Hello and welcome to Writerspuram, a place dedicated to writers, for writers.
To all the brave and inspired people who decided to start writing fiction: Congratulations! You’ve decided to start writing fiction.
When starting out you may have a thousand million doubts: How do I start? Where do I start? How do I divide my paragraphs? What is the correct format to write a story? How do I break up my scenes? Should I do a full on character analysis? How long should my story be?
Now, to all the first time writers, let’s tackle your very first question: How to start writing as a beginner? Well, start with the simplest thing you can think of: start with short stories.
- START WITH SHORT STORIES
Most of you might have an entire novel you’re itching to write down. It’s like this flow of creativity that refuses to calm down. As a kid I tried and tried and tried to write a novel. And every time I failed. It was not because I was too young to write a novel (there is no such thing as being too young for writing anything). It was only because I lacked the experience.
When I had first started out, had written only one short story. And I did a lot of freewriting (diary keeping, mostly). So, my first mistake as a beginner was stopping with one short story. As a beginner, I should have written short stories, over and over again. I soon continued writing. The second short story was harder to write. The third one was tedious and too much work. I began dabbling in poetry. It helped me know how to express feelings better. I found out that the more poetry that I wrote, the better I became at expressing emotions, be it my own or my characters’.
I kept at it. I switched between freewriting, short stories and poetry. It took me years. Ease into writing short stories. Keep at it. After 10 years of experience in writing fiction, I can now craft a short story in under an hour. Master the basics before you master the master (novels and sequels). The more short stories that you write, the more experience you will gain. And the more experience that you gain, the better you will be able to craft a novel.
- KNOWING YOUR GRAMMAR:
Bad grammar is a setback when it comes to writing. When you are initially writing a story, it can come out any which way. When making the story public, however, bad grammar is a big no-no. It cuts down on effectiveness and your story will get lost in between all of the grammatical errors.
When sitting down to write, you should capture the essence of your story. When getting ready to publish it, you should make it readable. Many people put off reading stories with bad grammar. Take a look at the sentences below:
“One monkey had come to our home. I was shock Suddenly I went to my room I lock the door. One hour later in my room i check whether the monkey was there are not but suddenly monkey was not there. I will never forget that tirafic situation.”
And now look at these sentences:
“A monkey entered our house. I was shocked. I immediately rushed into my room and locked the door. One hour later, I peeked out of my room but the monkey was gone. This was one of the most terrifying situations of my life.”
Now, as you can see, the first example had a lot of grammatical errors. Of course, the story was aptly conveyed as it was only a few sentences long. However, if an entire page of fiction has that many errors, then it would definitely become difficult to understand the story. Also, if you are a person who has been reading fiction all your life, then the first example would have been a torture to read. It would have been jarring and uncomfortable. If the story had gone on for quite a considerable length, I am sure you would have opted to skip it out entirely.
So, remember: bad grammar is equal to a bad story.
And that is the reason why, as writers, you need to smoothen out your fiction piece. You can practice writing exercises, to tune your flow of writing. And you can practice grammar exercises to tune your editing skills. You can find such exercises on the internet easily.
One other option would be to use an online grammar tool that corrects your writing (like Grammarly). However, don’t stop there. Learn from it. In this Digital Age, we are all so used to the software doing our work for us. We tend to get lazy. Stop doing that. Depending on a software to always correct your grammar is bad. Your grammar will never improve if you keep doing that. Let me tell you my experience.
As a kid, I was curious and eager to know the ways in which the world worked. I was inspired to write my first short story when I was 11 years old. I stayed up the whole night, planning out my story. When I woke up the next day, I was super excited to write down everything that I had planned out. The fact that I didn’t know the first thing about writing fiction never bothered me. I was full of inspiration. It was tough. But I was determined. And I slaved away for roughly 3 hours till it was done. I was proud of it. I had cut out and rewritten sentences and it was messy. But I was still proud of it. The next thing that I had to do was show it to someone. And, I looked around for the nearest person to show it to: my grandmother.
I thought that she would be super excited just like me. She was not. I though that she would read my story and be amazed at the moral in it. She was not. She instead pursed up her lips and sat surrounded in disappointment. And then she began pointing out the mistakes in my writing. Specifically, the grammar mistakes. As a 11 year old child I had no understanding for proper English grammar rules. So I sat confused as my grandmother lay out the grammatical errors in my writing. My heart sunk further and further down. I couldn’t understand what she was saying and I was trying my level best to try and understand her. The only thing going through my mind at that time was ‘My story is not good enough.’ Once she was done, I asked her if at least the story was good. She clacked her tongue and said, “Eh, it’s okay.”
Imagine being 11 years old, pumped up with excitement, having written down your very first short story. You would have wanted to be applauded, praised, cajoled and appreciated. I was, instead, told that my writing was flawed and that it had far too many errors. At the tender age of 11— eleven! I was disappointed and gloomy.
You may now feel that it was wrong of my grandmother to have reacted in that manner. She shouldn’t have been that harsh. She could have at least appreciated the effort that it took. She should have been proud of me, she should have encouraged me. Well, I’m actually happy she did none of that. If she had praised my flawed writing way back then, it would have stayed flawed.
As a curious kid, I had to understand what she found wrong. I had to get it up to her standards. After 10 years of trying hard, I hope my writing’s meet her standards. I progressed from a 11 year old who knew nothing about grammar to someone who is particular about it everytime I write. And I didn’t achieve it by studying the rules and terms of grammar. I achieved it by reading and absorbing knowledge; by practicing it out, day in and day out. Or whenever I could. Writing became my passion. I didn’t need to have a story to write. I just needed a pen and a book to write. And I would write whatever, anything, it never mattered as long as I was writing.
So, that is why my english is good today. You may not like hearing people object to your work, to your writing. People close to you will find it harder to object to your writing, to point out the flaws. What if you got angry with them? Nowadays, most people would praise your writing to please you. It is up to you to sit and self-analyse your writing with a critical eye (not too critical, mind you) and to correct it the way you can.
And if people do criticize your writing, listen to them. Don’t take it to heart. Take it to your mind. Figure out what made them say that about your writing. Is your writing actually lacking whatever it is that was told to you? If yes, then learn how you can improve it, strengthen it. If not, then just let their criticism slide. Never, ever, take people’s criticisms to heart. That’s one of the worst things that you can do to yourself as a writer. Always, always take them to your mind with a pinch of salt.
- READ BOOKS
Read as much as you can. Get a feel for the language. Get a feel for the way a story is told. Observe and absorb. Read and write. Absorb the writing style of a book. Try it out in your own way. It will either meld into your personal writing style or you will soon forget to write in that manner.
If you’re not one for reading books, then start with comics. Don’t feel embarrassed. No matter your age, you need to develop a reading habit. And the best place to start is with comics. Then move on to books for kids. If you don’t like reading fiction, then maybe you’ll love reading non-fiction. Any new thing will be difficult to do at first. Don’t give up or brush it off. The smallest things go a long way. Fall in love with stories. You can’t create something that you don’t like. So, fall in love with stories first. Any sort of stories.
My love for comics made me fall in love with the strong princesses that I read about. And now, you can see my apparent love for such characters in my stories. I grew up reading stories with strong, capable women. Not differentiated from the rest, just shown as they were. And now, most of my stories have women playing the central role, not because of feminism or anything like that. But just because they can. Not to differentiate them from the rest; not to put strong, independent women on a pedestal. Just to show that women with such character exist.
So, fall in love with stories. The sort of stories that you fall in love with help shape your writing, little by little.
Were these 3 steps helpful? Let us know in the comment box below.