On March 8, 2022 I wrote an article for this blog on starting your story/book/novel. Well, that was a general overview of starting your writing journey. Here in this article I am going to be more specific. There are many ways in which one can start a story. One way I’m going to touch on today is the ‘what if’ statement.
Let’s say you want to write a story but you don’t know where to begin. Start with a ‘what if’ statement. It doesn’t have to be complex; it just needs to catch attention.
What if a girl is at the beach with her friends and finds a locket dated from the early 1900’s, and on the inside is a photo of her great grandmother and another man who is not the girl’s great grandfather.
What if a young man (in his 20’s) is at work and receives a message that his wife has fallen ill, but the thing is he has no wife.
What if three male friends are walking in the woods taking a short cut to another friend’s house. On the way only two of them are carrying on a conversation while the third friend stays silent and listening. One of the other two turn to the third to get his opinion on something only to find he’s not there.
What if a man in his thirties who lives in an apartment steps out and is on his way down the hall to go out to his car but stops short at the open door to his neighbor’s apartment. There’s blood on the threshold and on the arm of the couch just to the left of the open door.
What if an uninvited stranger walks into your party, singles you out, and tells you, “He’s here.” But you don’t know who ‘he’ is.
Feel free to steal the above ideas. Maybe one of these will help you come up with a ‘what if’ of your own. Have fun with them. The idea is to create a ‘what if’ statement that creates questions. Once you have a ‘what if’ statement you want to use, continue building on it. You’d be surprised how your mind will start spewing out idea after idea that will expand on that one ‘what if’ statement.
Beginning a novel can be daunting and confusing because you might not know where to start or how to start. Ideas may be flowing from your brain, and you may have written them down; or not. Either way, when it comes to starting your story, you might fall flat…at first. Don’t worry. There’s hope. We’ve all been there.
Writing a story and drawing it out into a lengthy novel reminds me of smoothing out wrinkles. A once over is good, but you might have to go over it multiple times before it’s the way you want it. The process is lengthy, so I’m not going to kid by saying it’s easy. Time is involved. Great care must be taken. Does it get easier over time? Yes. Know this though…everyone is different. The process might be faster for some than others. That’s okay. The point is to do it your way at your pace. When I first started writing fiction I was in high school, but the urge and yearning to write started much earlier than that. I didn’t know how to write a book, when I was aged ten. Although, there were stories brewing in my head all the same. I was a daydreamer. I still am. I didn’t start getting serious about writing fiction until my undergrad years in college.
I started with writing poems and short stories, but writing novels piqued my interest more, so that journey began. I created a general idea of what I wanted to write, and I set out typing my story. The challenge came when I realized I needed to know more about writing a novel. Thus, that journey also began. Here’s what it all looked like; I wrote my novel and learned how to write one at the same time. Yes, it was time consuming, but it was fun. In that time, I put it down on multiple occasions because life happened. Over the course of writing your novel, you will run up against situations that will stop or slow you down as well.
Whether you are stuck in the starting position because you are unable to generate ideas, you are not sure in which literary genre to write, you do not know where to start, or you need to learn more about writing fiction. We are all different with various backgrounds and life events. Do what is comfortable for you. Although, it doesn’t have to be difficult for you. I don’t want you to have to figure it out along the way like I did. If you are wanting to write a novel/book (fiction) and you have questions, please feel free to ask me questions.