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Lesson 5 How to get started writing your story -

How to get started writing your storyBy now you should have chosen a theme and written an outline for your story and also thought about who you are writing for and so here are some basic writing tips on how to get started writing your story.

Write in bite-sized pieces

Sitting down to write a full-length book can be daunting and so we recommend writing in bite-sized pieces. Writing in bite-sized pieces is one of the best ways to get started if you are a new or inexperienced writer.

However, just because your stories are bite-sized, this doesn’t mean that they should lack any of the elements that make up a good piece of writing. Each story you write should focus on a central theme or idea, be self contained (i.e. have a beginning, a middle and end) and have an audience-grabbing title and opening paragraph.

Where to start

Pick out something from your outline and let your ideas flow onto the page. It may just be one sentence but it is a start. If you have difficulty expressing something in words, try telling someone else what you want to say (or say it out loud to yourself). Often the words you were trying to find just come out.

Write first, edit later

Don’t be tempted to change anything or take anything out at this stage. It is much better to write something that is not perfect than to write nothing at all. There will be plenty of time for sorting out spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Keep your sentences and paragraphs short

Short sentences and paragraphs are much easier to read and understand. If you find yourself writing long, rambling sentences try splitting them into two or more sentences.

Write to express not impress

Don’t be tempted to write in a style which is not really you. For example, don’t try to be too clever by using words that aren’t part of your normal vocabulary or don’t reflect who you are. Inexperienced writers are often tempted to adopt a more formal style of writing which is both unfamiliar and unnatural to them. So just keep it simple and only use words and expressions you are comfortable with.

Active or passive?

Writing in the active voice is a good rule of thumb for most types of writing because it makes your writing more lively and engaging. For example:

The bone was chewed by the dog (passive)

The dog chewed the bone (active)

Although the same information is being conveyed in these two examples, the active sentence is more direct and uses fewer words than the passive example.

Read it out loud

If you are not sure about something you have written, read it out loud or even better ask someone else to read it to you. This is a good way of finding out whether your sentences or paragraphs are clear and coherent or whether they are too long and complicated. It will also reveal how natural your writing sounds – for example, does it really sound like you telling the story?

When you are ready, move on to Lesson 6 where you will find some tips on how to write a good opening paragraph for your story.

Back to Lesson 4