First off, I want to say welcome to the writing world! I assume you’re pretty new or maybe just wanting to learn more about the writing craft.
I have seen many new writers that experience problems with their writing. So I am going to give you some tips on how to solve those problems.
So first off, you might be wondering, how do I choose a topic or how do I write about a new character?
Ask yourself this:
Who is the character?
What does this character want more than anything?
What can I do to prevent him/her from getting it?
This is the start of a plot.
Now you might be wondering how you even start to create a new world? Well some form of planning should go into this.
I have noticed new writers that just jump into their new story without any form of planning.
Now you might wonder why that is such a bad thing. It’s typically not unless you are going to be sharing your very first draft with the rest of the world. (Which by way, I do not recommend.)
Now when I first started writing I’ll be the first to admit that I was God awful at it. Haha! I misspelled everything I touched and I never planned a single plot out.
I started writing on FanFiction.Net, which is an amazing place for newbies to start. You just pick a topic you like, such as a Tv Show, and you can start planning instantly.
I recommend you start with something such as that.
Because that world is already created and it’s a wonderful starting point for someone who has never created a story in their life.
Sometimes the very idea of trying to create a whole new world with new characters can be a very daunting task.
It can be scary and overwhelming. This is the last thing I want new writers to feel.
Writing is supposed to be fun! It’s supposed to be exciting. You are heading down a path to potentially create a whole new world with characters in it.
I don’t want them to feel like giving up even before they’ve started.
So that’s why I suggest new writers to choose a topic they really like and have a passion for then write about that.
Remember to choose something you adore and have a great passion for. That truly helps you to brainstorm new ideas and helps you to keep writing.
Now say you chose to start writing on Fanfiction.net. You’ve chosen a topic and decided on what the plot will be.
My next tip is to never write your draft on Fanfiction.net as it only stays for 90 days until it’s deleted. Always save it elsewhere, such as Figment.com.
Now you’ve started to write your first draft ever. Please remember these next things.
There must be a paragraph break anytime a new character speaks. No one, and I mean no one, wants to read a huge block of text.
You may ask what the heck I’m talking about. I’ll show you.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” She asked with a frown.He smiled at her and shrugged.” ‘Cause you’re pretty.”He said simply.She glared at him and looked away with a huff. “I am so not interested in you.” She said with an eye roll.”Why?” He asked with a scowl.”Because.” She said.”
Now that was probably very hard to read, I know it was hard to write at least.
You have no clue who is speaking as the paragraph hasn’t ended so your brain just assumes that the girl must be speaking. However, as you read on, you see that it was actually the boy speaking.
I’ll show you how it would look if you were to start a new paragraph.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” She asked with a frown.
He smiled at her and shrugged. ” ‘Cause you’re pretty.” He said simply.
She glared at him and looked away with a huff. “I am so not interested in you.” She said with an eye roll.
“Why?” He asked with a scowl.
“Because.” She said.”
Now that looks so much better and it’s better on the eyes, don’t you agree?.
That is what I mean when I said you should start a new paragraph anytime someone new speaks. It’s easier for your readers to follow and read along. They know who is speaking and making those actions.
Here’s another tip which I am sure you’re read countless times before.
“Show, don’t tell.”
Simple words right?
But what do they really mean and how can you really show anything on a screen/page?
Here’s the basics of it:
I’ll show you what I mean when I say this.
Don’t tell me she was sad, she us her emotions!
“Her lip trembled as his words pierced her like a hot blade. She felt the prickling of tears burning at her eyes as she clenched her fists. Her heart beat against her chest like a trapped bird.”
You can sort of feel her emotions, almost like you are watching her as she fights with her boyfriend.
Now, here’s what telling looks like.
“She was tired from that last test she took. She knew she had to get to bed soon if she was to get any sleep.”
That’s telling not showing.
You may be asking when you are supposed to use telling over showing or showing over telling?
I’ll break it down simply. You don’t want to read on about how tired she feels and how her arms are like sand bags on her shoulders. Boring!
