I'm new and I need a bit of advice. I read fantasy books and have tried to write short stories for some years now, but it hasn't worked out.
How did you people get started with the writing, and how old were you?
I've never really finished a story, but I have lots of ideas, and I'm
wondering how to get on with them.
Is there anything I need to think about before I begin on the writing-process?
Do I have to make maps, and drawings of my characters first?
Do you know any methods I could use?
December 4th, 2002, 03:52 PM
I don't think there's any sure-fire technique for writing that will work for everyone all the time. I'm sure you'll get many different answers to this question, because most authors find what works for them by a system of trial and error.
I can give you a few ideas that have worked for me.
When I write a story I generally have two files: the actual story itself, and a note file (this can be on paper, but lately I've been keeping it on the computer as well). I make notes as I go to help keep track of things - characters, conflicts, interesting potential twists - that kind of thing. I try not to erase anything in this file. If I have a different idea as to where I want to go with the plot, I just start over the bottom and add.
I also like to do a little research before I start. Once I've decided what kind of project I'll be working on I go out and do a little reading. For example in a fantasy setting I might want to know how heavy a typical sword is (something that I've noticed comes up on this forum from time to time).
Personally I also like to think about what kind of themes and lessons I'd like to present in my work - and then I think about how I can incorpoarte them into the story. My characters and plot then grow out of this.
If you're just starting out, don't be afraid to experiment. Chances are you won't end up with a bestseller overnight, but you can develop your skills and in time who knows what might happen.
December 5th, 2002, 03:52 AM
You've either got writing in your blood, or you don't, but you've gotta practice a lot to find out. I'm 20, finsihed studying and not wroking, so I am writing story after story. I wrote a long novel last year whilst studying, so I was pleased with that, but now I'm trying to get short stories published.
A technique I'm thinking of off the top of my head. Break it down. 1. Grammar/Structure/Editing - Soak in every word, every technique, everything when you write. 2. Ideas - You've gotta come up with good ideas and more the merrier. 3. The story - you need to find your style and a the right mix of detail, characters, setting and realism. 4. Endurance - never give up! Ever!
Hope that helps.
December 5th, 2002, 06:55 AM
I recommend going and picking up a couple of books on writing. They are motivational plus they will help to answer your questions about how to write and the writing market.
You can pick some up at any used book store for a few books. Or join the writer's digest book club. If you are serious they have really cool books.
December 5th, 2002, 11:24 AM
I found Stephen King's Book On Writing to be quite fun and informative. (may be misremembering the title.) I don't agree with everything he has to say about being a writer, but there were lots of interesting ideas.
A few years ago, someone loaned me Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and while my memory of it is not clear, I do recall enjoying it.
December 9th, 2002, 12:15 AM
My writing tends to flow from the actual history and maps of a place. I start with maps, detailed maps. From the maps I work on history, religeon, and politics. I generally end up with dozens of maps (which take months to make at times) and as many as a hundred pages of notes before I start writing. I find that the world and its history sort of create the story. I never start with a desired story, but always end up knowing what the story that needs to be told is as an outgrowth of the history, etc.. It is a very, very slow way to work... but it gives me depth and backdrop to work against.
December 9th, 2002, 06:51 AM
That's how I approached writing my Aragorn fanfic.......I was always surrounded by reference books on Middle earth and copies of HoME and LOTR......I took pages of notes ansd constructed a timeline. My main concern was faithfulness and accuracy.
December 11th, 2002, 08:22 PM
One thing that has helped me enormously is something you already mentioned, Hope--reading. Reading lots. Both in and out of the genre you're interested in. Reading nonfiction, newspapers, poetry, whatever you can get your hands on. Our language is a marvelous tool, and no two writers use it alike.
In addition to the excellent Stephen King book Eldanuumea mentioned, there is another one out there--Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. It is still readily available from Amazon.com and other booksellers, and contains a wealth of inspiring and helpful essays on the craft.
I'm an aspiring writer too--my biggest obstacle thus far is learning to balance the rest of my life with writing. It's tough, but I wouldn't trade it for all the gold under the Lonley Mountain.
Welcome, and good luck to you!
December 11th, 2002, 11:07 PM
i would just take all the gold. and then i wouldnt have to know to balance stuff any more, i could just write all the time.
as regards the original question, i think in sff there are 3 ways to start off as opposed to 2 in standard fiction.
you have plot-driven and character-driven books...so decidind on what your main approach would be always help
in sff, you also have the option of creating your world and then hoping something youve made up will be the root of a story
December 19th, 2002, 05:12 AM
Thank you all very much for your help. I was inspired the moment I read your comments and since then everything has been just fine.
Though I'm very happy that you gave me advise, I'm afraid I can't read the books that some of your recommended. The problem is that my native tongue is not English, and I don't think I would understand the books. Sorry. However, I found some other ones about writing, and they have given me what I needed to get on with my stories. Thank you once more for replying. It's great that someone will help me.