I woke up one muggy June morning thinking to myself, “He’s right. You should stop writing fan fiction and focus on something real, something that you create from scratch.” Now, to wake up and suddenly want to writing something completely fresh, well, I’m not sure if I can handle that, not all at once, but what I can do is sort of outline the story. I mean, I do have ideas of my own that don’t involve people who already exist, in situations that have already been sussed out completely.
The only thing that’s holding me back is, well… where do I begin? I should start with an outline, character profiles, and a general setting, just so I know where the hell this story is going to go and how it’s going to end. I should at the very least know that.
So where to begin…
You sort of have to know where the story starts and ends, and a number of the details about what happens in the middle. Initially, you don’t have to have the entire thing sussed out; just the bare bones will suffice for step one. And put it down by chapters, that way it will be easier to divy it all up when you’re ready for details.
Got any yet? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Maybe you know who they are, but you don’t know who they are. You’ve created a character, now bring them to life. But how, you ask. How can I bring a figment of my imagination to life? Simple! Character development sheets are available in several places on the Internet; you just have to find the one that fits your character the best!
The story has to happen somewhere. Even if it’s in the load program, it has to happen somewhere. Neo has to get his guns from somewhere. As the author, you have to know where this is going to be. A landscape should be visualized, borrowed, or created. No one’s saying you have to rebuild Middle Earth, but knowing that you’re going to want your setting to look like Los Angeles after an earthquake will certainly help. Also, if you’re not going to create a setting from scratch, do some research. Go to your local library, and see if you can find pictures of where you want this story to take place.
4. Plot, Part 2
By now you’ve thought about your story long enough to get a better feel for the plot. Go back to your initial plot outline and fill in the holes. Rearrange if necessary. Add, subtract, multiply, divide. Do whatever math you have to do in order to get the story to have some sort of flow. Some sort of flow.
If you think you’re ready to write, DO EET! No one’s going to tell you that your outline isn’t finished, or your story is lacking something. This is what I like to call “Draft Zero”. This is the bare minimum of effort you’ve put into your story. All of the word vomit in one place for the author to go back through and turn into the novel that they knew they had in them.
I guess I should start to follow my own advice and get writing. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated, since this really is a rather new endeavor for me. Wish me luck!