Do This Before Writing Your Next Story

By on June 10, 2016
Do This Before Writing Your Next Story - Writer's

Sitting down to write a new piece can be difficult. Whether you are hoping to write a short story or a full blown novel, it can often feel a little overwhelming when sitting down to begin.

Feeling fully prepared before you begin to write, can help make the writing process so much easier. So next time, before you begin, try following these tips to see if they can help you feel motivated, prepared and inspired - whatever kind of story you are planning to write.

Get excited

Fiction writers tend to have a million different threads of stories whirling around their brains at any one time, and it can take a while to develop and refine these ideas to come up with your next plot. If you haven’t got a fully developed idea, spend some time jotting down everything that comes to mind - every piece of inspiration you can think of. Let your imagination go wild!

Don’t block yourself. Even if you just have a tiny spark of an idea, but no clue as to how it could work, write it down and then come back to it later to see if you can build on it. Writers can get inspired by so much, be open to it all, and suddenly one idea will leave you feel exhilarated and impatient to get going.

Find your protagonist

Every great story has a main character through whose prospective the tale is told. Get to know this person. Build their identity, their life.

Before you begin your story you should know everything you can about them, and they should be alive and kicking in your head.

What do they look like, what is their history, what motivates them, what makes them angry, happy, sad, embarrassed, how do they talk and interact with other people? Write a whole list of questions for your protagonist and then answer them all until you have an exact picture of what they are like in your head.

Understanding your central character completely will make it so much easier to write them in a believable and engaging way.

Create a struggle

You don’t need to know every detail of your entire story before you start to write, but you should create a struggle, something or someone that your protagonist has to overcome.

This can be your archetypal villain, or an illness, or a secret past they are trying to forget. The option are limitless, however, it is a well known fact that books which follow a character’s struggle and their fight to overcome this, resonate well with readers.

Make sure you know what yours is, otherwise you may lose your point when you begin writing.

Create a world

Understanding the setting in which you want to write is as important as getting to know your characters. Whether your story is set in present time or in the past, the future, or another world entirely, you need to think about how to portray this in your writing. Any world can be believed if it is written well, and with authority, so make sure you know yours thoroughly. This will not only help you place your characters within it, but also help to avoid any inconsistencies later down the line.

Write an outline

Again you don’t have to know exactly where your story will take you - sometimes the surprises that happen along the writing journey are the best and most rewarding parts for a writer.

Saying that, creating an outline will help you remain focused on your plot and ensure that you feel confident this story will work, not get halfway through and realise it is dead in the water. Identify key moments, key characters and how they all fit together. Doing this will make the writing process so much easier.


If you are feeling a little rusty, start by doing some writing exercises, or by writing a little bit every day. They don’t have to be related to your story but just by getting back into a routine, and into the habit of writing you’ll suddenly feel like you are back in the swing of things, and practice makes perfect after all!

Once you have done the above, all that’s left is to get writing. By now you should feel confident you have a solid story, and interesting characters, and be excited to start your story - so what are you waiting for?

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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