free the pen, a blog for writers

August 14, 2013

I Started to Write – Now What?

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 6:50 pm

I’ve heard this question gazillions of times in the last 30 years from new writers. Their minds reel with fascinating stories, they sit to write,  get a page or two on paper, then stop, take a walk and wonder, now what? They realize they don’t know how to write dialogue, how do people really talk to one another? They realize that their inspiration isn’t always the level they thought it would be, how come? And worst of all, the words did not fall into place the way they thought it would, why not?

These are all common questions. So let’s start with the first one.

1. What do you do after the first few pages? There are a few things you can do. 1. You can get back in the chair and continue on with your thoughts until they are all spilled onto the page. 2. You can start to organize your thoughts into sections and make an outline. 3. You can sign up for a writing group and listen to how other writers get passed those first few pages. The most important thing to do is to keep writing. Writing is solitary enough; get networked.

2. Dialogue is not easy. We speak so poorly most of the times our minds have trouble forming well-thought out ideas. Writing dialogue can be tricky. If your character has, a Southern accent, you want to make sure the reader still understands it. Also, talking is one thing but reading is another. Cater to the reader. Make dialogue succinct and to the point. Don’t let your characters ramble the way you might in a conversation with a friend on a Saturday night. Read lots of dialogue from other books to get your own sense of what works and what doesn’t.

3. Inspiration helps with the needed enthusiasm to get started. After that, it takes focus, intention, and hard work. Expect to write every day to finish the page, chapter, section, or some designed goal. Then just write no matter what.

4. We would like to think that our thoughts are rational full scenarios but, not so. We think in pieces, unrelated ideas, and incomplete patterns. That’s why editing is so crucial. You write it once and then you edit until your manuscript is ready for the print button.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

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