26

Many will say what you're striving to do is impossible because you won't have seen enough tricks of the trade in use, but I'll do my best to suggest a way forward that doesn't boil down to, "read N books because that sounds like enough". I'll still end up telling you to do some reading (by which I mean "or use an audiobook if you prefer; I'm not your mother")...


22

In a story that isn't set in our normal here-and-now, be it fantasy, science fiction, historic fiction, or something else, you need to establish what's normal for your setting, and what isn't. As an example: aliens land in the local spaceport - is it an "inciting incident", or are they just regular traders? Or is landing of aliens in general commonplace, but ...


20

It really depends on what you're trying to achieve, what you're aiming for. Some people write simply because they enjoy it. Their stories don't need to meet any criteria other than being fun to write. Other people don't need to like them. They don't need to be "good" by literature critic's standards. If this is why you write, don't let any ideas about what ...


16

At first, I thought this is a bit of a tricky question. Normally, I would say that about half the words that are in your first draft probably shouldn't make it to the second. Then they are usually replaced by others (and then the same thing happens again for your third draft (and fourth (and ninth))). But if you are lacking all detail, then I think you ...


14

1) Mercedes Lackey famously rewrote her first trilogy seventeen times before it was published. You will not ruin your idea by writing it. 2) Even if you get your "first million terrible words" out of the way first, almost every first draft of every novel needs work. Your novel will still need editing whether your have experience or not. 3) Having an idea ...


13

Yes, please start in the MC's Normal World. The point of beginning in The Normal World is directly related to the inciting incident: Namely, the inciting incident has the potential to change the character's life. For good or evil. Whether they like it or not. It may change it immediately, or it may grow to to change it. In all these cases, the inciting ...


12

Although the other answers here are great, I feel a more direct answer to your question is important. Should you write, even if you have not read many books? Absolutely! Write to your heart's content. You'll find it will make you want to read more. I started writing when I was a child - by dictating it to my mother - I could not have read any books by ...


12

You do need to establish your character's "normal" -- but you almost certainly don't need to do it in a lump at the beginning of the book. The Hobbit doesn't start with a long chapter about daily life in The Shire; it starts with Gandalf showing up after only a few paragraphs describing the physical setting. The deep description of The Shire is doled out ...


12

To quote Margaret Atwood - "You become a writer by writing, there is no other way." Starting a project is hard, no matter what, and accepting that it's going to be challenging - but ultimately worthwhile is how I always try to frame it for myself. I would say to begin with some general brain dump writing. It doesn't have to be good; it's better if it's ...


11

As everybody else says, all options are viable. You can start from a scene that's bright in your mind and write to it and from it, you can throw scenes on paper and then connect them, you can start from the end and then write towards it. For every writer, a different approach works. So, listen to advice, but above all be guided by your own instinct, by what ...


11

The opening lines generally set the tone of the book. Why are you starting with your protagonist running? Is that the theme of the story, are they running away from something physical or emotional? Take the first line from Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a ...


10

This may be opinion based. My advice is to at least finish it - and here's why. If you allow yourself to not finish, you are setting a precedent for yourself. You are patterning to you that you don't need to finish. Likewise, if you finish it, even if poorly, you are disciplining yourself to finishing the project. Finish it. Commit to three weeks of ...


10

I believe you start with both of them together. A young warrior overthrows an oppressive regime. A fae outcast learns new magic to build the world anew. A criminal drug addict seeks redemption by turning his life to saving others. ^^ If you can identify a character goal and what your characters will do to reach it, then start writing in the 'normal ...


9

I have two previous answers that will help you, Here, on the Three Act Structure and Here, on Getting the first 50 pages or so started. These are geared to discovery writers, like me, but if you already have a plot to follow, they can help you anyway. The biggest mistake I see beginners make is they want to jump in too early on the "action" or the "big ...


