Starting with the writing basics – Part I

Heya!

So here I am as promised. Publishing a blog about writing. I didn’t know what to do at first, then a thought struck my head.

“Why not begin with the writing process?”

I know that most of you already know this stuff. It’s given at school, so at least the name will ring a bell. However, it is good to revise and go over the basics every once in a while. Sometimes we need to refresh memory, especially when you’re writing. So here’s what I’m gonna do: I’m going to divide it in two parts. The first one (this one right here XD) is about the first two steps, which are the two most difficult for every writer. The second one will be published next week and will feature the other three steps of the writing process.

Nevertheless, let’s start.

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Ok, so first thing in the writing process is the Prewriting. It’s basically planningthe piece that’s going to be written.

How?

Thing is, many people ask me that. “How do I start?” or maybe “Where do I begin? It’s so hard to plan it out…”

Truth is, prewriting is very simple. The main objective in this step should be to get out the ideas you have in your mind and put them in paper. You start with a topic, a word, an idea. Some authors call this part “development of kernel idea”. Think about what you want to talk about… no. think about what you need to talk about. Something you want everyone to know. Something that screams “Get me out!” everyday in your head. Once you know what is that “kernel idea”, you head out to make the prewriting activity.

There are many ways to do it though. Some think it is only about the famous web of ideas or an outline yet it involves many more activities. For instance, instead of a web of ideas, why not make a list of words? Or perhaps take on freewriting, which consists on writing whatever comes to your mind, whether it’s in order or not. Each writer has their own way to get their ideas out. the important thing is that you do it.

Why?

Because all of us are visual creatures. Some more than others, but all of us make better sense of everything if we see it. That’s why authors don’t make stories in their heads. The place it on paper to develop it. Having that said, I invite you to do it.

Sure, it can be tedious work, but it helps A LOT. Ideas flow better, you can build and destroy anything, and it will help you concentrate one idea at the time. It may seem hard. Trying to get all your ideas out in one piece of paper can look impossible. Just start one word at the time and you will see how all will fall into place. It will appear like a mess in the beginning, but then, when you organize it and re-read it, everything will fall into place.

Next step, the draft.

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Now we face one of the biggest enemies of the writer. The first blank page. That first page is SO DAMN HARD to fill out, many writers (like me for instance) just stare at it, unable to write just one simple word. It is terrifying. It is scary. The pure whitness of the paper can give one the creeps.

Am I exaggerating? Maybe. But I bet that if you ask around, chances are someone will say “Yep. I’ve been through that. I know the feels.”

The trick of making a first draft consists of one thing only: to start writing. Ring Lardner wrote that some authors begin with an ‘I’, others with a question, and so on. He wrote that he found out people like short dialouge where he lives, so he starts with that. Does that mean WE have to begin that way? Of course not. Sure, it may be you start like they do, but it could be that you need another style.

By this I mean your own style.

Each writer starts differently. Lardner stars with dialogue. Rick Riordan began his first book with the following: “Look, I didn’t want to be a half blood.” which is a negative statement. I began my storie with an ‘I am’. There all different beginnings, but they share one common characteristic: we began.

And that’s what you need to do. Once you start, keep writing the story with all your heart and soul, like your life depends on it. Don’t look back, that’s the next step. First you have to finish your draft. You misspelled a word? Sentences don’t make sense? Words are missing everywhere? That’s fine. It’s your first rough draft. Mistakes are forgiven. Just write. Period.

I suggest you practice these steps when you can. Brainstorm, organize your ideas, then write a draft. It could be of a letter, an essay, a story or a novel.

You.

Just.

Write.

Well, that’s it for now. Hope this helps you in your writing. Next week, I’ll bring the other three steps of the writing process. If you need anything, leave a comment. I’ll be more than happy to answer.

Until then,

Anaklusmosj 😉

Suggested readings:

How to write short stories – Ring Lardner (The prologue is awesome for begginers!)

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