Tips For Writing, The Path Of A Writer

When one takes it upon his or herself to begin authoring a story of fiction, they face a long, long road ahead of them. They also face the intimidating question of "Where do I begin?" Well, the best place to start would be with actually building the road itself. The creation of the main/frequently appearing characters and a plot skeleton are at the core of a story. One must first establish these components if they wish to begin a story.

The first thing to do would be, of course, to ask, "What kind of story am I making? Where am I going with this?" But we will continue here, assuming already that the author knows at least the general genre of the story they will be writing, and has some sort of vague notion of the qualities of the world in which the plot will take place. Therefore, the thing to do here would be to create the plot. Do not think of characters. Do not think, "If this happens, Person A will act like this and cause Person B to react as such, causing a snowball effect that will cause this main event to happen--" because this is all very complicated. First, the author must simply think setting. I myself include setting when I plot, although perhaps others may not. Consider: what world are these people in? Is it even on Earth? If not, what is the planet called? What time period? Describe the overarching setting as deeply as possible. Then, figure out the problem, and the solution to the problem. The problem could be a super villain trying to take over the world, but of course it doesn't have to be something so obvious. But it is very important to know what your protagonist is trying to "fight" against from the very beginning, just as it is important to know how he/she/they will overcome it, or if the challenge can be overcome. Lastly, make a plot skeleton. As one is creating the story, the original idea will morph and change to suit the author's needs, so these are simply guidelines for their story. These are simply points to mark and end up at. Here is where the story begins. List a few main events or notes that definitely must take place after that, then write down what happens in the middle. Write down some notes and bigger events - a heart to heart between brothers, perhaps - then put the end. When the author is noting the beginning, middle, and end, they will want to be a bit more detailed, perhaps giving themselves a (very general) paragraph or two to go off of.

The second thing to do would be to address the characters. Not all of the characters need to have as much depth and history as the main character, but if the author wants the character to seem more well rounded and interesting, then they will do as follows for all of the characters. When creating a character, one must really map it out. It is like a road map that one must follow, referring to physical characteristics and other things, so that one doesn't stray from the character's essence. Before the author begins shaping the character, they figure out what the character's purpose in the story is. Then when that is established, the author can pretend they are sitting down with this unmolded being as though with a new acquaintance that they are very interested in. The author can pretend that this being will answer any question they ask. The author begins with, where does the character live? Then, were they born there, did they grow up there? If not, where? How old are they? When is their birthday? Do they have any occupation? Hobbies? Likes, interests, dislikes? What were/are their parents' names? What were/are their occupations? Then, write an account of their past, from birth (and before, if necessary) to present. Be as brief or as detailed as is necessary. Finally, the author will ask the character's name. The name is of great importance. Once a name is attached to the character, it suddenly takes a life of its own. What is important about the name, is that it will reflect the ethnicity, class, and, if applicable, the native region of the character. So consider that carefully. Now, what the author must do is create a personality for this character. This character has, of course, already developed a personality, but it must be solidified. "This character is witty, sarcastic, and a bit of an introvert. Can be secretive, but is not dark or eerie. Does tend to be pessimistic, though, and often gives up easily when confronted with problems." Come up with something similar to that, only with much more detail in terms of the personality. It is important to note how the characters deal with problems, if they deal with certain types of problems differently, etc.  Important questions for the author to ask themselves include, why is the character like this? Why do they have these personality qualities? Why do they react to insults like that? Sexual innuendos? Provocation? Other things? Why do they deal with conflict the way they do? Are they a fluid/dynamic character? Meaning, will they change throughout the story, or will this be a flat/stagnant personality? When all of this has been done, the author should take a look at this new character outline and see if there is anything else they can think of adding that would be prudent to the plot.

In order to begin a story, there must be something to work with in the first place. The loosely structured plot skeleton and a slew of character outlines builds the road the author will walk on when they begin crafting their story.


My name is Kirsten, and I am a college freshman at Ohio University. I am an English major, but I am going to be a history major, as well. I have a lot of cats (or rather my family does) but  only two of them are mine! My passions are writing and history. I am also a shameless fan of manga and anime, and I will probably never grow out of that! I'm currently an author of fanfiction and also working on some original fiction.

(1) Comments

  • Kahina RayFriday, May 16, 2014

    I am glad you posted this, for I am on the journey of writing a fiction novel. Thank you for the tips!

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