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Writing Advice & Discussion > Quick tips for new writers!

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message 1: by Knostar (new)

Knostar | 3 comments So I'm pretty new to writing. Working on my first novel right now. I do have an education in game design and a lot of the same principles apply to writing. Here are some quick tips for new writers:

* Get an idea
The first one is quite obvious - you need to know what the story will be about. It doesn't need to have a start and an end, how many characters will be in it and what their names will be. That will work itself.

* Make an outline
Plot points - some key moments in the story in a chronological order. First make one for the whole story or as far as you can get then narrow it down to chapters.
For example:
Chapter 3:
* John goes to his grandmother's house
* Finds granny on the floor, dying.
* Last words - find the treasure
* John calls the police
* John searches the house
* Finds an old encoded document
* Decides to visit his old friend at the antique shop

* Just start writing!
Your base idea might be around a major plot twist then write about that. Maybe you only know how to start the story then start writing about that part. Your creative cogs will start turning faster than you think. A document is alive, you can add chapters or paragraphs before and after what you have written. Try to follow your outline but change it as you go. I try to make a outline for the next chapter before I write it, then I know how it should end and link to the chapter after that. As long as you don’t etch the text on your skin (not recommended) you can rewrite whatever you wrote earlier which leads us to the next tip...

* Rewrite and let someone give you feedback
The story might be your baby but don’t be afraid to rewrite it. Maybe a character needs to have a scar in his face but you didn't write about it when you first introduced him/her then go back and work it in.
My first chapter I wrote was just six pages and very flat. I wrote it in a few hours then went through it once to edit a bit and then let my sister read it. She was impressed but gave me some major pointers. Next day I rewrote almost the whole thing. Changing the introduction, gave the main character more depth and fixed plot holes. This chapter have undergone quite many changes up to now but it's really good now.

* Print out chapters and read them
I found out that printing out the chapters (using my company's duplex printer) and reading it through while commuting was very effective. You get to see the story under a different light when you read through it and makes notes like this. Then I took my notes back to the computer and worked through the issues.

Even quicker tips!
* A novel takes dedication so be ready to be in it for the long run.
* Find a word processor that fits you. I personally like Google docs. Easy to use and great connectivity. I can use it on the computer then take up my phone and continue to write on it. It’s also easy to share with your beta readers and they can use the comment/suggestion feature to give feedback.
* Have a scratchpad document for shower thoughts, ideas, names, character traits and descriptions and so on. Maybe you wrote a part that you like but then decided to cut it. Cut that part out and move to the scratchpad (or another dedicated document), you might want to use parts of it later or just keep it for nostalgia.

message 2: by Leland (new)

Leland | 31 comments I'd say the outline section depends on someone's personality. It can be entirely skipped and never even touched on if that suits you. I, myself, could never write with one.

message 3: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I'd say Knostar is a plotter and I'm guessing Leland is a pantser. Of course, that's a spectrum. I started as pure pantser but have adopted some plotting attributes. I decided, after finding the recommendation on line somewhere, to start with my blurb and synopsis and only start writing after I'm happy with both. Since I've found those two things taking more time thinking than my first novel did to write the first draft, I figure I'm more efficient that way.

message 4: by Knostar (new)

Knostar | 3 comments For me it works great to be a "plotter" but that could be the way I'm writing. Also the time period I have to write is very limited right now. Managing work and a family gives me just free time when I'm commuting to and from work (2 hours/day). Sometimes I just spend a trip plotting and coming up with "rules" for my fiction world.

message 5: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I'm commuting an hour a day and I must say, since I've started writing, the trip goes by much faster as I'm lost in thought.

I write whatever grabs me at the moment, though tend to write the ending fairly early in the process. Sometimes major plot points, sometimes minor scenes I feel would be interesting to the reader and sometimes just a series of bullet points that I want to cover at some point. Perhaps not chaos, but certainly not any reproducible method.

message 6: by Leland (last edited May 24, 2017 03:58AM) (new)

Leland | 31 comments I wouldn't say I completely go without any preparation though. I write my world, plot(very basic), character bios, factions, tech pages, magic system rules, and a query. I admit, sometimes I get to 10k words two dozen times before throwing it out and starting over sometimes, but it suits me.

message 7: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) This book is really excellent, especially wrt plot pacing. A published author friend of mine recommended it to me and I bought it.

How to Write a Movie in 21 Days

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