Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ways of Getting Started

Hello again,

For writers there as many ways of writing as there are fish in the sea.

Today we're going to look at two of the most usual:

Frequently a story starts with an idea that won't go away. That rush of creativity is wonderful. Capture it. Nothing beats it. For some lucky writers that rush translates into flowing writing that continues until they can write 'end' knowing they have a job well done.

If you can't sit down to write when inspiration strikes, use bullet points, key words, anything that will help you remember when you come to write. It's amazing the number of times I've had such a great idea that I know I couldn't possibly lose it. But I have. Too often when I've come to write it, to capture it, is nothing more than an absent flitter. A most important point - never be without a notebook and pen.

For the majority of beginning writers, it's easy to falter and lose heart after the intial wonderful rush of creativity. It happens to experienced writers too. This is where it helps to 'storyboard' or to plan the content of your writing.

I subscribe to a combination of both methods.

Let me explain. To get started on a new project I need that creative rush, that belief that I've the best and most original story, the one the world is waiting for.

So when I'm beginning a new project, I make a folder called BIP - yes, you've guessed it - Book In Progress - add the month and year, so this would be BIPJuly09. I don't linger over the empty yellowness of what has to be filled with words!

Even if my story - and here I'm talking about narrative fiction - is fact based, I'm inclined to begin by writing in stream of consciousness fashion using only my instincts, taking gratefully the characters who present themselves, using the locations they chose and giving them the life they suggest.

That frequently works well for about 10,000 words, i.e., about three chapters. Then I have to rein in the exuberance of my fictional characters, put my writerly brain into action and be quite ruthless as to what is working and what is not working - that comes with experience.

I cut out what I consider is not working for the story by making a file within that yellow folder which I title SPARES and into that goes words/ideas/thoughts/mood pieces.

My reasoning for this is that I've agonised as anxiously over the words I'm jettisoning as those I've kept. I hate wastage! - I may use them in something else or I may need them later in story.

More later. Keep writing and et me know how you're getting on either by comment here or email: patricia@patriciaoreilly.net.