Welcome to 2014. It’s that time of the year when we all dream of new and fruitful projects; be it joining a gym, eating healthy or writing that
novel lurking in your subconscious, all it takes is a little motivation and a healthy dose of self belief.
Warning! I have to tell you here and now that every writer you talk to will have a different take on the best process and this is because they are all different people. The good news is
that there is no correct way to do it. The most important piece of advice you need? (Nike already thought of it.) Just do it!
Let’s face it, the only way to write a book is to put the first word on a page and to keep going until you reach the last word. All right, I know you’re screaming that I’m over simplifying it, but really it IS that easy. Yes, the really scary parts are all the words in between the first and last ones, but if you don’t get started you will never find out what they are.
Step one. You need an idea. Any idea, but it should inspire an emotional response in you, so you can imagine the types of characters that might reside there. Think a warrior who has to bring about peace, a murderer who wants to donate his heart to his victim’s dying sister, a shark hunter who is afraid of water, or a fairy princess fighting an evil force, which turns out to be her brother. All of these ideas have the potential for conflict — between characters, within themselves, and with external forces.
Did your mind just go blank when asked to conjure ideas? You’re not alone, but fear not, ideas are everywhere you look. Honest. Partake in one of my favourite pastimes — people watching — and ask questions about the people you see. Imagine their daily struggles. The butcher who wears a constant frown might be falling further into debt each day.
The child licking an ice-cream cone might not know that her mother was just diagnosed with cancer. The lady searching for empty cans in rubbish bins, might be rich and choose to live that way, because her family shunned her.
Brainstorming is a great way to come up with ideas. Don’t edit or over think, list those ideas no matter how hair-brained they seem. When you’re exhausted, take a second look at each idea. At first they may seem far fetched, or weak, but what if you tweeked them a little? What if an environmentalist’s greatest fear was failing to save the
dammed river, but he falls in love with the local farmer who dammed the river to provide water to grow crops for the local orphans? A dilemma.
My favourite story concepts are ‘what if’ questions. What if a person is put into a situation of a desperate nature that forces them to question their core beliefs?
Now that you have an idea and are raring to go, stop reading and get writing!