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Creating your story

open book with blank pages aand a maple leaf on stting on top of pageSometimes the hardest part of writing is just getting started. The humorous reference to a writer facing a blank page is, all too often, quite true. You might know what you want to write but putting it to paper can be overwhelming and daunting for some.

To help generate ideas, consider these tips:

  • Read books that pertain to your genre. The more you read, and the variety you read, will help crystallize the direction you want your book to take.
  • Watch and listen to what other authors are publishing, what bookstores/libraries are offering, to TV programs, the Internet, to what is happening in the world. This can both guide you and allow you to bring more depth to your writing.
  • Write in a journal or on a blog. And carry a small notebook (or use a notepad on your smartphone) to record ideas as they strike – we often think we’ll remember, but life is busy – using such tools will allow you to free your mind for more inspiration!
  • Attend workshops and writing groups – these provide a great chance to learn and connect with other writers and gain insightful knowledge about what has worked, or more importantly, not worked for them.
  • Think about the structure of your book – sometimes creating a mental (or pencil on paper) image of what you envision your book might look like, will allow you to break your writing down into manageable pieces – plan out each chapter and/or heading and sub-heading or, in the case of a children’s picture book, each page – then start writing!

For fictional stories ~

  • Create compelling characters – start by creating a profile for each. To help write your descriptions, search for character development questions online. Or do hand-drawn sketches to get you started. Try to come up with a back story for each – even if not included in the final writing, it will provide a reference for the development of the character throughout your writing.
  • Construct your plot – you want to try to hook the reader on the first page! Think of conflict, climax, resolution – beginning, middle, end – and remember that pacing is important!
  • Dialogue – helps provide information, develops characters and moves your story along. Each character should sound different, and dialogue should be integral to story-telling (not just filler).
  • Scene/setting – it may take time but be sure to research time periods, places, historical facts, etc. Nothing stops a reader faster than lack of truth in the writing. Even in fiction, references need to be on point.
  • Point of view – First person (I went…) or third person (She went…). Whichever viewpoint works best for your writing style, the important thing is to keep the tense consistent (past or present).

Check out these articles to help you get started and keep things moving…


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