ll release that to the public. I’ve made some art that I’m satisfied with, that I’ll probably include in the book. I’ve really been inspired by Erin Hunter’s work, so mini shoutout to Erin. Aaaaaand that’s pretty much it, hope everyone has a great night!
April 8, 2019 at 8:50 pm #35474
Congratulations Dan! I can’t wait to hear more about it! 😀
April 8, 2019 at 8:54 pm #35475
Btw thanks so much for all the tips! These are really helping me.
April 8, 2019 at 9:05 pm #35476
April 9, 2019 at 12:30 am #35480
Yay!! Congratulations! And I’m glad we could be of help. And I can’t wait to see your story.
Keep on going, good luck, and watch out for plot bunnies!