Updated: Jun 27, 2018
There's something about starting a new project that's special. It can be a good special, or not so good. For me, personally, starting a new project is practically intoxicating. I love it. Starting new things is interesting and exciting, and maybe that's why I think it's so easy. But for other people, those first few sentences are absolutely terrible.
From my discussions with other writers, I've come to understand that starting a whole new story, with all new characters that your readers don't know and don't care about, is intimidating. When you take the whole story as a single unit, and try to figure out all the little details about how your readers will see your characters and why they should care and how to introduce them and on and on and on - it's enough to crush even the most creative mind.
There are three tips that my professors and friends shared with me as I learned more about writing that have made all the difference in the world to me, and I'll share them with you.
1. Take it one step at a time.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. A new project is the same way. If the whole thing is too overwhelming (and it definitely can be, make no mistake about that) then pick out one little piece and focus on that. Pick a single character and introduce them to your readers, and see where it goes from there.
2. Know your characters/setting/world.
It's incredibly difficult to tell a story about a person or a place you don't know. Sit down with a friend you trust to bounce ideas well and start fleshing out your characters or world with a series of questions; the sort of questions someone who didn't know the person or place might ask.
What is your family like?
What kind of money do you use?
Do you have a favorite book?
Is there a holiday everyone celebrates in this area?
3. Don't sweat the introduction.
If you have a character or setting or event you don't know how to introduce to your reader, don't worry about it. Start with how you got to know the character or event or place. Just get it down on paper (or screen, as the case may be) and go back to tweak it later. Better to have something to work with you can't use than to have nothing at all.
That's all I have for this week. I hope this helps you get started with that story or project you've been putting off forever.
If there's a subject you'd like me to touch on, or a story you'd like to see more of, hit me up through the email portal on the home page! I thrive on feedback.
Until next time, may the words flow easily from your pen.