Tips for New Writers

Many years ago, when I was a young writer, I never really worried about how to word things or where to begin writing.  I just went at it with my intuition, jotting emotions down, jotting how I heard conversations happened in my head, etc.  I had an urge to get those thoughts out on paper.  Personally, I had a thing for the written English language (if the English language was a handsome man, I’d be all over him) so I naturally paid attention in all my English classes. I also read a lot, and still do – a lot more than I did then.

I’ve noticed nowadays that a lot of new writers, who don’t have any experience in writing, worry that they won’t be able to write because they don’t know how to do it right or where to begin.  It doesn’t take an expert to explain what it takes to be a beginner writer, just someone who’s done it a ton.

Here are my tips on how to start.  Now, you won’t become a famous writer/author right away, or maybe ever because of these tips.  These are simply stepping stones to get you comfortable enough to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and make sense out of it.

Tip 1: Read. Read whatever you want, but read.  Preferably, read in your genre because it will help you think the way you need to think to write your stories.  When you read, watch for syntax, verbiage, sentence structure, etc.  Pay attention to how the author starts a chapter or a paragraph. I’d recommend throwing in a few classics just for variations.

Tip 2: In grade school, we were all taught the elements of a story.  It still applies.

The 5 Basic Elements of a story:

  1. Exposition – the introduction: setting of the story and characters.
  2. Rising Action – events that lead to the climax.
  3. Climax – the highest point of the action; the crisis.
  4. Falling Action – the events after the crisis.
  5. Denouement – the tying together of loose ends; the resolution.

Tip 3: Have a conflict in your story.  Being new, you should only focus on one conflict. Don’t worry about the different types of conflicts out there, it could confuse you more.  Just think of one thing that you feel can be resolved in your story.

Tip 4. Write.  Tell your story without it being perfect.  Let it spill out with all its imperfections.  Don’t worry about grammar.  DO worry about formatting.  It will help you read you own work easier in the long run.  This is the very basic way to format:

  1. Double space.
  2. Use 12-point font size and Times New Roman for the typeface.
  3. Indent for new paragraphs.
  4. Indent dialogue each time a different character is speaking.

Tip 5: Practice on short pieces.  Even if you have a long story playing in your mind, write out just the parts that are strongest.  Don’t try to get the story down in order.  Use place holders or chapters (with short outlines) for those pieces you have yet to flesh out completely.

That’s it!  Now, get to writing.