Story Writing for BEGINNERS - Chapter 1

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Story Writing for BEGINNERS

by OokamiKasumi

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Writing a story isn't all that hard or even complicated. It's what you put into your story that makes it complicated -- and uniquely yours.

Story Writing for BEGINNERS
Story Writing for BEGINNERS

 

-----Original Message-----

I want to write a story. I have a couple of ideas, but no idea what to do with them, or even how to begin! Help?!

-- Newbie Writer
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So when you wanna write a story, where do you begin? With your PASSION!

 
Write what you KNOW & LOVE
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What do you KNOW, really? What do you love to Do, to Study, to Think About, to Talk About...? Whether it's cave-diving, model trains, skate-boarding, sewing, horses, mythology, ghost legends, or particle physics your passion is where you will find your most unique and powerful work.

 

Make a list of all the things you know well and all the things you've done -- seriously! Mythology, history, any retail jobs you might have had -- anything you might have seen, done, or studied.

 

Sticking with your passions and your personal experiences also keeps you from making the fewest MISTAKES.

 

Case in point, someone who has never kissed isn't going to be able to write a kissing scene as well as someone who Has. Worst of all, someone with experience will know IMMEDIATELY when the writer doesn't know what they're talking about. Once that happens, they're closing your story -- never to look at it again.

 

If you insist on writing about something outside of your personal experience, do your RESEARCH thoroughly. Google.com & Wikipedia.com are your friends!

 

Next?

 

KNOW your Characters and the World they live in THOROUGHLY
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If you're writing fan-fiction, RESEARCH is your friend!

 

www.Google.com can be extremely helpful, but www.Wikipedia.com can be your best bet. Wiki has a listing for just about every manga, game, and anime you can think of complete with character lists and bios. If you need a map, that's where Google comes in. More often than not, you can find one of your particular world on somebody's website somewhere.

 

If you're writing an Original story, you have a LOT more work to do.

 

Character Creation 101
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The easiest way to make an original character is by modeling your character on one you already know.

 

Out of all the movies you have seen, what fictional character is most like what you need for your story? You want a movie or animated character because you need to PICTURE your character as they move through your stories. This is ESSENTIAL for Active Writing.

 

Favorite characters I like to use:
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- Trinity from the Matrix
- Keiffer Sutherland from the Lost Boys & 24
- Robert Carlyle from Ravenous and Plunkett & McLean
- Wolverine from the X-Men
- Sandra Bullock from Miss Congeniality and Speed 
- Johnnie Depp from Sleepy Hollow and Sweeny Todd 
- Selene from Underworld 
- Riddick from Pitch Black

 

The trick is to change their names and appearance enough to disguise them while leaving their base character traits -- and dialogue style -- intact!
 

"Wait! Isn't using someone else's characters' Plagiarism?"
-- Only if the character still has the Same Name and the Same Physical Description. Change those and it's not. Think! If no one ever borrowed characters, there'd only be ONE vampire novel in existence--and it wouldn't be "Dracula".


You should have THREE Main Characters to tell a whole story:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Proponent

(Hero): The one trying to Keep things the way they are.

Antagonist

(Villain): The one trying to Change things from the way they are.

Ally

(buddy or lover): The one caught in the Middle, and usually telling the story.

 

-----Original Message-----

"But what if I only want to use two characters?"

Then use only Two:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Proponent

(Hero): The one trying to Keep things the way they are.


Antagonist

(Villain): The one trying to Change things from the way they are.

 

However, using only Two main characters will make it harder to tell the whole thing. Don't be surprised if a Third character sneaks their way in to help you!

 

WORLD BUILDING 101
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay now that you have your Characters, you need to make a world to put them in.

 

The easiest place to put your characters is a place you already know. For all other places, there's RESEARCH. Google.com is invaluable for finding pictures of places you've never been and journals posted by people living there. Find them and READ them.

 

If you're building a fantasy world, a historical world, or a sci-fi world for your first story, CHEATING is your best option.