I’ll show you an example:
“She yawned like a great beast as her eyes drooped. She could feel her body slowly shutting down as he crept towards her bed. Her legs drug along like stones and her arms hung like they were weighted down with sandbags.”
As you can see, no one wants to read about how tired she felt or how heavy her body felt. It’s just too boring and you would be better off just telling your readers that she was tired.
Now I’m not saying you can’t ever write like that but just don’t drawl on and on about it. Get in and get out, so to speak.
These are not written rules, as there really isn’t any rules to writing. There’s just guidelines to help people to care about your characters and their world.
Many times it’s better to use show over tell when it comes to emotions because it connects your readers to your character.
Moving on from there and onto my next tip.
How do I get my readers to care about my characters?
Now, this is a very important step in creating a book or story. After all, if your readers don’t care then why would they even read it?
Here’s some things to consider when creating your character or even writing about a world that’s already created.
You might be wondering why you’d want your awesome character to be weak? They are the hero in their story and they are going to defeat the evil!
Slow down there for a moment and think a little about real life. No one in the entire world is perfect, no one.
So why would you create a character that is perfect? No one would be able to connect with your main character and it would feel lifeless.
You do not want to create a Mary Sue.
“What is a Mary Sue??”
A Mary Sue is a character that has no flaws or weaknesses and is in ever sense of the word, perfect.
Mary Sue is boring and uninteresting to your readers. No one is perfect and neither should your character be.
You want your readers to connect with your character so in order to do that they need to resemble a real person.
Any main character needs to be flawed in some way or another. They need to have wants and needs just like in real life.
They need to have fears and character flaws. Here’s something to remember.
Everyone in real life has flaws, from the nicest person to the worst. They all have desires of some form, don’t they?
The good person may want to help all the poor, while the bad person may want to kill someone for something they said that hurt them in some way.
Also, clumsiness and nail biting isn’t a flaw. Neither is sucking a bottom lip.
Every character needs a goal.
What is life without a goal? What’s even the point?
There is none and if your main character doesn’t have a goal in your story then your story has no point. Not something you want to write.
Just think like this is real life. Every person in the world has some form of a goal, even if it’s just waking up feeling better.
In order for your readers to connect to your character then they need to resemble real life in some form. Always give your characters a goal.
Once you decide a goal then your readers want to know if they’ll get to this goal. Awesome! You just created a link between your reader and character!
What is your true character?
You are now asking, “What the heck do you mean?”
I mean, what is your character’s wants, needs, goals, ghosts, strengths, and weaknesses. That is what forms your character.
Without those things, you do not have a character.
It’s just like a real person. Ask yourself this:
What happened in my life to get me to this point? What has formed my beliefs over time?
You are now on your way to creating real characters that your readers can connect to!
Now your character can not change without an arc.
“What is an arc?”
An arc is a form of journey or point in your story where your character goes from being an incomplete person to a complete person.
It is the point where your character decides that their life needs to be changed and they must go on their journey to discover what makes them happy in some way or something that solves their problem.
On this journey, they are pressured in some way in their beliefs and character. Remember, when pressure is applied then they are forced to change, for the better or for the worse.
Now we move on to the next tip.
To wrap up your story, your character needs to have changed in some way. Otherwise, again, there’s no point in writing this.
They either have their beliefs changed, their lives have changed, or they themselves have changed.
They can change for the better or for the worse.
This can be the most daunting task and sometimes the most painful of them all. This is the point you have to read all of your drafts and make the necessary edits to it.
Always remember to check your spelling and grammar. You don’t want to accidentally use Your instead of You’re.
(If you don’t know the difference between the two, please look it up and learn them. It will help your writing!)
Sometimes you might need to cut out huge chunks of text and replace it with something that flows better with your story.
Don’t be scared to do it!
It can make your story better in the end and it can make it flow better.
Well, this just about wraps it up. I hope this helped you!