Tell a story. The simplest truth of writing is that you are telling a story. Historical event, fairy tale, comedy, or mystery novel, they are all stories. It all boils down to how you tell a story.
With Nanowrimo starting on Monday, I’d like to touch on some of the basics of storytelling.
Some books are famous for their first lines, “Marley was dead to begin with”, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. How you begin is important, at the writing stage it’s also changeable, so don’t stress, just think about how you want to begin.
Who is the first person you want to talk about, or your readers to meet? Will they be the narrator, or will you tell it in first person? These questions will help you as you write.
Now that you have these starting point decisions made, the next step is to start writing. If you’ve been following for the last few days you’re familiar with the concept of writing 500 words a day. If you’ve been doing that, you’re close to 5,000 words already. If not starting today is always a great way of writing your story.
If you have been following this means you’re about ready for chapter two or three. Starting a second chapter is easier than a first in that you have something to build on. With a new chapter you should both continue the threads you started with, and incorporate something new. Try to always give your reader’s a reason to stay with you.
I would caution you both about two things here. First don’t make the second chapter so new that your readers don’t recognize the story. Confusing the readers can cause them to close the book early.
The other extreme is beating a dead horse. If the guy robbed the bank in chapter one, don’t bore them by being overtly detailed in chapter two. There are exceptions to every literary rule, as in a mystery, when it’s the overlooked detail that furthers the story.
A mystery is a good analogy because the writer is trying to keep you interested and investigating to the last page. The reader wants to figure it out ahead of time so they can smile at the reveal. In the end it isn’t cleverness that makes a good mystery, but good storytelling.
I’m so excited about you experiencing your writing journey. Thank you for allowing me to be a guide along the way. I can’t wait for you to tell your story.