8

Your best bet is to get some quotes. I realize that sounds like I'm dodging the question, but I'm not. My method, for example, is to work on a manuscript for one hour and use that as gauge to estimate the rest of the work. For some writers, that's 15 pages an hour; for others it's 30. So my quote for the "15 pages an hour" person is twice as much as the ...


8

Flash fiction gives you very little leeway. 100 words won't allow for extended plot, character development, scene-setting... really, it's enough for one scene. I've seen people pull off more in that wordcount, but it's hard and you're a beginner. Imagine one scene that is interesting enough to write about. Write it. How long is it? Is it interesting? ...


8

I start on Page 1, Line 1, Word 1: The main character's name. If you know this much about the characters, the first scene introduces the main character and her status-quo world. You have 5% to 10% of the story to let your readers get to know her, how she lives her life, deals with problems, deals with other people, and what she wants out of life. The first ...


8

The first part of a book / story should almost always be the normal life before the event that really pushes the story forward. If you don't want to do that, you need to ask yourself why he's running. If he's running for a reason (emergency, he's in danger etc.) then "he ran" is absolutely fine. You can also decide how much information you want to give at ...


8

I think you have several things going on here: You are probably overthinking your writing. With less than 600 words written it is far too soon for you, or anyone else, to know yet if you are writing nonsense, or even what you are writing at all. You are exhausting your ‘board of readers’, by getting them to keep rereading re-writes of the first 600 words. ...


7

I agree with hildred's answer that a review of the basics is in order here: Sentence structure, grammar, and so on. There are no standards for general-interest articles, but academic papers do have such standards. Without knowing what, exactly, you want to write, it's hard to give you advice on structure. But I can give a few suggestions that might help you ...


7

I will start my answer from a slightly different angle than the question originally proposed. You are asking whether or not you should write a novel, and specify the purpose as writing a book with a good reception by the book-reading community, so I will start off by answering the question "Will I be able to write a novel that will be well-received by the ...


7

Something that has helped me is to have a list of the chapters of the novel with a short summary of each one. Don't worry if there are gray spots on it, in fact that is good as it allows the story to develop itself while writing. Also, don't worry if you need to change it, the important thing is that at any moment, you have a map to know where you come ...


7

In terms of the story, it should not matter. You might start with characters that you want to write about. And then figure out a plot to causes these characters to interact with each other. And then the requirements of the plot cause changes to the characters. And so on, and so on. You might start with the plot and only later after the flow of the plot is ...


7

I always start with characters. For me, as a discovery writer, characters drive the story, when I'm looking for a new idea, I look for a new MC, until one grabs me. Then I think about that MC obsessively for about a week, not writing anything down, just thinking about her (usually a her). Specifically I think about her normal life, what she does for a living ...


6

A comic -- web or paper, cartoon strip or sophisticated graphic novel -- is a different medium from conventional written stories. The biggest difference is that it's hard to do exposition; those long explanatory passages that you could slip into a novel don't fit into a few panels. It's also hard to convey nuances like meaningful gazes. So think about the ...


6

I had the exact same problem with my first work, so let me tell you how I dealt with the problem. I was trying to aim for 60k, but my book ended at 20k. There were several reasons the book came up short. The main was that I had tried to write the book without any thinking- sort of like the pantsing or discovery approach (see this question). Like you, I did ...


6

I do not have enough knowledge about the book-reading community as to what pleases them. What pleases them is what you see published and sell, they wouldn't buy it and read it if it did not please them. Note there is a distinct cause and effect here: They don't like it just because it got published! It got published because editors thought it would sell ...


6

Normally when I start writing a story, there is a moment with a character or a specific line that inspired me to start thinking about the story. I then focus on that specific moment and figure out how to get to the dialogue or the moment I envisioned. Sometimes I start writing the chapter and I never actually write the sentence or the event that I imagined,...


5

You probably should join a writers group where you can get reviews and feedback for your writing, and support from other writers. In your question I noticed at least one grammar error in every sentence, so I would recommend reviewing the basics: sentence structure, verbals, and punctuation.


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