Bestselling author Stephen King offers creative writing tips, advice and lessons.
So, you have this AWESOME idea for a novel. You’ve done some research into your overall concept to make sure it's viable, have a general idea of the sequence of plot events and know how you want your story to end, but...how do you start?
The good news is that there are hundreds of ways you can start, and none of them are wrong. The bad news? You will need to figure out which method works best for you and, you know, pick one of them. Here are a few ideas that our authors have found helpful:
“Head down” writing
This method is exactly what it sounds like: you put your head down and write without giving much thought to plot or character development. Basically, you spew your thoughts on the page and don’t stop until you’re done. What you’re left with might totally suck. It might not even include proper spelling, punctuation or full sentences. That’s OK. You’ll go back and edit everything later into a story that makes sense. The advantage to this method is that you don’t get bogged down with self-editing and lose/forget ideas as you go through the writing process. Trust us when we say that editing is not a creative process. There are many that believe in--and have benefited from--a firm separation of church (writing) and state (editing).
Write a synopsis
There are few words as universally hated among writers as “synopsis.” A synopsis is a 2-page summary of your novel, including how it begins, how it ends and the highlights in between (i.e.: major plot points). Writing a synopsis after your book is done (as you will be expected to do if you’re trying to get an agent or publisher) is darn-near impossible. After all, how can you boil down 350 pages into 2??? But writing the synopsis before you write your novel is a lot easier and can be highly beneficial from a plotting standpoint.
Don’t lie to yourself
Don’t tell yourself you don’t have time to write. If you really want to, you’ll make time. Even if you have to lock yourself in the bathroom with your laptop for an hour before work every morning, you can knock out 300 words a day.
So, you've heard from us. What about you? What tricks do you use to get yourself going? How do you get the words flowing? Drop us a line and tell us about it or just leave a comment.