How to start

First of all, you need an idea for your story. Mostly, people have an idea before they decide that they want to write a book. That’s how it was for me. I got inspired by some events that happened in my life and decided to write a love story (I know so cliché!).

So to find an idea was easy. But how the heck do you write a book? How should I even start?! Well that’s the question I asked myself and I turned to one of my best friends: google! I found a blog and an ebook which helped me a lot. Both of them are in German, so for my English-speaking-soon-to-be-writers to perfect but i’m sure you can find some other great guides! Here are the links anyway:

Blog

E-Book

Of course there were a few tips and tricks that helped me the most! And I want to give the advice to you. So here’s what I think was most useful while writing my first chapter:

1. Planning

Please please please make a plan! I know you want to get to the writing right away but you have no idea how inspiring a planning phase can be! When I read the first article, which explained how many things you need to think about before writing I thought: “That can’t be right. Why should I do this?”

I tell you why. Because you will find so many errors in your story while doing it. Step by step you realize new things about your story and you need to change a looooot! If you start writing without planning there’s a big chance, that you will end up changing all these things later which costs you much more time. I used the snowflake-method, which I’ll explain in another blogpost.

2. Characters

Explore and create livable characters! This one is close to the first one. Plan your characters and take your time with them. I have to say that this point isn’t my favourite and I’m also not doing it as good as I should but still, I have my character pages.

I had a lot of problems with that part. I did a small character sheet with the most important parts (for me). While writing I add a few things every time especially characteristics. It’s hard for me to plan the characteristics beforehand because I personally think that the character is going to tell me how he/she wants to react, when he/she is in that situation.

Here’s the link to find my charactersheet I created. Feel free to add and delete things so it will fit your needs and preferences!

3. Show, don’t tell

I read a lot about that topic! I think it gets told a lot in writing courses so it has to be important! That little sentence will help you write a longer story with more detail, which makes a book more interesting. A good example I read somewhere, but can’t remember where, was:

Tell:

Sarah makes spaghetti for lunch.

Show:

Sarah takes a pan out of the drawer. She fills it with warm water, puts the pan on the stove and turns the heat up. The water slowly starts to boil while she grabs the spaghetti. When she finally opens the package, she spills half of the spaghetti on the floor. She hates that stupid packaging.

See, more detail and much longer story. You could even go deeper into detail. BUT don’t think about that all the time while writing, which brings me to the next point.

4. Write

Yeah, we know that, Stefanie! But do you really? I had so much problems with starting to write without thinking about every little thing. “Is that sentence good? Should I add more detail? Oh that’s the wrong spelling!” So here’s what I did:

I take it chapter by chapter. First, I just write. I take each scene and write what I see while looking at it. I’m looking at the big picture. When I finished a chapter, I go back I read every sentence and think about point 3 – show, don’t tell. And that’s the part that takes me the longest. I add more detail more depth, more emotions, more characteristic. Until I think that what I’ve written is as good as it gets.

I think that in the future, I will re-write things again. Especially after I gave it to some test readers but at the moment this is what I do with every chapter. I will keep you updated how that goes!


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