How to Begin Part 2

How to Begin Part 2

Last time we discussed beginning a novel. This week we’ll cover how to get from concept to creation of your story. So let’s begin.

If you have an idea for a story the best thing to do is begin to plan in order to find your plot.  What’s the inciting incident? How does that lead to the climax? Ask yourself these questions as you begin. Once you’ve figured out your plot, it’s merely a question of sitting down to write it out. Remember there are many different ways to plot and many different ways to outline so don’t think it isn’t for you. But if you are a pantser, then make what my colleague calls a To-Do list; get bread, find the fae, slay the dragon, and save the princess. 

To discover your plot, ask yourself what happens and what matters in your story world and then begin. Start a character sketch for your protagonist and main characters, brainstorm your story concept, decide on setting and flesh out your story world, and consider your concept—who is involved, why are they at odds with each other, what led to this in the first place?

Get to know your protagonist and antagonist and make sure they’re fully developed. That includes having goals, motivations, and flaws for each character. And figure out how their flaws and goals affect the plot, especially how the flaw impedes the character from reaching their goal. Although you have only one major climax to your plot, you’ll want to build tension by having smaller crises moments lead up to the climax. I recommend having 2 to 3 crises moments.

Conflict is crucial so have obstacles and tension building up to the climax. Without conflict there is no story. Make questions for the reader to keep them turning pages. Short stories don’t have space for them, but longer stories should have subplots to deepen the story and keep your audience reading to have those questions answered. Add a love interest or a complicated relationship to resolve. Does a minor character have a goal at odds with the protagonist?

The ending contains the resolution for your story’s major arc as well as wrapping up smaller arcs set up by your subplot. It also resolves the consequences for your characters’ actions. Give your reader resolution and a glimpse of what their new norms will be now that the story has ended.

Ask yourself these questions and then begin to outline. What questions do you ask as you begin? Comment below and happy brainstorming.


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