Before I start I just want to make it clear that I am NOT a published writer or an expert: I’m just a woman with a head full of stories. Below I will be outlining some steps on where to begin when writing a story- these are what worked for me personally so I hope they work for you too.
1. Don’t Force It
This is a vital step if you’re thinking of writing. The worse thing I can do when I want to write something is intend on writing something. What I mean here is don’t just sit down with a pen and paper and try to begin writing- because 99% of the time all this will do is give you a sore head and a blank page.
Usually when I begin a story it is in the most random of places- for example I might be out in the countryside for a walk and suddenly an idea will float into my daydreaming mind- so I will make a note of it on my phone so that I can continue later. The best stories usually write themselves, they just happen and it feels right, so don’t worry if you’re struggling right now. In time they will come to you.
2. Draw out Your Ideas
For me, sometimes it’s easy to picture a character or a scene in my head, but when I comes to describing it there can be some difficulty. You don’t need to be an artist to sketch out a quick design: whether it be a floor plan of a house or a map of a village. As long as you understand it then it’s good enough.
3. Use existing ideas
If you are struggling deciding what a character should look like- why not think of an actor you really like, find a photo of them and work from that? I personally always use my favourite actors to inspire characters because it makes it a hell of a lot easier to describe appearance and voice.
You can use the same principle for the setting of your story. For example I recently wanted a little French patisserie as a setting in one of my books- I wasn’t really sure what they looked like so I searched for images on Google. Sometimes this is the easiest way to make progress. Similarly, I wanted an outdoor location so I visited a country park and took a few photos for inspiration.
4. Talk to yourself
No, I’m not going mad here. I sometimes find it difficult to express plot ideas on paper, so I use the opportunity of being in the shower to talk it through with myself. In some cases, what might sound good when written sounds stupid when you say it. I always try to justify my ideas for I write them down.
5. Don’t fret over choosing a Title
None of my stories have titles yet, and that’s purely because no ideas have come to me. A common mistake people can make when starting to write is working out a title first. It is much easier to figure one out once you’ve finished your book, because by this point you know what message you are trying to out across to the audience.
6. There are NO Rules!
You don’t need to start from the beginning: you can start your story wherever you feel like it. You don’t have to have a specific structure to the story: it’s YOUR story so just do what feels right for you. And most importantly- it’s not a chore! Write because you love to write, even if you never complete a full story! It doesn’t matter, as long as you have fun doing it then that’s the most important thing!
I hope these tips helped a little!