This week I’m writing about how to write even when you don’t know how or where to begin.
While this may feel forced and artificial at first, it can get you well on your way to getting a story on the page.
Think of this as priming the pump in three steps:
- Get clear about the story essentials you need to create a workable framework.
- Plug in the info.
So, what are the story essentials?
1. Imagine a protagonist/main character (think about gender, age, physical appearance and trust that the rest will come). Don’t spend a ton of time on this. Just jot down what comes to mind. The process actually works better that way.
2. Put the character in a space.
3. Give the character a desire.
4. Give the character a reason for the desire.
5. Imagine an antagonist (the person or thing that will interfere with the protagonist’s main desire).
6. Let the antagonist interfere with the first character’s desire.
7. What desire is behind the second character’s actions?
8. Why does the second character have this desire?
9. Make the two characters talk to each other.
10. Fill out the scene(s) by evoking the five senses.
Don’t think it to death.
Just jot down what comes to you quickly.
Trust your intuition.
Make it easy.
Here’s an example
43-year-old woman with long, wild red hair in a car
Driving across the country to meet her birth mother for the first time
On his way to meet his girlfriend at an abortion clinic, rear-ends the protagonist’s car
What happens next…?
IMPORTANT: It doesn’t have to be good at this stage. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You’ll come back and refine it on the rewrite. That’s what everyone does. Even the best writers.
And that’s how you begin.
Do this over and over and over. Before you know it, you’ll have several beginnings you can build on.
Who are your protagonist and your antagonist?