 

There are a million and one Gaming Books and Gaming Sites featuring all kinds of historical, fantastical, and scientific data it would take you YEARS to uncover. Just make sure you separate Fact from Fiction! And for God's sake, CHANGE what you Can! You don't need people screaming at you for copyright violation.

 

If you're determined to build your world from scratch, then here is the absolute best guide on world building there is:


Patricia C. Wrede's Worldbuilder Questions

http://www.larseighner.com/world_builder/index.html

 

Making your story HAPPEN!
PLOTTING 101

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Rather than make this complicated, let's go the simple route. Once you have all three (or two) characters, ask each one these

Three Questions:

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• Who am I and what do I do?

• What do I want?

• What is the worst thing that could happen to me?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Once you know the answers to all of these questions, you pretty much have your whole story.

 

• "Who am I and what do I do?" is your introduction.

• "What do I want?" is what puts your characters in opposition. Your hero has a Goal. Your Villain doesn't want them to have it because it gets in the way of their Goal.

• Your main character's 'Worst Thing' is the REVERSAL to your story dead center in the Middle.

• The Villain's 'Worst Thing' is the main CLIMAX close to the end. It's the turning point that allows your Main Character to win. The End.

 

Simple, ne?

 

So where do you begin Writing?
~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOT at the beginning!

 

Open the story within one page of Hero meets Villain, (or Lover meets Beloved) with the story already in progress. Action scenes and snappy dialogue are the best hooks for snaring your reader, but hints of Mysterious things yet to happen works well too. I also set the stage for the story about to begin with a few lines of Description so that the reader can SEE everything as it happens.

 

The trick to not boring them is: Don't Tell them ANYTHING!

 

Give broad hints, but don't Info-dump. Use Dialogue to hint at clues to the secondary character’s back-story. This way you make the reader an eavesdropper who MUST read on to find out, "What the heck is going on?"

 

The easiest way to keep your reader from figuring out what's going on -- and how your story will end -- is by telling the whole story from One POV (point of view.) MAKE the reader discover from INSIDE your main character why this vampire hunted this particular guy down, and why he isn’t running in screaming terror. MAKE your readers put two and two together and try to come up with the right answer.

 

Tricks to keeping your story SHORT!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Keep the number of characters to a Minimum!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The larger the cast -- the longer the story.

 

This is because each and every character you use must have their story problem FIXED by the end of the story. If you don't, you create a PLOT HOLE that your readers WILL notice, and call you on.



Keep the Point of your story firmly in mind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What are you trying to Show with your story?

 

Love Conquers All

Greed makes one Greedier

Love = Insanity

Love doesn't always mean Happiness

Love isn't always Nice

You Reap what you Sow

Destiny is a B!tch

You can't escape Yourself

A Snake will always be a Snake

Sometimes, Love means Letting Go

Sometimes, Love means Giving In

Appetites will find a way to be Filled

Revenge only brings Misery

 

In short, know what you want to say and how you intend to END the story before you begin!



Only put in what you intend to USE.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If it doesn't affect the Plot, the Characters or the Point of your story, you don't need it.

 

This includes Description.

 

In a short story, everything is pared down to the minimum, so you only need to describe the characters your character directly interacts with, and their immediate surroundings, no more, but no less either. You want to make sure that your Reader can SEE what's happening, but you don't need to go into detail about every babbling brook and tree.



Once you've finished your story, Read it OUT LOUD to yourself.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This will allow you to catch most of your mistakes before anyone else sees them.

 

• If you have to stop to take a breath before you finish a sentence -- the sentence is Too Long.

• If you have to read a line twice to figure out what you just said, so will your Readers. Any time you have to reread anything, something is WRONG.

• If you find your attention drifting from the story you are reading out loud -- so will your Readers.

• If you find yourself skipping parts to get to better parts -- so will your readers.

• If YOU don't find what you're reading interesting enough to keep reading, neither will your Readers.



In Conclusion...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writing a story isn't all that hard or even complicated. It's what you put into your story that makes it complicated -- and uniquely yours.

 

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ookami Kasumi

http://ookami-kasumi.livejournal.com/

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