Tips for Writing Your Story (For Beginners and New Writers)
A Friendly Guide from Someone Who Has Been Through the Rigorous Process
(Skip the first paragraph if you want to go straight to the guide.)
Writing a story is always super fun, but it can be quite the hassle if you don't know where to start. I'm sure many people have that story in their heads that would be such a cool story, but putting your thoughts into words is difficult. You want to try and write it but you just don't know how. I want to help beginners explore this potential passion of theirs, overcome some issues when it comes to writing, and give tips and tricks so you don't run into roadblocks like I did. I went through it all and if you don't want to go through it either, then read this guide. Trust me, it'll make your journey a lot smoother.
#1 - Brainstorm and take notes.
Before you can even start writing, you have to figure out the ins and outs of your story. Write minor details of your story, scenes, and events, dialogue, names, etc. Take note of anything that pops into your head that would fit your story, even if you aren't going to end up using it. While you take note of minor details like that, you have to figure out the 3 main parts of your story: the beginning, the middle, and the end. Of course this differs depending on the scale of your story, but if this is your first story I suggest you keep it small. Once you figure out those, you have to fill the in betweens. It sounds easy, but it takes a while. Building and puzzling your story together is fun though.
#2 - Throw your expectations out the window.
Unless you're the next Stephen King who can write 15 stories in a year, I suggest you keep things realistic. I won't lie, writing a story, especially a good one, takes a long time. I am in the process of finally finalizing my story after 5 years of trial and error. It took me this long to finally be satisfied with the way I write. Make sure you're writing because it's your passion not because you want to make money. Trust me, a positive outlook helps.
#3 - Read books that are similar to yours.
Both in genre and in writing, you should try and find a story that you feel would best help you better yourself. I personally used Game of Thrones a little but mainly I read the Witcher books. I studied the way the author wrote and I liked it and wanted to write like him. Underline passages in the book that you think would fit yours. Read and study the books. Of course, make sure you enjoy the story you're reading. Reading will also help with your vocabulary and better the way you create sentences.
#4 - Don't be scared to use other books as reference.
Unless you copy an entire scene from another book, don't worry about using bits from other books as your own. If you liked the way this particular sentence was phrased, then take it and make it your own.
#5 - Your story is not a formal essay.
This isn't a paper you're writing for school. Write the way you want, but of course keep it professional. What I learned from other books is how you format your story which makes it a lot more appealing to the readers to read. Things such as making a new paragraph when changing subjects and indenting those paragraphs are examples.
#6 - You will suck.
Once you feel like you're set and ready to start writing, go into it with an open mind. You will suck at first. That is perfectly normal. You shouldn't see it as a bad thing though, because if you can see that you aren't that good then you have the possibility to improve. Make sure to see it as constructive criticism. I have rewritten my story 5 times because when I reread it it sucked. Every time I wrote it again it got better and better (and also longer, my first draft was 25k words and now I'm at 92k and rising). However, my journey was a mess. I didn't start using these tips until very recently.
#7 - Figure out your own writing style.
This is by far the most crucial and defining part of who you are as a writer. When I first started writing, my story was like a script. Along the way I tried and learned different writing styles that didn't really suit me. I read and studied the Witcher books and liked the way he wrote. I wrote like him until I started mixing my own style into it and eventually creating my own writing style all together. Trust me, it's a process worth putting effort into. Additionally, do not use filler. Just don't, readers don't want to read 4 sentences about how rainy it is. Fluff it up a bit but not too much. A longer book does not equal a better book.
#8 - Just try.
Don't expect to make it perfect on the first try. But don't go through your mistakes and blindly try again. Learn from your mistakes. I can't stress enough how all the previous points are crucial to your success. If you do not want to go through 5 redos and 5 years of trial and error, then I suggest you do all this before starting to write. When you finally decide to write just write whatever, test the grounds first.
#9 - Google is your best friend.
As you write on, you will face many roadblocks, and not just writer's block (which will happen often). Sometimes a sentence won't sound right because of a particular word. If so, just google the definition on google and look for a synonym.
#10 - Don't be scared to experiment.
While you're creating your story, don't be scared to try new ways of writing. Make it your own. For example, with my story (TLDR; it's about vampires and fate bla bla bla) I made the chapter name always relate to blood and added a quote as a subtitle (example: Chapter 1 - First Blood ... "Blood is the key to the gates of life."). Write more philosophically and see how you like it, or anything else like that.
#11 - Have fun with it.
The last and a very important tip. Just enjoy your newfound passion whether you're good at it or not. Enjoy the feeling of creating something and bettering yourself at it. It's a LONG process that you can't rush, but it is worth it.
I hope this helps any beginners. It's all about exploring and trying, you'll eventually get to a point where you are satisfied with your writing. Reading is by far the biggest influence that helped me. So follow these tips and I wish you good luck. Hopefully my bumpy experience will smoothen yours.