So everything might be a bit far reaching. I’m not going to be covering everything everything, but one thing that is severely overlooked. We’re going back to basics and building from there.
So recently, someone wrote in, “I’m new to writing and every time I try to write, I feel like I don’t write well or I feel like I can’t write properly. Can you please give me the basics of writing a story? (like tell me everything I need to know before writing a story)” I’d say I get a question like this at least once a week. So, what is the everything you need to know?
The everything: Writing is a medium of written word. It sounds basic, and it is, but it’s something we tend to forget. You can plan out incredibly beautiful scenes, visualize everything in your mind, but really that means nothing if you cannot convey that sentiment in words. When reading, it can be so easy to get lost in the words. You are visualizing the scenes as you read, but those scenes are completely created through written word.
The everything of writing starts with words on a page. The word Labrador evokes something. So does the minty sting of mouthwash. Sometimes I will get so absorbed by a story that it will suddenly seem like a great realization that this scene was created in a few well-constructed sentences.
Now with that said, I want to move into another question (I promise, it’s relevant):
Hi Lizard. I reckon I have the concept of coming up with ideas for plots and characters down almost perfectly. But when I sit down to write, I suck. Like, I am good in theory, I have all these elaborate scenes in my head that turn into a flaming hot trashcan when I attempt to execute them. It is really starting to piss me off, especially now that I am stone set on actually sitting down and writing my first book. What do I do?
What do you do?
You can imagine scenes all you want, but if you aren’t thinking about the words you’ll write, it is not going to make it any easier to convey it. It’s good to have a plan in mind. Keep those imagined scenes in an outline, in sketches, in something somewhere so that you won’t forget them, but when it comes to writing the scene, focus on the words.
In my experience, when I focus on an interesting sentence, it tends to build and lead to more interesting sentences. It might loosely flow around the thing I so meticulously planned, but usually it’s better off when it doesn’t. It may mean that your plans are continuously changing, but they have to be a little bit fluid. Often when writing, I don’t know what the scene is really about until after I’ve written it. I might plan it out in my head, but it’s a series of events and interactions. Until I’ve seen the sentences, how I’ve been able to articulate these thoughts and feelings, I won’t have gotten it right. Sure, it may need editing, cleaning up, honing the words until they most clearly convey what I mean, but off the bat, it takes writing it, at least in my experience to understand it.
There is an art to articulating a story. That is something that takes practice. Focus on the words. Instead of just “telling the story,” try to see what you are capable of constructing through words.