• Ejuen Armstrong

Diving into Writing

Your first steps into writing fiction should be fun, so let's not drag this out. Here are a few tips to get you kicking off.

Just write

Just type or write. It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't even have to be words. Look, here you go: 34iugnpwi ; adkro39-394-


In the middle of whatever you're doing, something's going to pop into your head. Write it down. If it wants to add a little more to the story, then let it.

Do not say, "I will come back to this." That's like a message to your brain to say: "Sure, hon - whatevs." Do it now or risk losing that exciting thread forever. You don't need the plot line from A to Z. At this point, your characters and your muse will be leading the way.

It doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't even have to be words.

Keep hold of your ideas

Follow every idea that comes to you. At this stage you're after flow. Did an owl just hoot? Is a neighbour fixing up the house or garden? Has someone found money? Once you begin, you'll find that another word, maybe several come to you at once. He walked to the bottom of the road. She laughed. A parakeet flew by. Is a posssum a squirrel? Why don't insects have voices?

If a question pops into your head while you're writing, you can be sure that it will pop into a reader's head too. Jot down that question and make sure you work out the answer later. How does the killer manage to hide the gun? How is the blind woman suddenly able to do martial arts?

A few paragraphs later, you'll have something more concrete. Keep those spare notes in a separate place; you can draw from them later on. They may include names, places, smells, sounds, descriptions, dialogue, notes to self. These will help you with flow, continuity, and direction.

Whatever you do, don't have an epic blowout and destroy huge chunks of your work. I've earned up to £400.00 on single pieces of writing I'd planned to throw away. Even if it's months or years later, anything can be improved. It might become a completely new story.

Trimming words here and there is fine; even paragraphs. However, to destroy pages of work would be, in my opinion, a no-no. Instead, put it aside for now: you can always modify it further down the line. At the very least, when you pick it up again and it still reads like crud, it should form an excellent resource for How Not To.

Don't have a blowout and destroy huge chunks of your work.

Strive for quality

Quality is important. It doesn't matter whether it's to make money, for self-expression, or as part of an expose on all your old workplace. Whatever you're writing, always try to put your best book forward.

You'll need at least a basic understanding of spelling and grammar. If you don't have that, I strongly recommend you brush up with a book on common pitfalls in grammar and spelling before even thinking about writing for publication. Alternatively, pay someone who understands grammar to look over your work.

There are some who believe it's not possible to edit your own work. I disagree. Put it down for a few weeks then have another read through. Do this a few times between intervals of a week or so until you're happy. You'll be surprised at what you see in the meantime.

Ultimately, don't overthink things. Your story is waiting impatiently for you to come and get it. Don't delay!

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