So you want to write a story, eh? I assume you do since you’re reading this article, so let’s get going!
One of the first and (in my modest opinion) and most important things you need to begin is to know what genre you are going to base your wonderful tale in. Genre (in the literary form) is defined as a category of literary composition, and are often determined by technique, tone and content. There are many categories and sub-categories, and you need to decide which one (or ones) that you want to focus in. After all, this is going to set the tone and setting for everything that comes after. It will determine the characters and situations you will be working with, and even provide some rules you would do well to follow.
Are you going to write a horror story? Comedy? High fantasy? Possibly historical or non-fiction? Or maybe you want one of the numerous sub-genres such as Steampunk, noir, alternate history or themed cookbooks. You can even blend them to achieve romantic comedies or Steampunk/horror stories.
But "Wait!" you say? There are so many genres, sub-genres, and blended genres to choose from, how can anyone possibly make that kind of decision? I recommend starting out with what you know and what you like. Beginning writing can be stressful on its own, and the difficulty is increased tenfold if you start with something you are unfamiliar with. What sort of stories do you like to read? Do you find yourself drawn to dragons and elves and wizards? Then high fantasy might be for you. If you begin with what you know, you will be more comfortable right off the bat. Take a look at your bookshelf or your movie list. Where do your interests lie? Consider that as your starting point.
Once you’ve chosen that lucky genre, begin your research! Continue to read up on it, learn the styles other authors have used before and decide on the one you feel most fits the content of your story. Intensity and fast pace may work very well in an action story but not as much in a philosophical tale. If you want to write a horror story that has your readers biting their nails and sleeping with the light on, you probably want avoid having jokes every couple of paragraphs. There are no hard and fast rules, as far as this goes, but taking the time to see what others have done before you will take you a long way.
You can also find great tutorials and resource websites, all just a click away from the web browser nearest you. You don’t have to spend countless hours drudging through endless how-to articles until you wish you’d stuck with visual art. Just twenty minutes here or thirty there to check out a few that you find helpful will do wonders for your literary toolbelt.
Here are a few that I've found to be particularly helpful:
TheWritingGuide wrote a nifty series called The Ultimate Writing Guide. You can find Part 1 here:
Ultimate Writing Guide 1:1 - Getting StartedThe Ultimate Writing Guide There is a section a few paragraphs down that deals specifically with genres. (All three parts contain good information on many aspects of writing, and I reccomend giving them all a look-see!)
Chapter 1:1 - Getting Started
What you'll find in this area of the guide is developing you and why you want to write and the skills you'll need to do it. One of the best ways you can improve your writing offhand is to read a lot of books, especially books that are of the genre you would like to write yourself.
In this part of Chapter 1, you will find out:
Why you want to write
The obstacles you will face
What sort of writing fits you
There will also be:
Hints and tips
Writing prompts to practice with
Why You Want to Write
Now you're obviously here because you want to write, therefore you've already completed step one of this process. Creativity starts with you. You'll probably find that you're analytic and self observant and many of the things your create come from your imagination, personality and in
And lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for peers’ and friends’ advice. I have gotten a lot of great insight from writers, both here on dA and in the outside world, on my works. They can provide pointers and ideas you might not have found or thought of otherwise.
As you get more experienced and more comfortable in your writer’s skin, branching out and experimenting are good ideas. After all, the learning should never stop. But don’t make a pleasant hobby or goal more taxing by taking on too much at once. (I made that mistake early on, and it nearly put me off writing for a year.) If you are ever uncertain or get stuck, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There are literally dozens of people here who are ready and waiting to offer their good advice, and dozens of others ready with their support and encouragement.
After you've done your research and picked your genre, get out there and start writing! Stay encouraged, stay motivated, and stay awesome, my friends!