Author Topic: Advice for an absolute beginner  (Read 2196 times)

Gollumite

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Advice for an absolute beginner
« on: August 13, 2009, 01:35:45 PM »
I have never written seriously before, but I was recently struck with inspiration. A story idea popped into my head and I've been taking notes as ideas come to me, but I'm at a complete loss at how to start putting this thing together.

What is the best way to get started? Any pitfalls I should avoid, or other general advice for an absolute beginner? I'm considering taking a "Creative Writing 101" type course, but my schedule isn't very flexible at the moment. Are there any online courses/schools that anyone would recommend?


Frog

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Re: Advice for an absolute beginner
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2009, 02:52:10 PM »
There are tons of classes online, but I've never used them. My advice for an absolute beginner is just to simply sit down and write a book. You will learn so much by doing that you could never learn by taking classes and if you try to learn everything at once, you may spend way too long second guessing and discouraging yourself.

Outlining and such is fine, but I'd say that the first draft of your first book is just about getting into the rhythm of writing  and figuring out your voice and strengths. Then you start showing it to people, critique groups and so forth, to see where your weaknesses are and pull different resources to improve them. There are lots of podcasts and blogs where authors have posted advice for free which is great as long as you take it with a grain of salt (every writing style is going to be a bit different and you don't what to kill your own voice that could make your work stand out).

Oh, and read a lot.

At least that is my advice, but there are lots of people on here, so yeah, what do you all think?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2009, 02:54:15 PM by Frog »
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Recovering_Cynic

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Re: Advice for an absolute beginner
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2009, 02:59:26 PM »
I don't know of any courses, but I can give you some advice about getting started on your actual story.  For me personally, I like to outline.  After I have brainstormed and I know what I want to happen in my story, and in what order, I make out a bullet point outline with events and short notes.  Once I have a loose outline and the story in my head, I sit down and write as long as I can or until the story stops coming easy.  When the story stops coming easy, I start reading through it from the beginning to see if that will kick start the creative juices when I reach the point where I left off.  If it doesn't, I stop writing for a bit and do something else.  Don't try to force it because, at least in my case, it ends up sucking.  But since you have an outline and a start, you can come back to it when your brain is refreshed and be ready to hack at it again.  Sometims you have to leave a story alone for a little while, but make sure you come back to it.  

Then you throw it to the wolves... aka a reading group.  Your first story is probably going to be messy, but you'll learn a lot from it, and from the feedback you get about it.  Perhaps it will eventually turn into something publishable, but don't expect that from the first draft or even the first version.  The final, best version of the story may only have a vague resemblance of your initial draft, but that's okay.  Re-writing is like that.

Anyway, that's how I go about it.  I'm sure other people have different methods.
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